It is no secret that the subject of birth control is surrounded by a worldwide stigma. The good news is much progress has been made in the way of reproductive justice and the standardization and availability of safe, effective contraceptive use. In particular, women in comedy are bringing reproductive health to the forefront in a light, informative way with witty and relevant jokes.
As co-creator and former head writer of The Daily Show and co-founder of Air America Radio, Lizz Winstead brings a humorous, analytical slant to reproductive news. She is known as one of America’s top political satirists, celebrated for her progressive ideas and commitment to creating public conversation around women’s health. Her ongoing national comedy tour to benefit Planned Parenthood and NARAL has raised over $2 million and was made into an award-winning documentary film called Smear Campaign.
In 2012, Winstead and two others founded a comical, cultural, digital media messaging hub called Lady Parts Justice. The goal of the site is to use humor to raise awareness about the critical condition of reproductive access and influence action to reclaim human rights. Comics and writers who contribute to the site mock, satirize, and boo anti-woman legislation through everything from parodies like a puppet uterus delivering the “2016 State of the Uterus” address to close reads on news like state-by-state videos addressing legislation across the nation.
Stand-up comedian, writer, actress, and producer Amy Schumer has stolen the limelight with her hilarious feministic sketches more than once. Starring in her sketch comedy Inside Amy Schumer since 2013, Schumer has dissected Hollywood gender inequality issues, female interactions, rape culture, and much more. She is recognized for pushing everything a step further than her predecessors. Her mannerisms are more political, self-deprecating, and unapologetically sexual in ways which young women today respond to and need. Not only that, but her “sneaky feminism” approach to women’s issues makes them something even males want to tune in for.
After so accurately portraying how difficult it is for women to get birth control in the U.S., Schumer’s “Ask if Birth Control is Right for You” sketch went viral last year. The birth control ad spoof is just one of Schumer’s many relatable and insightful acts that address underlying reproductive health issues. Her outspoken, authentic attitude and undeniable talent shines through in her movies, episodes, and stand-up performances, giving both men and women a voice to stand up for their reproductive rights.
Margaret Cho is a Korean-American comedian, actress, author, and activist who identifies as a bisexual woman of color. To power her comedic voice, she hits racism, homophobia, and stereotypes head on. Because her childhood community was deeply impacted by an AIDS crisis, Cho first began performing as a teen for AIDS benefits. Today, she remains incredibly active in reproductive rights campaigns.
From personal experience, Cho claims, “women get the short end of it.” In her opinion, feminism is necessary, and she has made it her goal to debunk the fear of feminism and inspire strength and happiness in young women. Cho has toured the country to national acclaim with shows such as Notorious C.H.O., Revolution, Beautiful, Cho Dependent, and Mother. Among her most popular feminist skits is “If Women Ran Hollywood.”
Comedy has served as a great channel to get people talking about birth control and reproductive justice – even though these topics can be a bit touchy. Efforts made by people like Winstead, Schumer, and Cho have made great impacts by lessening the taboo that surrounds such subjects. By presenting relatable circumstances and sharing personal stories, women in comedy boost the confidence of the public and offer a comfortable sanctuary to address important issues.