*This piece is strictly opinion based and is not a statement of fact*
We are seeing a new wave of virtual comedy by male “stars” who enjoy the aura of a woman, but still need to break them down. It ties back to the age old belief of women being intellectually and physically weaker, due to their biology. Aristotle defined the male as active and the female as passive; the male as rational and the female as emotional; and finally, the male as “normal” and the female as “departure.” Departure meaning that they are a derivation from normal and normativity. Historically, arguments made regarding the female’s organs being internal, versus external, like their male counterpart, have been proof enough of their obvious inferiority. This was a scientific explanation. Women have been defined as the lesser (keeping in mind the double edged sword of intersectionality with women of colour) for simply being able to reproduce. The idea was that women exerted a vast amount of energy into reproduction and so had no more energy for other aspects of life. Dating back even further, religiously with Christianity, Eve is seen as the temptress. Eve is the reason for all the ails and evils of human life. Eve is why Adam ate the forbidden fruit. Historically, and presently, men have felt the need to degrade women based on their own perceptions of what should and can degrade their fellow human being. The part that has my stomach twisted in knots, forcing me to write this post, is that within that context and definition of what a woman is, men alternatively uplift women on the one aspect they have all collectively agreed we are useful for. Sex and sexual objectification. This post will attempt to break down why exactly men like Joe and Psychomar partake in this wheel of abuse and degradation.
So there's this recent trend about this "funny guy" spitting in videos of girls being people... http://t.co/rYpvZyu7gl—
Ale From 夏-Club (@Kamasxtra) October 02, 2015
It was not until I saw the tweet above that it was brought to my attention that PsychomarTV had not simply made one accidental video, and had it gone viral, but rather had several videos on his Instagram page where he “pokes fun” at women. He begins with a clip of a woman doing quite literally anything, and ends with him ‘imitating’ them and then spitting in ‘disgust’ at his camera screen, directed at the women. He posts these videos on his now private Instagram page. But, stuck in between his misogyny and abusive nature, located on his IG page are snapshots of women’s bodies. So in a twisted way, he is sending the message that the only time a woman can and should be admired, is in silence. He is saying that we are our bodies and we have no control over that message. The media tells us that women’s bodies are the most appealing aspect of a woman – often hacking away at it until it is sculpted to absolute and utterly impossible perfection. Within this message, it tells us that we are to be models on a runway. We walk up and down but do not utter a word.
Let us dial it back. We have to first explain how the Internet works currently with it’s integration of virtual comedy. When I say virtual comedy, I mean comedy that can be accessed anywhere at anytime on all social platforms. Through the utilization of gifs, text posts, photos, 6-30 second videos, and etc., you can find your niche for comedy virtually anywhere at anytime by people just like you. The age of established comedians appears to be filtering away with the new age of Vine and Twitter text posts. Louis CK may be going on tour in a month or so but Moviemanny just posted a hilarious Vine that you can access now for free. A comedy show can last up to an hour or more and then you go home and reenact the jokes you heard. With Vine, Facebook videos, Twitter videos and text posts, and Tumblr videos and Tumblr text posts, you have the ability to continuously re-experience the joke. You can also add to the joke and make it your own. Customization. And, the jokes just keep coming. But, with this widespread of comedy, just as with the old age comedy, we need to find that line of violation.
The Benign Violation Theory is one I will speak on briefly (the nerd within me is making me say big words). The Humor Research Lab explained this theory perfectly when they said;
“The theory builds on work by a linguist, Tom Veatch, and integrates existing humor theories to propose that humor occurs when and only when three conditions are satisfied: (1) a situation is a violation, (2) the situation is benign, and (3) both perceptions occur simultaneously. For example, play fighting and tickling, which produce laughter in humans (and other primates), are benign violations because they are physically threatening but harmless attacks,” – The Humor Research Lab.
A benign violation, as the word would suggest, is one that is on the level as play fighting and tickling – that most of us do with siblings and/or peers. Alternatively;
“According to the theory, a violation refers to anything that threatens one’s beliefs about how the world should be. That is, something seems threatening, unsettling, or wrong. From an evolutionary perspective, humorous violations likely originated as threats to physical well-being (e.g., the attacks that make up tickling, play fighting), but expanded to include threats to psychological well-being (e.g., insults, sarcasm), including behaviors that break social norms (e.g., strange behaviors, flatulence), cultural norms (e.g., unusual accents, most scenes from the movie Borat), linguistic norms (e.g., puns, malapropisms), logic norms (e.g., absurdities, non-sequiturs), and moral norms (e.g., disrespectful behavior, bestiality),” – The Humor Research Lab.
Through their videos, Joe Santagato and PsychomarTV, are producing violations. Now, some people find violations funny. I would say this is due to ignorance on the topic and also the fact that most laughing do not have a lived experience of the so called jokes. Men are not as targeted and cut down based on their looks on a daily and hourly basis. Men have been taught that they hold the power. White men, through colonialism, and other historically tragic events, set the tone that men are more educated and therefore yield and deserve more power. Oddly enough, it was white men who set this tone and it is still white men who reap the benefits of this tone above any other race of men and yet all races of men, have a proportion of their men who adhere to this violation. The same men that slaughtered, enslaved, raped, brutalized, your people – women, children, and yes, men – are who you are following after when you engage in such acts. White men taught us people of colour to degrade our women. Indigenous Women were leaders until the White man told the Aboriginal men, that was nor right. This is not to say that presently all white men are this way, but there is such a thing as a Meninist. A movement with majority of its members being white men. So drop the “not all men” bs. My point is, men are not as targeted as women and that men of colour, are following suit of the white colonial men, when they propagate this abuse and degradation of women. You are not doing anything different. It is not funny. It is rooted in extreme historical ails.
The above clip is a great documentary that is on Netflix but also can be found on Youtube, Putlocker, iTunes, etc. It will shed some light on what I have been trying to explain above.
Moving on. We have discussed how the internet has adopted its own virtual comedy. We have explained violations and the need to find a line with its new found comedy. Then, we examined some racial implications (obviously just touching the surface because racial implications would take about 3000 more words). Now, let us answer why men like Joe Santagato and PsychomarTV, continue to enjoy this degradation of women.
The answer lies with the media. As the wonderful trailer above for the documentary “MissRepresentation” said, no matter what women do, our images are the most important. Men pick up on this conscious notion but also, men create and define this notion. The exploitation of women’s bodies, the degradation of women through reality television shows and virtually through any medium, has affected and poisoned men. It has poisoned men to the point that now, the first image of a women for most men who are uncritical of what the media tells them regarding women, is a thing. What is a thing meant to do? It’s job. A thing is an object that has one job. When that thing deviates from its culturally and socially defined job, it is seen as threatening and in some cases, bizarre. In this realization of deviation, the thing must then be hacked at and stopped. Women are made to be things and objects. Objects of desire, objects of lust, objects of a pre-defined and pseudo beauty. Beauty has been made to be silenced. Models walk down the runway and then they leave only to appear again, being beautiful. When women speak, that act of speaking and breaking down the walls that misogyny through normativity has created, men are immediately put off. Advertisements and movies use violent imagery of how to handle women when they deviate from normativity. They also use stereotypical images. Whether it be abusive, or taking your woman “shopping to shut her up,” or thinking that sex is the cure, the media, through all mediums, have sent this message. So men take it upon themselves, to stop women from deviating. This was most recently seen with the Sorority Girls who were enjoying their day out at a baseball game, and taking selfies. The act of choosing to do something, is a deviation, and no matter what it is we are doing, it has to be hacked at and stopped.
What am I saying? Joe Santagato and PsychomarTV are not making fun of the things women are saying/doing but rather hacking down on them for being bold enough to be present publicly. It does not matter that these women are stating this incorrectly because there are droves of men out there who do the same thing. It is this act of being public that rubs them the wrong way. The notion of how dare she even take a selfie? How dare she admire her body without my commentary? She made a grammatical error because women are so uneducated and “dumb.” Jurgen Habermas spoke of the public sphere versus the private sphere (as I have spoken about countless times). It is this notion of a deviation and apparent boldness that leads men to react the way they do. Women are not your punchline. We are not the joke. If these men are the true comedians they are, why would they rely so much on violations targeted at a specific group of individuals that are already targets? Triple consciousness.