We all know that guy. The guy who loudly proclaims to be a feminist while mumbling something sexist under his breath. The one who drops feminist rhetoric with the real goal of dropping panties — not the patriarchy. And now that guy has an effing hilarious fictional persona: The Feminist Bro Twitter account, aka @Feminist_Bro, which comes to us thanks to comedian Emily Winter. If you aren't already following, then you're doing yourself a disservice, my friend. Go forth and follow, because it's high time these hypocrites get the attention they really deserve.
Winter tells Buste via email that the account was born from a character she'd created for a sketch show: "Dudes Being Dudes Being Dudes is a really fun live show started by New York comedian Lauren Maul, in which female and gay performers create an alter ego and do a set as a straight man. When Lauren booked me on the show, I decided I wanted to try my set as a man who’s more layered than a pure misogynist. I wanted him to be closer to the men who I encounter more often, and find frustrating: the ones who identify as feminist, but defend the parts of culture that oppress women. Wow, I just made it sound very boring. TL;DR: The juxtaposition of feminism and bro culture felt ripe for comedy and very, very real."
And if we're being really honest, these tweets are so spot-on it hurts ... mainly my gut, from laughing so hard at lines like this:
Oh, and definitely this:
While Feminist Bro's tweets may not be direct quotes, Winter says she doesn't necessarily have to editorialize too much. "I haven't heard any of the things I tweet verbatim, though I pull language and sentiments from real life — my life, friends' lives, what I read on the internet. In each tweet, I try to take the general idea that feminist bros are hypocrites, and whittle that down to one joke. I definitely wouldn't be surprised to hear someone say these things in all seriousness." Can you see him? I can. To think, they walk among us like regular people.
As for the Feminist Bro tweet she holds nearest and dearest to her hilarious heart, Winter reveals there's a bit of a backstory, explaining: "My favorite tweet probably isn't the funniest, but was personally satisfying. I've always felt icky about John Mayer's song 'Daughters,' but could never put my finger on why. Tweeting as Feminist Bro helped me do that." For your viewing pleasure, that juicy morsel:
Obviously, Winter is shining a light on a particularly insidious kind of sexist behavior which is cloaked in solidarity. And happily, it seems to be resonating with both sexes. "I've gotten minimal bad feedback!" she says. "One guy started harassing me on Twitter, so I blocked him from both my personal account and @Feminist_Bro, and that's been it. I don't think the actual feminist bros have seen the account. Mostly, I've gotten positive feedback from women on the internet and real feminist comedians of both genders."
Winter is also quick to point out that while the account is a "fun, cathartic way" to write jokes and stay sharp as a comedian as well as contribute to the growing social commentary on sexism, she understands that everyone has room for improvement — herself included.
"I'm hard on feminist bros, and that's deserved, but I also think it's hard to give up your privilege. To be a straight, white, male feminist means being willing to sacrifice some of your privilege for what you know is right. So it's not easy. And I don't think it's an excuse, but we're all hypocrites to some extent. I say I care about the environment, but haven't used my compost can once. We can all probably work a little harder at matching our actions to our beliefs — not just feminist bros."
If you're now crushing on Winter as much as I am and will be in Brooklyn on Thursday, May 5, she happens to be throwing a one-night-only rejection-themed variety show at Littlefield, which you should definitely check out and then report back to me about. Winter also runs a monthly show in Brooklyn called BackFat Variety, and she co-produces a weekly Brooklyn show called Side Ponytail. Dear Brooklynites, this is me, being jealous of you.
As for the rest of us, we'll keep following Feminist Bro and watching Winter's website with fingers crossed that she'll soon be coming to a comedy venue near us.