The Women’s Resource Center exists to provide a supportive place for all women on campus and is committed to addressing sexism and discrimination in all its forms.
Irene Tobias, the lead assistant in the SMSU Women’s Resource Center, was interviewed to discuss feminism and comment on the event.
Q: Why was this event brought to CSUSB?
So about three or four years ago, a few of us attended a comedy night. It was funny but there was a lot of racist and sexist jokes. All of the comedians were men and we thought it wasn’t really fair because they were basically just making fun of people and there are other ways to bring humor. For the following year, we organized a feminist comedy night and it was originally created by someone who used to work here [at the Women’s Resource Center]. Her name was Emily Erwin, and she hosted the show and has
been hosting for the past three years.
Q: How do you describe feminism?
We like to just describe feminism as all types of equality for all genders. Basically, the general idea is we like to ensure that women can get the same rights, justice, and recognition that anyone else gets, so that’s how we would define feminism in the most basic way.
Q: Do you think there are misconceptions about feminism, and if so, can you elaborate?
Yeah, so a lot of people think that feminists are man-haters, we want to be superior to men, or that we’re just angry lesbians. Some people think that women already have a bunch of rights, so why do we still need feminism? We kind of try to tear those down, especially when new people come into the center and we’ll explain it to them why we need the Women’s Resource Center and why we need feminism still. A good reason would be having the original comedy night. We want to bring out all these students during midterms or during a hectic school week and have them laugh, but in a more beneficial and less problematic way than laughing at other people.
Q: How does this event represent the feminist?
A lot of our events tend to be really informative and sometimes they end up being, not that entertaining like as in happy, so we really try to lighten up our audiences. For Feminist Comedy Night, we just want people to laugh and have a good time without it being too problematic. All of our performers are female performers, so that is one way we’re supporting female artists out there. I feel like in the past two years, they were all LA-based and not a lot of female comedians on campus existed. So, this year we actually got in contact with one of them and she went onstage for five to ten minutes. By doing this, we are trying to support, at least some people who are local and female comedians. You can make someone laugh without making racist or sex jokes.
Q: How do you think this event represents someone as an individual, feminist or non- feminist?
I think it represents them, even if they don’t if identify as a feminist. You’re doing a feminist act by going out and supporting your local women’s resource center. You’re also supporting female artists who are in the comedy industry, and you’re contributing to that less problematic humor: racist, sexist, homophobic jokes that most comedians do tell.