Sunday, October 17, 2010

vag magazine: laughing with or at feminists?

a question i get asked a lot when i mention this blog in conversations with friends and strangers is, "well, what is feminist fashion anyway?" and in some ways, that question is an unanswerable one. i like to think that my take on "feminist fashion" is an analysis of fashion from a critical perspective, trying to see ways in which the fashion industry impacts women involved in all levels, from the people who work in sweatshops to the anna wintour's of the world. but i'll stop myself there: while i'm not quite ready to put down a lot of my ideas in writing, this video piqued my interest and reminded me of why the idea of "feminist fashion" is so interesting:

Vag Magazine Teaser 1 from Vag Magazine on Vimeo.

Vag Magazine Teaser 2 from Vag Magazine on Vimeo.

those are the two teasers for a new web series:
VAG MAGAZINE is not your grandma's feminist magazine, though we support her as a woman. Go behind the scenes at this hipster third-wave feminist magazine with founders FENNEL, SYLVIE, and BETHANY, staffers HEAVY FLO (a hero on the roller derby circuit), REBA (truly a legend of gonzo feminist pop culture journalism), and MEGHAN (the lone holdover from fashion magazine Gemma, which the Vag founders bought out with the proceeds from their Etsy shop), as well as enthusiastic intern KIT, as they teach you how to be a better woman.

This six-part web series stars and was created, written, directed, and produced by comedians from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.
even after watching the teasers, and reading this description, the anticipation is killing me. i can't help but wonder... will it be my new favourite thing in the pop culture universe? or just another way of laughing at feminists, another reason why i'll have to defend why i choose to identify as feminist? if you couldn't tell, i feel conflicted. part of me is like "yeah! awesome! great! discussions about feminism's relationship to fashion! and hilarity!" and then another part is like "will this be another liz lemon brand of feminism, about thin able-bodied middle class straight white women who make jokes about how fat they are when in reality they are probably a size 6?" (for the record i do not completely loathe 30 rock, even though based on that statement you may be lead to believe otherwise)

i really like the jokes about what makes something a "feminist" garment, and it's hilarious for me to hear jokes friends of mine have definitely made before, about ourselves, and about other feminist-identified folks. what third-waver hasn't made jokes about hippies playing with moonblood and mocking "sisterhood" and universally supporting other women simply based solely the fact that they are women (insert debates about sarah palin here)? part of the humour fellow feminists and i have shared about this has definitely been a defense mechanism, and as a way of blowing off steam when confronted with shitty attitudes and politics. there is a lot of infighting within any anti-oppressive community, feminism included, but how can we address those problems in effective and healthy ways? one of my favourite ways of addressing fucked up and problematic things in pop culture is with humour.

lately it seems like there is a dearth in feminist humour; sarah haskins' hugely popular target women is now sadly defunct, and its replacement, modern lady, is just not up to snuff. could it be that vag magazine will be a place for feminists to get their laughs? i hope so. that said, there are already some things irking me about it; namely, the fact that the cast is mostly white and pretty high-femme, and that most of the jokes seem to be at the expense of these very "extreme" hyper critical feminists... but! i'll stop myself there. really, i can't judge the entire series after only having seen a whole minute of footage. and maybe i'm just feeling a wee bit hypercritical about the whole thing in general. i'll save my thoughts until i've watched the webisodes, which launch tomorrow, october 18th.

edited to add: twitter informs me that both myself and vag magazine follow feminist hulk, so my hopes are now indeed higher for this interesting looking series.

vag magazine
vag magazine on vimeo
vag magazine on twitter
vag magazine wants to put the funny in feminism

13 ways of looking at liz lemon at tiger beatdown
ableism in 30 rock at deeply problematic


Anonymous said...

part of me hopes they won't go down the liz lemon road but they really seem to be doing it already. i found it amusing but afterwards just left me wondering what the other "episodes" will reveal. plus, it turns out tina fey has worked with this theatre in one way or another.

also as someone who is of multiethnic (one of them being asian) i get tired of seeing the asian woman being the most used "minority" as being the most "friendly/acceptable". the go to minority. (although i think americans fetishize them more than any other ethnic group and for some very anti-feminist ideology) it just really rubs me the wrong way. i would have loved to seen other races potrayed than just white women and the token asian.

anyways, love your blog i stumbled upon it tonight even though we've been livejournal friends for years! i look forward to hearing your opinions on the upcoming episodes and wil bookmark your site for future visits.

Karine said...

The first episode is online, it is funny, but it is not representative of the diversity at all as usual.

You know after hearing the huge controversy in Québec on feminism, this is better than nothing.

Jenny said...

i think its hard to peg fashion and feminism together in a comdey skit because certain lifestyles are highly based on fashion (hipster, hippy etc) but feminism is so hugely based on ideas and lived experience.
that said, there are trends! nautical is one of them for sure! mmm sexy sailors....

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