Fans can always count on Amy Schumer's stand-up specials to deliver a series of hilarious zingers and punchlines that we'll be quoting with our friends for days. But, in Netflix's Amy Schumer: The Leather Special, she turned serious when it came to the topic of gun control. As Schumer states in the special, Mayci Breaux, age 21, and Jillian Johnson, age 33, were shot and killed in 2015 when a gunman opened fire at a screening of Schumer's film Trainwreck. When she received the devastating news, Schumer chose to educate herself about gun control because she hoped to prevent future tragedies and she has a strong message for anyone who thinks she shouldn't speak out about the issue.
As she describes in The Leather Special, Schumer was shocked to learn that the perpetrator, who committed suicide at the scene, had legally purchased a gun despite the fact that he had a history of alleged domestic violence and suffered from a bipolar disorder. She has since joined forces with New York Senator Chuck Schumer to advocate for reasonable gun control laws, and she used her Netflix special to take some jabs at the portion of gun owners who can't be reasoned with. "For some people, as you as you say the word 'gun,' what they hear is 'you want to take all your guns!" she observed.
But, really, Schumer just wants to make it a little harder for alleged domestic abusers and the mentally ill to get their hands on guns. Knowing that she'll inevitably receive backlash for her comments, Schumer responded to her critics before they got a word in edgewise:
Although some people detest the political commentary of all celebrities, Schumer's message extends way beyond how people respond to the Hollywood elite. The 2016 election was a painful display of seemingly endless sexism and, in the early days of the Trump administration, we watched as the colleagues of Senator Elizabeth Warren voted to formally "silence" her when she attempted to read aloud the words of Coretta Scott King during a confirmation hearing.
So it's depressing, but not entirely surprising, that if a woman hasn't devoted every moment of her entire adult life to politics, there are plenty of people who think we should just keep our mouths shut entirely. For example, award-winning journalist Lauren Duca wrote an amazing op-ed piece for Teen Vogue titled "Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America" in December. Although the article garnered a great deal of positive feedback, pundits who disagreed with Duca chose to attack her credibility as a writer in the most ridiculous manner possible.
FOX News pundit Tucker Carlson told Duca that he'd also read her articles about Ariana Grande and thigh-high boots — it was a clear effort to send the message that female journalists can't simultaneously excel at fashion writing and possess knowledge about the political system. In addition to repeatedly interrupting Duca throughout their interview, Carlson's words also seemed designed to discredit the countless feminist journalists who write about a wide array of topics. Duca provided the perfect response:
This point is key — not only are these particular criticisms of women like Schumer and Duca completely unfounded, but they send the damaging message to teens and young women that there's not enough time in our lives to enjoy our favorite hobbies and be politically informed, so we'll have to choose between the two.
Schumer has been completely honest about her path to activism, and it's no surprise that the issue of gun control is a deeply important one to her. It's ludicrous to suggest that, because she's a comedian with a certain brand of humor, Schumer doesn't deserve to voice her opinions about an issue that impacts her as an American citizen. Really, excuses like "thigh high boots" and "sex humor" seem like a desperate attempt to silence women who voice strong political opinions and provide facts to support their views.
We're all welcome to avoid someone's comedy or journalism if we don't like it, and we're certainly all free to disagree on political issues like gun control. But it's unacceptable to send the message that a woman's enjoyment of fashion, celebrity gossip, or sex has any impact whatsoever on her level of political knowledge and dedication.