A phenomena that occurs when I write and post something in the same day is that I generally find that, much like in an argument, I have much more to say about the topic after the fact. Mostly, I find a clearer way of making a point through engaging the material with folks on my FB feed. Thus, today is the inauguration of a new category called “One More Thing” where I will explore an already discussed topic a bit further.
Yesterday, I talked about Policing the Body and used the example of the meteorologist who, during her live weather report, was handed a sweater because viewers were complaining about the appropriateness of her dress. Feel free to click on the link above, or here, to see the videos and read my original thoughts.
At the end of that post, I talked about the rebuttal that was given my both the meteorologist and her co-anchors. The gist being: it was all a joke and you people just don’t get the context. As I said yesterday:
The context seems to be that they have a “jokey” atmosphere at work where they poke fun at one another and pull “at least 6.8 gags” on their show each day. And handing her a sweater on air and telling her to put it on was done “in the spirit of satirizing the viewer complaints and to trade the LBD for something that isn’t so much evening wear.” I don’t think the word satire means what they think it means.
Here’s the thing that I thought about today:
The given context didn’t make the joke any funnier or better executed. Far from ridiculing, or “satirizing,” the complaints of the viewers, the co-anchor legitimized them. Handing his colleague a sweater on air so that she covered up a dress that viewers found undesirable or inappropriate only solidified those people’s beliefs that they should be able to dictate what a woman wears.
Actual satire would have been ridiculing the complaining viewers by asking Liberté to do a model stride while the anchors fan-boyed over her outfit. Or, far funnier, they could have presented a listicle of “top ten things that a woman should wear to work” with all ten responses being some variation of whatever TF she wants.
As he says in the video, some jokes work and some don’t. This “joke” didn’t work because instead of taking aim at the complaining viewers and the sexist double standard that they were attempting to enforce, the “joke” landed square on the person who was already feeling the burden of such a system. They punched down when they should have been punching up.. They made the policing of her body (instigated by viewers) the punchline instead of going after the system that is intent on policing.
Anyways, that’s all I got for today. Until the morrow.