Feminism is the new “thing”—celebrities are declaring if they’re for or against it, feminist fashion statements are popping up like daisies, women’s empowerment in music is all the rage, and awesome feminist lady bosses are ruling the world. But what about the boys in our lives? Portlandia poked fun in a very thought provoking, satirical way with this video depicting an all-male feminist group.
I’m a huge fan of satirical skits that critique larger societal problems, and Portlandia does this one so successfully. Doug, clad in a shirt proclaiming the famous quote “Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History,” has started an all-male feminist group. Just another place women are respected, but not welcome at, right? What makes them feminists, you ask? Apparently if you’ve “never hired a geisha,” you’re making huge strides for the feminist agenda. One guy is extremely proud of himself for ditching his habit of saying ‘hubba hubba’ now that he’s got a new feminist girlfriend.
“I’ve been saying to ladies on the street, ‘Are you a doctor?’ …just so there’s not a feeling that only men can be doctors,” says one character, because we needed his question to reaffirm our ability to succeed in science. I mean, come on ladies, at least they aren’t catcalling (which has also been spun in a comedic light as of late). The video goes on in the same satirical fashion, even outfitted with a man who’s a little overzealous with his blow horn (GO FEMINISM!).
It’s important to remember that their satire is only successful because it plays on the very real societal ideology that men have to ‘fix’ things for women because we can’t do it ourselves. Doug reminds the group, “[their] job, guys, fellas, people, is to solve feminism.” It’s a statement similar to the mansplaining that every woman has experienced at some point in her life. Rebecca Solnit even wrote a book on the phenomenon; Men Explain Things To Me goes into how mansplaining may seem harmless while actually being indicative of a much larger defect in our social system.
The episode doesn’t just critique men’s idea of feminism—when one member says, “I don’t even see hair color,” it’s automatically reminiscent of ‘not seeing color,’ everyone’s favorite racist cop-out. The rehabilitated boy who found feminism when he started dating a new feminist lady isn’t uncommon in our world either.
The humor in the title—all-male feminist group—also just can’t be passed up. It’s funny because of how ironic it is, but men hold the majority in everything from the bosses of Fortune 500 companies to the Senate. Not so funny there, huh?