Sex Gets Real 143: Sarah Pappalardo from Reductress on satire, media, & feminism

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This week, we have our first listener confession from CK all about the first time she ended a relationship. Heads’ up that it contains themes of abuse within BDSM.

Then, Sarah Pappalardo from Reductress is here! If you haven’t seen Reductress yet, get thee over to their satirical site immediately and be wowed.

We talk about media literacy, mainstream feminism, white feminism, and all the ways feminism has been co-opted by commercialize and media. Sarah talks about using satire and comedy to confront a Trump presidency, companies like Dove with their empowerment branding, and when satire goes too far.

There is a ton of laughter and misandry mixed in with the very heartfelt and serious topics we dive into. Plus, what are Sarah’s thoughts on Amy Schumer as a feminist? Sarah’s response is incredible, and something all of us should be more aware of in our “feminist” icons.

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In this episode, Sarah and I talk about:

  • Reductress and their new satirical book “How to Win at Feminism”.
  • Mainstream media being based on advertising, which means it automatically excludes a lot of different kinds of voices and people since media needs to rely on folks with disposable income.
  • Bad sex advice in magazines like Cosmo and how they’re changing (but is it enough?).
  • Emotional labor and how media informs the ways we relate to each other. Reductress dedicates a lot of its content to pointing out the emotional labor women are expected to do in sex and relationships (and at home and in the workplace), and Sarah was surprised by how much of their content would feature that theme.
  • Alt-right and Breitbart using fake news as real news versus The Onion and Reductress using satire as a critique of the mainstream news.
  • The challenge of talking about really complicated issues, like trans issues, on a satire site without confusing people or creating content that could be misread and harmful.
  • Dawn’s favorite headline about feminist men and hugs from Reductress.
  • A really hysterical headline about meeting your boyfriend’s mother and your boyfriend’s cum.
  • What Sarah sees as one of the more corrosive and invisible tricks the media uses that many of us aren’t aware of in our daily consumption of news headlines.
  • Dawn’s frustration over some crappy media twists on scientific studies that fuck us all up.
  • The ways men also suffer from patriarchy and these ideals around penis size and body ideals and toughness.
  • The Reductress homepage take-over around a sexual assault/rape issue in the comedy community that put rape culture front and center a few months ago.
  • The empowerment industrial complex and manifesting in women’s business and how it reinforces the status quo. We talk about Dove’s empowerment advertising claiming to help women while also selling firming lotions.
  • Amy Schumer – what does Sarah think about her and her white feminism. Sarah’s answer is beautiful and I hope we can all learn from it. It actually ties into James Deen and his “feminist” porn, too.

About Sarah Pappalardo

This week on Sex Gets Real, Dawn Serra is joined by Sarah Pappalardo from Reductress to talk satire, news, feminism, and sexuality.Sarah Pappalardo is the co-founder and editor of Reductress, and the author of How to Win at Feminism – The Definitive Guide to Having it All – And Then Some!
You can follow Sarah on Twitter @yourpappalardo.


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  • Dawn
  • January 8, 2017