Amy Schumer Fought a Unique Kind of Sexism

by Kadeen Griffiths

I feel like this post should come with a blanket warning that it's very, very explicit. I mean, I'm going to continue to censor the words in question, but the entire subject is explicit by nature. That being said, Inside Amy Schumer and Comedy Central reached an agreement about gender equality that will change the face of the network forever — and we didn't even notice. At the very least, I didn't until now. Inside Amy Schumer takes on sexism all the time, whether it's a sketch about the oversexualization of female athletes or another sketch about food shaming. Basically, Schumer is the best friend you've never had, so it really comes as no surprise that thanks to Schumer and her crew Comedy Central doesn't censor the word p***y anymore.

I know what you're thinking. "Um, Kadeen, how is that a victory for gender equality?" As it turns out, Comedy Central's censorship standards were such that there were certain times when it was okay to say d**k uncensored but it was never acceptable to say the word p***y in any context. Do you see the double standard now? It's understandable for a television network to censor the words in the sexual context — the FCC would have a heart attack if they didn't — but for there to be times when one word is all right and not the other was kind of really sexist.

So how did this revolution happen? Were there angry letters, critical tweets, petitions, and parades? Uh, not so much. Well, there was one angry letter, but that was the full extent of the revolution. According to the Amy Schumer crew, it was executive producer Dan Powell who took up this cause during the show's second season. "Halfway through the first season, we started to realize that a lot of the show was addressing women's issues and gender politics," said Powell during a Paley Center panel over the weekend. "I'd written a letter, sort of like write I'd write to my congressman, and I guess it struck a chord." Comedy Central responded to the letter with a conference call that ended with the censorship double standard being lifted.

Maybe it's just me, but every aspect of this situation just blows my mind with how great it is. Inside Amy Schumer is, indeed, a show that covers a love of women's issues and gender politics in the most hilariously raunchy way possible. The fact that Powell recognized that, and that's what led him to turn a critical eye to internal instances of sexism, is really wonderful because it shows what an impact the show is having not just on its fans but also on its staff. And, when he took the steps to fix it, it's really worthy of praise that Comedy Central didn't react defensively or ignore that very real issue when it was brought to their attention.

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So, yes, we can choose to focus on the fact that what was won in this battle was the right to say p***y under certain circumstances. That's certainly true. However, the real victory is in how this issue of sexism was handled both by Powell and by Comedy Central. Too often when you accuse a network of something, whether it's sexism or racism or any other kind of -ism, productive results come secondary to defending against the charge. Some networks might not even bother to respond to such a letter at all. The fact that Comedy Central took action over the course of a single conference call really speaks wonders about them and proves that a show like Inside Amy Schumer is on the right channel.

As for Powell himself, well, he proved that Inside Amy Schumer has the right kind of people working on it. The attention that they give to gender politics isn't just for show because, when it counts, Powell has proven that he is willing to take the active steps to promote equality behind the scenes as well. To be honest, that just makes me love the show even more. The right to say p***y might not seem like something that anyone should have to fight for — or want to fight for — but it is a right and the removal of that right constituted a form of sexism that I'm glad to hear has been so easily resolved.

Image: Wifflegif; Getty Images