Woman to woman
Building solidarity in African American female comedy
Professional female comedians frequently face harassment from male fellow performers and from male audience members who take a sexist attitude, essentializing women as psychologically and temperamentally unsuited to the profession of comedy. This paper examines a strategy that African American female comedians employ to overcome the obstacles they face in performing before mixed gender African American audiences. While implementing features that emphasize their African American and female identity, the comedians direct their performances toward women in the audience, employing features and practices comparable to those researchers associate with close female friends in conversation. Intensive use of a strategy that includes taking stances such as confidence sharing and using gendered terms to directly address female audience members establishes solidarity with the women who are listening. Having a large portion of the audience as allies discourages the occurrence of sexist harassment.
Cited by 2 other publications
Kendall, Shari & Deborah Tannen
. Discourse and Gender
. In The Handbook of Discourse Analysis
pp. 639 ff.
. Missing the target: group practices that launch and deflect slurs
. Language Sciences
pp. 70 ff.
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