Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Revisiting Women in Comedy...

Hello, lovely readers! This week is a very busy week here at the Women's Center--we are celebrating African Ancestry Month, kicking off Healthy Love Week, and preparing for Eating Disorder Awareness Week and Women's Herstory Month!

But the topic I want to address is being dusted off from the month of October 2012.  I only just found out about this, and was so excited that I simply had to share with all of our readers!  Ellen DeGeneres, one of my favourite women in the universe, was the recipient of 2012s Mark Twain Prize for American humor.  The award "honors people who have an impact on society in the tradition of Samuel Clemens, better known as Twain, as a social commentator and satirist."  The Kennedy Center, which grants this honor, was careful to make it known that their choice was based on the light and impact Ellen has on the community, and not any political issue.  It is well known that DeGeneres promotes queer equality and is an out lesbian, currently married to Portia de Rossi.  When asked about her political statements, she told Diane Sawye"When I'm accused of becoming political, I'm showing love.  How is that political to teach love and acceptance?"  Sean Hayes, who was just one of the many performers who honored Ellen in October, noted how she paved the way for queer visibility in American television.  "I like to think that Ellen made Will & Grace possible," he said. "And Will & Grace made it possible for Modern Family. Her fearlessness was her contribution and it continues to be."  Regardless of the Kennedy Center's reluctance to acknowledge her political activism, they themselves are making a quality statement by selecting a woman (a gay woman, no less!) as the recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

As you may recall from Lexi's blog a few months ago, it is incredibly difficult for women to make it in comedy.  There are so many barriers that must be overcome, and even if one manages to acquire some level of recognition, it is almost always qualified by gender.  But Ellen's accomplishment is purely respectful!  She is recognized for her positive impact on the community, in the spirit of Mark Twain.  Rock on, wonderful woman!

Ellen and Portia at the 2012 Awards

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