I am sick of being silenced in fear of offending. Honesty is valued as long as it is politically correct and unoffensive. I am a self-aware person with strong opinions that I like to share. In being self-aware, I know that these opinions are mine and not everyone will agree, nor should they. Occasionally people on the receiving end do not realise this and it often ends in misinterpretation. In saying this I would never say anything to intentionally upset someone.
I'm kind of thinking a step ahead of myself as I write this, but this topic is a double-edged sword. Here's my thinking - a lot of the comedians I have seen at The Fringe Festival have been male, and while these men have been very funny, a few have been misogynistic, sometimes crude and a lot of the time sexist. Now for my previous argument, I should be on the thought path of 'everyone is entitled to their own opinion' and I am sure these comedians do not necessarily mean to be offensive. However, I find their material to be outdated, demeaning and mind-blowing. We are in 2015, women are powerful and intelligent. Just wait until Hilary gets into office and see the difference a woman running that country will do. Women aren't a joke and certainly shouldn't be the punchline of a comedy routine. That is putting the human race back so many years. Here's the thing boys - I believe in you, I really do. Comedy isn't easy, it's an art and you have to be a creative story teller. But I know you are smarter than having to get on stage and tell a cheap sex joke where the woman is the degraded victim. You can do better than that. Well I hope you can, otherwise I am even more baffled as to why we have been living in a man's world for so long.
There was one part in a show I went to this weekend that showed me how vivid sexism still is in our society. This one however, was at no fault of the performer. In Spencer Jones' show The Herbert in Proper Job there is a part where he lifts up his shirt to reveal a face drawn on his stomach in permanent marker, using his nipples as eyes. He did some movements to make it look like the face was whistling and everyone in the crowd laughed hysterically. Except me. Not because I didn't find it funny but because I had a striking realisation and comparison. Months earlier I went to see Caitlin Moran's book tour for How To Build A Girl. She discussed the book, feminism and her life experience. There is one part in Caitlin's show where she wants to show the audience her 'feminist smile'. What's her feminist smile? She shows us by lifting her top up to reveal a face drawn on her stomach in permanent marker, using the two cups of her bra as eyes. This was received with a mixture of laughs, gasps and awkward claps. I understand that the context of these two moments are quite different. One is there, designed purely to make people laugh, the other is to prove a point and take a stand. It did make me think though, how would the audience react if a woman pulled her shirt up the same way but in a full-fledged comedy show. Would people see it as shocking, or laugh just the same? Also, in Caitlin Moran's bit she was censoring herself compared to Spencer Jones. #Freethenipple is a whole other conversation though. But if Caitlin were to do it the exact same way, without a bra, would people see that as offensive? It seems like it.
I was discussing Spencer Jones' show afterwards with my friends and I didn't want to bring my comparisons up. They had absolutely loved the show and I didn't want to bring the mood down with my feminist rant, just to be told I am over exaggerating or reading too much into it like I have been told so many times before.
The response to your opinions can silence you in the future. One negative response and you feel fear to ever share again. This is the death of your voice and should be avoided at all costs. Do not be silenced, share your opinions with honesty and empathy. Speaking your truth and making yourself vulnerable will always win and be rewarded in the end.
A writer, explorer, and music enthusiast. This site is where I share my thoughts, aspirations, adventures, and mishaps.