My girlfriend IM’ed me and asked what I thought about “this whole SXSW thing” and I knew exactly what she was talking about because the debate we get into more often than anything else (well, not ANYTHING else) is gender politics and all that fun stuff.
My immediate response was, sure, it’s upsetting, but how does SXSW “pick” comedians? Is it an application process? Do the comedian’s managers and agents submit them or does SXSW send out invitations? It seems that this is worth looking into before everyone looses their shit. I can’t jump to a conclusion because what if they received more male applicants than female? It would only follow that more males would be approved to perform than females, if that were true. What if it was based on votes or a committee decision? Does anyone know? I’m asking.
If, however, SXSW invites comedians then that’s a huge problem. My contention was essentially ”I don’t know why anyone EXPECTED sxsw to actually be cool about this.”
Last year, the ratio was also way off. I mean, less so than this year, but still. They’re a corporation, probably run by men, who didn’t think to invite any women to the festival because they’re subconscious or outright bigots.
It’s not that it isn’t WRONG, it’s that it’s not SURPRISING.
Just because sxsw is an arts organization does not mean they’re heading towards a progressive gender-equal future. Let’s look at the Academy Awards- how many Blacks do you see represented this year? Virtually none. Manhola and A.O. at NYT wrote a phenomenal article about it. And that’s got me WAY more pissed off than this. AND YOU SHOULD BE PISSED OFF TOO.
What I hope doesn’t happen now is that SXSW immediately runs out and invites a bunch of female comedians to perform this year, because that’s going to do nothing more than hide the bigger problem at hand.
SXSW shouldn’t invite women to their show because people are upset on the internet, they should have done it in the first place. Anything they do from now on will be insincere and done solely from a business standpoint. It’ll be “uh oh! bad PR” instead of “Uh oh! retrogressive politics.” They’ve fucked up and we should all be aware to the extent that they’ve fucked up. We shouldn’t be okay with them retroactively inviting comedians, we should ensure that their current line up serves as a permanent stain upon that well-designed website so we can say to our kids “Hey look, kids, that I have, at how fucked up things USED to be.”
All that being said, all the male comedians playing SXSW should boycott so that there’s only one person performing and that person is a woman.
That is, if they invited and picked the comedians.