Transgressing the Digital Terrain: Humor in Feminist Responses to Trolling

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Book Chapter

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This chapter examines whether humor can affect change in the embedded cultural logic of violence against women. One common trait in the humor of the feminist comedians is incivility. Violent anti-woman rhetoric functions as a part of a larger cultural logic that disciplines women engaging in public discourse online. Amy Schumer's skit inhabits both aspects of humor. She resists the disciplinary rhetoric of rape while at the same time controlling the audience perception of trolling. Both Waller-Bridge and Schumer perform gender impolitely, transgressing gender norms to provoke laughter. Schumer has been critiqued as a comedian both by mainstream and feminist audiences—she transgresses what is acceptably funny, what is acceptably feminist, and what is acceptably female. In challenging the lack of safety that being a woman in public provokes, feminists employ humor as a sophisticated rhetorical tactic through which they attempt to appeal to an audience beyond their own feminist in-group.



Publication Title

Transgressing Feminist Theory and Discourse: Advancing Conversations across Disciplines

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