Thursday, February 26, 2009

Entering a new age of political correctness

Few people will argue that the Saturday Night Live sketches done by Tina Fey and Amy Palmer had an effect on public opinion. While I do not believe it was a deciding factor in the election, I think that it was an important step for the media. These sketches allowed the stigma surrounding women and feminism to fall. Fey and Palmer were quick to note that while sexism runs rampant in our media, we try to pretend that it does not. My attention was recently brought to a piece done by Onion News, entitled: "First Female Dictator Hailed as Step Forward for Women." I noted this because I feel that a dictatorship is a very masculine concept. I am not promoting a dictatorship in any way, shape, or form, but I do feel that it is a very interesting concept.
Why is it the women are not dictators? Is it because there has not been a women with a strong enough following to create such a senario, or is it because we simply laugh the thought off. Society tells us that a women is not strong or aggressive enough to rule a country in such a way.
These views are prevalent enough that The Onion felt that they could mock them. However, I do not believe that, (despite how forward The Onion tends to be) they would have produced this video prior to the SNL skits.
I have thought a lot about why these sketches were acceptable, and I believe it comes back to the two women behind it. Men would not take on sexist issues for fear of being called sexist. However, because Tina Fey and Amy Palmer are represented as strong and self-assured women by the media, they were able to highlight sexism as it presently exists in the media and society at large.
By doing so, Fey and Palmer have brought sexism out from behind the curtain, and I feel that we can only go forward from here.


sdmalhi said...

I agree with you that the way that the American society approaches the concept of sexism is now changing. Previously, sexism was definitely still present, but rather than being brought up to the surface, was a concept spoken about behind backs and behind closed doors. The current generation is definitely more straightforward though, and rather than hiding behind a veil, brings previously taboo concepts to light. Personally, I think it's better to confront an issue rather than hide behind it, because if it's brought in front of the public, we can actually do something about it to change the situation. If people keep their ideas to themselves, there's nothing anyone can do to change their opinion because we would never know what they're thinking.

Musiclover14 said...
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Musiclover14 said...

It's actually Amy Poehler, not Amy Palmer, but anyway I agree. The fact that these women were able to make this humorous and socially acceptable is due to their gender. Sexism is so downplayed nowadays and I love that though they were having a good time making people laugh, they were really trying to get that message across. Just knowing how hard I laughed when I watched the skit made me wonder though, am I sexist? Of course it was meant to be comical, but should I have been outraged or should I have been nodding along in aggravated feminist agreement with the blatant satire? Are we furthering the spread of sexism by laughing this off and simply seeing it as a silly skit? As I said, Fey and Poehler did convey the message that gender discrimination is amazingly accepted now, but obviously they were poking fun at the candidates' characters. I suppose if someone fails to see that message and still laughs along that they are then committing a sexist action, but I do see the message, so I'm okay, right?