Dudes, Amy Schumer Is Not "Too Vulgar." You're Just Sexist
The first time it happened I was sitting at a bar with the guy I had been seeing and his friends. I mentioned that I had just seen Trainwreck and thought it was the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen, that I had cried from laughing so hard. “Who’s in that again?” one of his friends said from across the table. When I told him that the star (and writer) was Amy Schumer, he responded: “Oh, I don’t think she’s funny.”
My jaw dropped. We don’t all have the have the same sense of humor—some people hate The Office and I think it’s a comedic masterpiece—but I was slightly shocked by this dude’s response. Inside Amy Schumer was a viral sensation; how could this guy not appreciate her as the comedy giant she is?
I rattled off her list of accomplishments, her hilarious sketches, her endlessly retweeted jokes, and his response stopped me dead in my tracks: “She’s too vulgar,” he said.
My face reddened; I was incensed. Too vulgar?! What did that even mean? Of course, the truth is, I knew exactly what it meant. And Schumer has dealt with this issue straight on—in hilarious fashion, of course. "I get labeled a sex comic," she once told Esquire. "But if a guy got up onstage and pulled his dick out, everybody would say: "He's a thinker."
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It’s funny because it’s true. Think about a late-night comedy show you’ve ever attended or watched on TV. Male comedians make sex jokes and jokes about dating. They talk about kind of gross but realistic things the body does. I laugh, cringe a little, blush. But is it because it’s vulgar? These routines often touch upon traditionally taboo topics that we’re still, as a society, not open about. And if Amy Schumer is vulgar, what’s Bob Saget?
"Too vulgar" is a criticism I’ve heard levied against Schumer more than just that one night at the bar. I’ve had other guys casually tell me some of her jokes can be gross, and part of me wonders if it’s just because she’s getting real about her vagina, and if you’ve read the first chapter of The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, you know what I’m talking about.
But if that makes some men feel uncomfortable, maybe we should be applauding Schumer even more? Could that hypersensitivity to male discomfort be the reason some of us whisper when we talk about our periods or even speak to the fact that tampons are taxed as a luxury item?
It should go without saying that Schumer should be able to chat openly about her body—like how she really feels during a bikini wax, or how she really felt during her first and only one-night stand with the muscular British hottie. Not only is it her life, but also it’s exactly how men talk about their bodies and the stuff they do. (Except in their case, perhaps, a bit less thoughtfully.)
Hopefully, these double standards will disappear before I’m in my eighties, but until they do, it’s comforting to know that Amy Schumer will continue to point it out, make us laugh, and get real about her sex life—even if that means making lame dudes everywhere feel a little uncomfortable.