– by Shelly McTannen, student.
[Note: You must first read yesterday’s entry, I Fired My Publicist, and Here’s Why to follow this critique by our guest author.]
While Munch most often spotlights a man as the protagonist of his cheesy ‘humor’ essays, he recently found an opportunity to use a fictitious woman at the center of yesterday’s attempt at comedy, entitled, “I Fired My Publicist, and Here’s Why.” Today, I will apply a feminist critique to the piece and demonstrate how the author himself lacks the intelligence and self-awareness to create a satirical piece that would boldly push the bias of most Americans to the forefront of their consciousness. We will see that instead of satirizing the stereotypes, he merely exemplifies them.
From word one, Munch crafts a portrait of a woman who supposes to “tolerate” the rest of the world. The narrator is elevated above things like drinking anything but sparkling water and being anywhere that is not perfect or operating at full efficiency. Early on, the reader can detect Munch’s obvious and immature worldview where a successful woman who has high expectations, strong convictions about her likes and dislikes, and the confidence to express these things openly is a ‘bitch.’ Of course, he does not use allow the female author to describe herself as a bitch, as that would be overt. But he does attempt to tap into the stereotypes ingrained in the minds of most readers that any woman with a hard stance on an issue, whether it is about her job, the people who work for her, or her perception of any other woman not living up to her expectations, supposedly can only see how the rest of the world wrongs her and nothing further. This is the classic ‘strong bitch’ formula trying to pass as a standard in entertainment by the men who perpetuate it.
Remember, the argument of the narrator being empowered by her strong convictions could not hold up in this entry, as the point of it supposedly is satire and exaggeration. However, in his blind attempt to the push stereotypes to the edge, the author merely reinforces those stereotypes for himself and his readers. By removing any possibility of humanity from the one-note protagonist, Munch succeeds in mocking a female who possesses power and influence, because every Alpha woman in his world also has a false sense of self-awareness (e.g. she is in charge, but she does not really know she is a man’s version of a bitch).
The author also manages to indict the female gender in more than one way. While using the narrator as the ‘bitch’ of the story, Munch delivers the one-two punch by describing the only other female character, Shana, as at once a subservient, victimized, over-sensitive woman who does not readily acknowledge or understand the value system of her employer. Shana is the narrator’s publicist and the subject of her story, and she is portrayed as having a separate identity outside of her job, which brings the ire of the protagonist. The unnamed narrator believes she is the most important subject in her own universe, and so should it be for her employee, Shana.
Munch also goes to great lengths to portray a woman who is the victim of a crime and who has deep love for a man as incredibly weak. Shana cannot function if her husband is in a life-or-death surgery. She cannot function if she is attacked in the middle of the night. Once Shana confronts both of those realities with her employer, our trusty bitch narrator, Shana breaks down and is immediately categorized as a fragile, “blubbering… mess.” Munch’s apparent contempt for the female gender shines through as he pushes further the dichotomy of a successful and confident woman employing a weak woman with supposedly misplaced values.
Shana is counter to the narrator, and while they exist on the opposite ends of Munch’s sexist world, they need one another. The alpha bitch with all the power is too stupid to understand the mission statement of the charity she joined, and only her “crybaby” publicist is capable of keeping her on track. Whether the narrator chooses to be ignorant or if her ignorance is a result of her reliance on others is not clear, but that is not the point. Woman plus power equals bitch equals ignorant. Her publicist is the opposite: Woman plus love plus victimized equals dependent equals weak. But neither equation is favorable.
The author’s worldview is limited by his underexposure to adult women and his overexposure to immature males who would applaud his type of so-called humor. He lacks the intelligence to understand the point of view of any realistic woman with power and emotion, so he crafts this cartoon where those traits are, without irony, pushed to the extreme. If the author does not allow himself to become more open-minded and cognizant of the world around him, his writings will never be thoughtful musings about the state of things, but instead will always be poor attempts at humor featuring childish jokes about bitches, various forms of physical abuse, and women with big cans.