I do judge people, but only on things they can fix - like prejudices
Amy, can you stop with the butt jokes now? Please?
May 22, 2015
I absolutely love Amy Schumer. I think her comedy is brilliant. And her ability to convey the logic and strength of a mainstream feminist standpoint through comedy is hard to rival. "12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer" brilliantly dealt with the ire of misogynists, and the "right" they feel to critique a (famous) woman's face/age/body. In fact, this season of Inside Amy Schumer has been so pumped full of feminism, that I've been amazed that certain things have passed the censors. (Hello pink pocket dildos...)
This season started on a high note. Before the episode even aired, critics were praising her "Milk Milk Lemonade" parody music video. I'm sure that lots of white women have been shocked and confused with the surge in gluteal adoration. They must be thinking, sure, J. Lo's ass was praised, but that was almost a century ago, right? But now, Kim Kardashian's behind is breaking the damn internet. Don't men care about boobs anymore? DId I just waste 10 grand on the wrong implants? (I have no idea how much breast implants cost... God blessed me on top and bottom. *snap!*)
Milk Milk Lemonade was hilarious. The chorus "This is where my poop comes out" had me laughing so hard that my daughter brought me a tissue for me tears. Granted, many of my black feminist peers took issue with. I remember the morning after the episode, by twitter feed was a veritable innundation of anti-Amy vitriol. So many black feminists were up in arms, taking Amy to task for using black bodies to make her point. In fact, I think that was the headline of one of the major articles I saw: "Stop Using Black Women's Bodies to Make Your Point".
I get it. Amy Schumer used Amber Rose and the background booty chorus to make her point about the confusing nature of gluteal adoration. (I enjoy saying "gluteal adoration". It sounds funny in my head.) But I wasn't offended. I wasn't even offended to see my love Method Man in the video. Again, I laughed. Hard. I'm talking tears, y'all.
Yes, for centuries the bodies of black women have been exploited and used to at and for the pleasure of white people. We have been subjected to poking, circus freakery, medical tests, assault, rape, etc. In my idealism, I would hope that Amy and Co gave pause to this legacy, but I'm no fool. Not having to grapple with the problematic sexually racist history of white use of black (female) bodies is the definition of white privilege. And that sucks.
Did Amber Rose and that beautiful black booty chorus sign on to do the comedic video with no awareness or understanding of the implicit white privilege? Did they give pause to the troubled history of mainstream feminist (read white) critique in comparison to black feminist theory? Eh, I doubt it. Did they sign on to make fun of themselves and an idea? Yeah, I think so. And that's why it was funny.
I took it as an opportunity to laugh at the absurdity of the sexualization of the human form. Our asses are literally the place where poop comes out. Our breasts produce milk for babies. Sure, our vaginas (and clitorises) are awesome, but don't forget, babies come out of that hole. "Milk Milk Lemonade" spoke to all of that for me. We sexualize the weirdest things.
And we all know Amber Rose is fine as hell. And I wish I had her poop maker.
"Black and Latino men have enjoyed a shapely bottom for years! But now, even normal guys are into it," says Dr. Martin Daniels at the start of the sketch. Yes, the joke is that now that white men are into asses, asses are the best feature. The joke is that women are constantly striving to acheive an aesthetic for the attention of me. We all get it. These are actually simple jokes, though. And while I chuckled, I cringed.
The accompanying animations showed a body type that has traditionally been revered by black women and men - a body with smaller breasts in relation to the butt. As a black woman, I took that sort of personally. Don't get me wrong. I think that we can laugh at any and everything, as long as the joke is intelligent and pulls in all perspectives (nod to Chris Rock and Louis C.K.)
But those animations still bother me. I'm sure Amy and Co didn't stop to think about the fact that their images correlated to actual body types. I'm sure they didn't stop and think about the problematic relationship between the media and the black female body. I'm sure they didn't think it was a problem. But again, that's the definition of white privilege.
If my daughter were older, and was watching that with me, how would I explain it? How would I explain it especially if that happens to be her body type? Yes, I'll tell her the joke is about women striving to appeal to men. But what if she asked why her body shape was the joke?
I love Amy Schumer; and it's time to move on from the butt jokes.
Yes, this is where my poop comes out. And I'm proud of my fine behind. And boobs.