Dig Baton Rouge

East of the River

By Katie East

Sofia Vergara made headlines after her “performance” at the 66th Emmy Awards that aired a couple weeks ago. The act included her standing on a rotating pedestal, showing off her curves, while the chairman of the Television Academy spoke about diversity and making compelling TV. This, like most things, has pissed feminists off.

A feminist is hard to define. Dictionary.com says a feminist is one who “advocates social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.” There shouldn’t be a negative connotation with the word.

There is a distinct group of people, though, who are interested in more than just the rights of women. They seem to get offended by anything that perpetuates a female stereotype. Having a sense of humor and respecting women shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

I have a secret for you angry, Emmy-hating feminists: she was in on the joke. Sofia Vergara was poking fun at herself; something she’s made a career of. Now, would I find that same segment offensive if the Emmy chairman gave a boring speech about striving for equality while they panned to Sofia in the audience without warning? Possibly.

The fact that people are acting like Sofia Vergara was some innocent pawn in this assault on women is what I find offensive. You think she’s so dumb that she’d appear live on national television in a sketch she didn’t understand? She’s a big girl; she knew what she was doing.

Often, it’s hard for women to move past the gender role they are put in: a dumb sexy woman in a short skirt. It seems to me the people who are arguing that Sofia Vergara was used in the Emmy sketch are forcing her into a stereotype even more.

When she was starting out as an actress, Sofia’s publicist suggested she get a breast reduction to look more like the average woman. In my opinion, every time she dresses in tight skirts and shows off those amazing boobs, she’s being a feminist; she’s celebrating her body and doing something people told her not to do.

I can relate. I don’t have a size F rack but I’ve been trying to hide my knockers since 2000. I’ve tried minimizers, duct tape and three sports bras at a time. I absolutely hate the attention they bring me sometimes. It took me years to gain enough confidence to wear the clothes I wanted to despite the reactions of other people. I’m guessing Sofia Vergara has been through the same at some point.

As a female comedian, no one needs to remind me that women are often viewed as objects or judged solely on their looks. I’m reminded almost every time I’m introduced onstage. Too often I hear:

“Your next comedian coming to the stage, or should I say comediANNE, is just as funny as she is pretty,” a quality I’m sure every audience member looks for in a comic. Who can laugh while looking at some unmarried uggo?

I’ve been told for years by many “respected” female comics not to wear dresses onstage. For a while, I abided. I thought they were right: it’s distracting and people wouldn’t take me seriously.

After gaining enough confidence to defy them I thought: why would someone not take me seriously in a dress? They wouldn’t take me seriously because I look like a woman? I am a woman. And I wear dresses. I also stand in front of people revealing embarrassing truths about myself while shouting out disgusting profanities. Again, I don’t see how the two are mutually exclusive.

I’m not saying wearing tight, revealing dresses is some sort of feminist movement. I just think each woman should have the choice of how she portrays herself. In the same week that Sofia Vergara was belittled for her performance at an award show, Beyoncé was applauded.

Beyoncé paraded around in a shiny leotard in front of a giant sign that read “FEMINIST” at the MTV VMA’s. Honestly, the word could use a positive spin since the “Women Against Feminism” movement has been gaining popularity.

The “Women Against Feminism” Tumblr and Facebook page depicts women standing in front of hand-written signs describing why they’re against “feminism.” When scrolling thru these photos I wasn’t sure whether to laugh, vomit or cry.

Yes, most of the signs read as much like an oxymoron as the movement name itself. Each one inevitably says something about their man and how they’re against feminism because they’re supporting him. I don’t see why you can’t love a man and still love yourself and your kind.

As a woman in a male-dominated career, I have to overcome my genitalia everyday.  I don’t know if I’d describe myself as a feminist but I do know that the second women start knocking other women for being themselves, we have a problem.

I think Sofia Vergara can be just as good of a role model as Beyonce. It’s all about individuality. Unfortunately, for some sexist men and anti-feminists, you can’t put all women into one category.


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