There are a lot of reasons I got so mad at Jeff McArthur in the Global News' Morning Show segment about the sexism female comedians face on stage. My partner Hannah, who teaches me new things every day about feminism, and Jess Beaulieu, who I met in a professional context and is a real powerhouse, are two major reasons that I began to understand just how rotten, constant, and frankly, everywhere misogyny and sexism are in our culture.
The true "magic" of Jeff McArthur is that he does everything that makes feminists fucking furious in about a 40-second span. He victim blames ("she should have know what she was getting into"), he mansplains ("ask any comedian and they'll tell you...") and he undermines the problem as real ("there's a double standard there...)" He clearly knows nothing about feminism (or comedy) and as a fairly newly-minted feminist (I'm still learning every day thanks to people like Jess) and a fairly seasoned comedian, it really aggravated me. He doesn't get it! And what's most frightening is that it's his job to be a voice to the public!
I feel a little odd about being male and being asked to share my thoughts on why this is so wrong (the HuffPost Canada reached out to me after I posted a Facebook status on the topic). Because I can't truly understand what the female experience is like because none of this garbage is ever directed at me, I just have to see it happen relentlessly to people I like and love.
Jess Beaulieu and a few others often discuss sexism in comedy. Real problem. Real gross. I've seen it countless times at Second City and everywhere else I work. Comedians get heckled all the time, but it's the specific way women get heckled that is the issue here.
We see three female comedians talk about feeling scared, objectified and having to deal with threats of rape and sexual violence while performing. That's the specific stuff. Horrifying stuff. Real stuff. Again, real problem.
Male reporter immediately says there's a "double standard" at play. THERE IS NO DOUBLE STANDARD. I've been doing comedy for about a decade now. I've told jokes in a lot of weird bars. I've never felt scared, never felt objectified, was never once worried about an audience member physically dominating me in any way after a show. If I get heckled it's about my joke being shitty, not about anything else. Because I am a man.
McArthur then goes on "boys will be boys" flavoured tangent, they were drinking, golfing etc. The twisted logic being that if you drink and golf you can do and say whatever you want I guess.
His co-host, Liza Fromer, tries to interject to reiterate real problem at hand. McArthur insists on last word. Talks louder. He apparently understands everything about comedy.
Let's look back: Specific and real problem of sexism in comedy is brought up. The problem is demonstrated with real anecdotal evidence by real women. Then the broader systemic problem is demonstrated twice as hard on the very platform that was meant to help shed light on the specific problem. Fucking crazy.
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