Everyday Feminism with a Comedic Twist
Meghan Costa | 2/29/16 11:05pm
| Updated 2/29/16 11:06pm
American Word Magazine
Ever walk down the street and have a guy tell you to smile? Or comment on your outfit or your curves? Do you stop walking and give him a speech on why his remarks are sexist? Do you also quote various feminist authors or make references to celebrities like Lena Dunham or Taylor Swift? No, you don’t. I know you don’t.
Even “Broad City’s” Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer don’t do this. The “Broad City” stars are constantly being referred to as “feminist superheros,” but they refuse to fit the “preachy” stereotype. Instead they just curse their perpetrators out and flip them the bird. This move doesn’t speak “social justice warrior feminist goddess,” but instead showcases what actually happens in real life. No one has time to give a catcaller a lecture, especially not Abbi and Ilana.
“Broad City” returned to Comedy Central on February 17 for a third season. The show stars two real life best friends, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, who use their real names for the lead characters of the show. The dynamic duo met in 2010 and started “Broad City” as a web series, both writing and starring as the main characters. The series eventually got the attention of Amy Poehler, who became the executive producer of the show and starred in last season’s finale. The first television episode aired on January 22, 2014 and since then has picked up major fans.
The show follows Jacobson and Glazer through their adventurous lives in Brooklyn. You may be thinking, “not another feminist show about white girls living in New York City,” but don’t forget that “Broad City” is a Comedy Central show – it’s not as serious as HBO’s “Girls” or “Sex and The City.” Girl power is definitely still present in the show, but it’s less in your face, which makes it more effective.
Rather than creating unrealistic scenarios to promote feminist lessons, “Broad City” showcases everyday feminism.
It does this by showing how 20-year-old females behave in the real world, making it more relatable for viewers. Instead of embodying the characteristics of feminist superstars, Jacobson and Glazer are simply doing their best to get by. They take what they want whenever they want and act unapologetically.
The girls smoke marijuana on the show and destroy a famous stereotype in the process – yes, women do smoke weed, and yes, they still binge eat and laugh unflatteringly while they do it. They have sex and treat sex the same way you typically see men treat it: as casual and fun rather than emotional and serious. They even participate in some activities that are far from “lady like” – such as watching men play basketball to cleaning a man’s apartment in their underwear for weed money.
Some feminists argue that the show caters towards the “cool girl trope” because the girls try to act more laid back in order to be considered “one of the guys.” The “cool girl trope” is on the rise, showcased by actresses like Jennifer Lawrence and comedians like Amy Schumer, who refuse to act like the classic “girly girl.” Some feminists see this as discriminatory against girls who embrace traditionally “girly” stereotypes because you can still be a feminist while enjoying things like sororities, modeling, fashion and makeup. The “cool girl trope” was first coined in the book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. She describes it in the following paragraph:
“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot.”
Sure, Jacobson and Glazer are definitely more tomboyish than girly, but they don’t do it for men. The actresses have admitted their roles in the show are extremely similar to their actual personalities. But, the characters do embrace their feminine side – they go shopping, wear cute and revealing clothing and even catch feelings for men when they don’t want to. “Broad City” has never gone out of its way to shame “girly girls.” Jacobson and Glazer are simply being themselves by occasionally conforming to feminine stereotypes, while also defying them whenever they want to.
Jacobson and Glazer push boundaries without making it obvious. “Broad City” refuses to join the never ending and somewhat tiring feminist debate of what is feminist and what isn’t – instead, it reminds us to take ourselves a little less seriously. This is what true feminism is all about – ignoring the rules of what women are “supposed to do” and instead doing whatever you want, with pride.