I am a feminist. I often describe myself as a ‘bra-burning feminazi’ when someone asks – half joking, half serious.
I have written LOADS of diatribes on Independent.ie about feminism, misogyny, everyday sexism, the sexualisation of breast cancer campaigns, gender imbalance in politics to name but a few.
I get a lot of hate for my openly feminist views. I have to put up with a lot of feminist-bashing. (I once got a handwritten letter in red pen that called me a ‘gendercentric’ – Planning on framing it)
One day I was on my way home in the car. I was frustrated. I don’t always let it get to me but there are days it does.
I had had a bad day of reading/watching/seeing sexism everywhere. Once you begin to notice incidences of misogyny or casual sexism it becomes impossible to stop noticing.
Sometimes it gets on top of me, and today was one of those days. I was frustrated, annoyed, upset – in particular, because someone on Twitter had inferred that feminists like me are never happy, picking holes, can’t we just shut up already because we have the vote and running water kind of stuff.
I thought to myself that ‘feminist’ was almost a dirty word these days, and we were all being tarred with the same brush. Then I thought – ‘The F Word!’ and laughed. Then, the whole way home, I was thinking of the silly stereotypes. The bra burning, the being-against-makeup, the man-hating.
Eventually I found my concept to make these annoying stereotypes into a video. I wanted to take the piss out of these ideas about feminists, show how ridiculous they are. I decided on the concept ‘living with a feminist’, inspired by the video ‘Living with Jigsaw’. I decided I would play the feminist completely over-exaggerated, and the housemate as one of ‘those’ girls – the ones that decry feminism, slag off feminists. The idea was inspired by ‘Living with Jigsaw’ and was supposed to follow that format – ridiculous, over-exaggerated living situations that would never happen in real life.
So that’s the joke. Just like I did with ‘YouTube Comments IRL’, I took something that was upsetting me and made a video showing how ridiculous it is. The idea made me laugh, the video made me laugh and then it wasn’t bothering me anymore.
I’m actually upset that I feel I have to explain the joke. I feel that it reinforces the stereotype that feminists have no sense of humour, which is something I struggle with daily as both a feminist and a comedian.
I’m trying to understand the opposition, and I’m wondering if there was anything more I could have done to avoid this – but I really feel the joke is so over-the-top I couldn’t have made it any more obvious that it’s a send up. I hiss at a hair straightener, burn a bra and refuse to do MY OWN dishes because I’m a woman! The only thing I could have done to avoid this was to not make the video and we can’t be censoring each other.
Being a feminist is a large part of who I am, but I am also Clare Cullen and I love having the craic. I particularly love taking the piss, especially out of myself. Nice to meet you.
On the bright side, a lot of Irish feminists get the self-deprecation I was going for: