Can We Still Enjoy Master of None?

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S1: This is the waves. This is the way, this is the way.

S2: This is the way. This is the way. This is the waves.

S1: Welcome to The Waves, Slate’s podcast about gender, feminism and flawed but lovable heroes. Every episode, you get a new pair of women to talk about the thing we can’t get off our minds. And today you’ve got me, Alegra, Frank

S3: and me, Madeline Ducharme.

S1: And today we’re going to talk about TV. Of all the TV shows we expected to return this year, Netflix’s master of none was pretty low down on the list last month. The comedies third season premiered more than four years after its second. And while season two was critically acclaimed, master of nuns hiatus and then quiet surprise return were met with very different levels of excitement and anticipation. The new season of this rom com, which is now called Master of None Moments in Love, sort of like a mini series, now stands as another example of a disgraced celebrities steps toward a self-made redemption. So, Madeline, let’s talk. What got you interested in this subject this week in the return of master of none?

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S3: I am most interested in this topic. The reason I can’t stop thinking about it is that the two people that are behind this new iteration of the Netflix original Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe, who play very different roles in this iteration than they did on the other version of Master of None. They’ve both had pretty fraught public accusations leveled against them in the past few years. And a lot of our listeners, maybe even myself, maybe even Alegra, might consider one or both of them to be pretty problematic. But at the same time, the show sort of tells us intimate story of a black lesbian couple. And that’s something we rarely see in a big Netflix series like this. So there are just lots of mixed feelings around here, especially for me as a queer person watching the show.

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S1: Mixed feelings is the key phrase here. For those who don’t know, Ansary was publicly accused of sexual misconduct in 2018, and Lena Waithe has been accused of not properly supporting women who have alleged harassment on sets of projects she’s worked on. We’re going to unpack all of that and talk about who we as viewers allow to be, our flawed, selfish, but maybe still lovable heroes. And a show as complicated as master of none has become the first a break. We are back picking up four years after its previous season, season two, Master of None Moments in Love, is a complete reinvention of Aziz Ansari s original show. And now this time, instead of on Sari’s 30 something antics, is an inspiring actor in New York City. This new season details the deterioration of a marriage between Lenawee Faith’s character Janiece, who is one of Aziz Ansari s character’s best friends, and her wife, Alicia, who is played by Naomi Akee.

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S2: Talking to me like wiping off the People’s Court or something, I just came in to get a paper signed, so we really get divorced because we cheat on to it just doesn’t make sense to me. I mean, Jesse Jackson used to keep hope alive himself, still have a whole life and get the fuck out of here to find the fucking. You know what this is? You know what this is? This is marriage.

S1: So while the first two seasons of the show were kind of grounded and frank about a lot of issues in young people’s lives, including religion, aging and especially racism, master of none, still very much a comedy. But now with Waithe as the core protagonist, moments in love sort of shifts away from the humor and instead devotes much of its time on heavy topics, particularly infidelity and miscarriage. So, Madeleine, I know you, as you said, have a lot of mixed thoughts on this season and just a lot to say in general about how it tackles these themes in particular, both in contrast to the original run of master of None, but also just as a contained mini series in itself. So talk to me a little bit about your takeaways from Master of None Moments and Love and especially who we are dealing with at the center here. Lena Waithe.

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S3: So this first part of our conversation will pretty much just be an aesthetic conversation, a cinematic conversation.

S1: Our film critic hats are on baby

S3: right, which is almost impossible to do when the first names that you confront right after an episode are like directed by Aziz Ansari, co-written by Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe. But set that aside for a moment. I was pretty much immediately filled with dread at the announcement that the show was coming back, mostly because I was, you know, just like it’s been a long time. I don’t know where we’re headed, where we’re going here. But after sort of watching the trailer and seeing like, oh, I really like Naomi Acky, she shows up in The Bisexual, which is a really great series from Channel four. And it was like so exciting to see her in it. And this this kind of star turn where she got to play a very serious and just complicated character in a complicated and and intense relationship. And I liked that we were kind of shifting perspective. And so I got a little like cautiously optimistic about the show in general. But at the same time, kind of as soon as you jump into it, you’re sort of thrust into the like just the darkest and saddest moments of a marriage that is still a marriage kind of right before it will no longer be. And I don’t really mind the topic itself, but it’s hard to even start to feel for these characters when you know so little about them. Naomi Acky, for example, is not in seasons one and two of the show at all. And Lena Waites character feels maybe generously, she’s a new iteration of Deniece, maybe ungenerous generously. She feels like an entirely different character, right?

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S1: It absolutely has a strangely and starkly different tone. I think it’s I agree. It’s fair to say that Denise is a bit of a different character here, especially in that I mean, just positionally right. She is now the protagonist. We’ve never seen her in this kind of role except for the episode that she actually, Lena Waithe, won an Emmy for which was called Thanksgiving in season two. And that episode actually won a lot of acclaim because it did give the spotlight to Denise in this really kind of beautiful half hour about a young black woman who is contending with coming out to her family, her quite religious family. Right. And so this is, you know, the aftermath of that. She is clearly an out woman. But the tenderness that we got to see there and the sympathy that she is. Gendered in us, that pretty much has vanished here because, as you said, it is the sort of the breakup story in I want to say in slow motion, because this is a very, very plodding slow. So it’s only like three hours really. It’s like five half hour episodes. First it’s an hour, but things move so slowly that to kind of watch them break apart, it feels almost extra wrenching, except for the fact that, as you said, we don’t really know who these people are were dropped in the middle of things. Right.

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S3: I don’t even think it feels more wrenching to watch. It just mostly just bored like I oh, this is I can only watch them dance and be cute while unloading the laundry for like twenty five seconds. Why was that like two minutes long. I think I understand that that is supposed to maybe bring up some of the, the softness and, and like tender feelings I felt towards Deniece when we were watching that the Thanksgiving episode, which is just so good. But I kind of am just like, who are these people? I don’t know them anymore. So why am I spending so much time, so much time watching them do their cute domestic thing when I don’t even really know how they met? I don’t really know what they like about each other. Right. All sorts of things like that. And I’m curious what you thought of the series as a whole and then also like what episodes, you know, spark something for you.

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S1: Yeah, I mean, I definitely thought that this five episode arc was an interest. I will give it I’ll give it some credit in that it was an interesting experiment in just really dropping us into a crumbling relationship and weird moments of the aftermath. I mean, it is called Moments in Love, which I do think is a bit of a misnomer in that the love is very tried and perhaps broken.

S3: Yeah, it’s like the same thing as marriage story right on.

S1: It’s like it is a story about a marriage, except the marriage is no longer a marriage. They’re trying to get out of it. Yeah, it is very much moments in a disintegrating love. And I think something that I will I will praise here, even though, as you said, it is uncomfortable that, you know, every episode is saddled with directed by Aziz Ansari. And that is really hard to ignore considering the Aziz Ansari of it all is a big negative for master of none these days, which we’ll get into later. But seeing a black queer relationship at the fore is something really unique, and it’s something that master of none is able to present to us without it feeling, you know, force or out of nowhere in the sense that one of the few things we really know about Denise the stage is that she is a black, queer woman. She came out in her very pivotal episode in Season two. And so we’re carrying that forward here with two black women. One is, you know, femme beautiful Brit and the other being, you know, the more gruff Deniece who’s a little a little colder, more self-involved, and something that’s really beautiful and really specific to this kind of storyline is the idea of them trying to have a baby. Right, because they are looking for a sperm donor and they have to go through the process of finding one of going and being inseminated all the nitty gritty biological stuff of, you know, donors. And there’s one beautiful episode that is solely focused on Naomi Atkiss character, Alicia, that follows her as a now single lesbian black woman. And I know you like this episode to battle. And this was definitely the strongest episode of the five.

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S3: Yeah, I think that there’s something like very, very striking about that scene where her fertility doctor tells her, like, we need to prove to the insurance company that you are infertile and that you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a year. And she’s like, well, what does that how does that work for me? I haven’t been trying, quote unquote, for a year. And the doctor so Frank, she says, like, there’s no code for gay and desires pregnancy and like that single interaction. And that scene made me feel more than any sort of interaction between Lena Waites character and Naomi Acky, which is sort of the central relationship that we’re supposed to care about. I will say to that there’s a really, really remarkable depiction of her character, Naomi Mackie’s character, Alicia, developing this like friendship and this dislike very, very intimate relationship she has with her nurse who works with her on these multiple, like, kind of exhausting fertility treatments. What did you think of? That I honestly felt like that’s a queerer relationship than the marriage at the center of this,

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S1: that was honestly that was when I felt the love, this relationship that Alicia builds with her IVF nurse, who is such a wonderful character, who calls her on the phone. I agree. That is that is the truly heart breaking and then heartwarming relationship of the series. Both Alicia finding a comforting, stable presence in this nurse and then also eventually getting the baby of her dreams when the the process finally takes. So even though there is some feeling of letdown in the relationship of these two black women being presented because it’s like already fraught from the get go, at least we are seeing this really interesting and under under portrayed aspect of being a black lesbian, being a black woman specifically in this this country, you know, the difficulties of trying to actually get a baby when you don’t have a man around to do it for your for free.

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S3: Every scene between Alicia, played by Naomi, Jackie and Cordelia Blair, who plays a nurse that actually shares her first name, which makes all this so much more special. Every time I saw that, I just I felt such care and such intimate tenderness and I was like, that is the moment in love, basically nothing else compared to those those moments in love, which also made the ending sort of unsatisfying.

S1: We are going to take a break here. But if you like what you’re hearing and want to hear more from Madeline and myself on another topic, check out our Slate plus segment, Gateway Feminism, where today Madeleine and I talk about one thing that helped make us feminists. I’ll be talking about the Powerpuff Girls. Now we’re going to shift focus from the screen of master of None to the world of its creators, off screen Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe. So for those unfamiliar with the way that these two have stirred up kind of a lot of controversy in the past few years, we’re going to break it down for you real quick. So, Madeleine, tell us what happened with Aziz Ansari.

S3: So in early twenty eighteen at one of the most charged moments of the Metoo movement, a pretty messily reported article was published on this weird semi feminist website called Baby that no one had really heard of it before. And that report detailed this really unpleasant encounter between a 22 year old woman and Aziz Ansari. In it, she kind of alleges that he was forceful, callous, misread all of her body language, kind of continued to pursue certain sex acts even after she indicated verbally and also nonverbally that she wasn’t into it. And because those allegations sort of paled in comparison to Weinstein and Lour, Ansari got himself a lot of public defenders. But he also retreated from public life after saying that, you know, he was taking her words to heart and that he had thought the encounter was entirely consensual. He came back two years later with a Netflix comedy special, and it opened with a recounting of this whole saga. He says that he felt terrible, that she felt that way, but he stopped short of apologizing.

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S4: I always think about a conversation I had with my friends where he was like, you know what, man? That old thing made me think about every day I’ve ever been. And I thought, wow, well, that’s pretty incredible. This made not just me, but other people be more thoughtful. And that’s a good thing. And that’s how I feel about it. And I know this is the most hilarious way to begin a comedy show. What is important to me that you know how I feel about that whole thing before we share this night together.

S1: So that’s the Aziz story. Meanwhile, with Lina, so she’s garnered infamy less because of her personal life in the same way that Aziz has and more because of her work itself. So ever since Master of None, Season two, she’s found a lot of success with other shows. She created the QAI, which is a Showtime drama that draws inspiration from her life growing up in the south side of Chicago. She executive produced the Amazon series them and she also had her feature film script debut, which was Queen and Slim. And all three films are united in that they feature sort of needlessly cruel black violence on screen or in some cases off. But Lena Waithe herself has received backlash and criticism, particularly from black critics and audiences, for the way that her work outside of Master of None has featured its black heroes being martyrs for the cause of either Black Lives Matter or just for the purpose of provocation for entertainment. It’s become sort of a weird calling card for Lena Waithe with some people online thinking that, you know, Oh, Ilina weight’s involved, then it’s going to involve beautiful black people being attacked or killed, which is not the best reputation for someone to develop and especially based stuff, you know, how they started, which was as a sympathetic comic character on a Netflix show and as the creator of the shiz. She also experienced some offset drama when the lead actor of the show is accused of misconduct involving both his co-star and then later on, a female show runner. And Lena Waithe reportedly didn’t handle those situations very well and kind of shirked responsibility, which isn’t great, especially when it’s someone who purports herself to be an ally for black audiences and especially black queer audiences. So both of these people obviously pretty different situations. But when Aziz and Lena are uniting again to star and create a show after this, all of this happens and all of this is reported, you can’t blame people for kind of balking at it, right?

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S3: Yeah, I I’m kind of shocked because it’s just not even it hasn’t even been that long. These people have sort of been semi present and some of the discourses we’ve been having for the last couple of years about all sorts of things, onsets on camera. We’ve been talking about this for a bit. And so it feels a little audacious to. Come back with something that’s supposed to be so intimate and so different than what they were doing before.

S1: Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s like going back to the idea of these being these flawed, yet lovable heroes, like the idea that we’re being asked to find anything lovable in Aziz Ansari or Lena Waites. Characters on screen right now is really difficult, I think, for a lot of viewers who are in the know. I mean, even just Lena Waits, allegations and backlash are a little more niche. And Aziz on saris were quite well publicized. So even just his connection alone could make it a little bit hard to get yourself invested. But at the same time, like, obviously, Netflix has welcomed them back. So it kind of brings up the question of like who has their careers dramatically altered by accusations and who doesn’t. Right. Because we have people like Aziz and in this case, Lena. Right. Who are sort of welcomed back by a huge media company, despite being sort of condemned in the public imagination and seen as no longer welcome.

S3: I think one of the things that I keep coming back to, too, is that I don’t actually really want Aziz Ansari to go away forever. I don’t think that is a solution to right the wrongs that he’s accused of. I just think that it wouldn’t have been too hard to publicly reckon with the fact that he, you know, had hurt someone and that even if he wasn’t really consciously doing it, it still happened. And I think one of the ugliest things that actually came out of the Aziz Ansari moment, baby, that moment was the number of people who sort of mentioned like, well, if this is inappropriate and this is wrong, then every date I’ve ever been on with a woman has been wrong. And I’m like, oh, my God, what are you admitting to? And I think if you’re the guy who writes a book about the nuances of dating, which he literally did, the nuances of love and dating, the least you can do is say clearly, I thought I better understood myself in some of these situations than I actually do. And I’m going to spend some time looking inward. And I also would like to apologize for my behavior. I don’t know. It’s just it’s really hard to sit with this romantic, complicated story about two black lesbians and know that he’s sort of omnipresent in in the show. And absolutely. Why is he telling this story to write?

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S1: Like, in some sense? I am grateful that someone is telling the story. But the fact that it’s this guy and I mean, I do agree like he is this normal and they make fun of him for this in the show to he’s not like particularly attractive. And in the show, his character is like not amazingly successful. Right. So there’s like he’s not the typical beautiful romantic lead in any sense. And it’s especially interesting to see that when he’s a South Asian American who gets to be the romantic lead. But then with Lena Waithe, when we take her involvement, like, yes, it’s great to have black queer female representation, but she also is not without her problems like this is something that a lot of people take issue with, is that we want to have a black lesbian at the fore with creative control. But do we want this one like she like is she obviously comes from a marginalized community. She’s one of the few black lesbians who is working in the comedy, like the critically acclaimed comedy field and starring in a show like this. It’s a rare thing. So like we want people like that and we like Naomi Acky. So at least we have her. But Lena, Waithe, it’s frustrating that she is the representative we have to deal with. So her career clearly has not been too dramatically altered despite losing a lot of the good, the goodwill she originally had built up. Right. And Aziz Ansari clearly is still you know, he still gets the Netflix show and he even gets to appear in it a little bit. So I do agree. You know, we don’t want to we don’t want to totally lose people like Aziz. But what about people that aren’t welcome back into Hollywood? Because someone like Lena, you know, I’m a little I’m thankful, but also a little surprised she hasn’t been blacklisted. It’s already so hard for a marginalized person to gain ground. So I’m thinking about other people whose careers have sort of been ruined in Hollywood. What do you think?

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S3: Yeah, I mean, I followed some of the new. Developments around the 2016 movie Birth of a Nation, which was directed by and starring Nate Parker, and that was such a buzzy film that got pretty much immediately derailed by a past accusation of rape against Nate Parker. And I feel like we didn’t hear from him for years after all right, for him to return sort of quietly in this last year. But again, even that film wasn’t particularly buzzy. And I feel like he’s not back in the good graces of a lot of people. And I know a lot of people found that distressing and upsetting at the time for all sorts of different reasons. And I think that, like, sometimes we. I don’t know, maybe this is the the result of like a deeply democratized, like social media arena in which all of these things can be shared and discussed and passed around communities and passed around audiences who these cultural products are made for. And when you’re interested in writing about culture and you’re a critic, you’re steeped in that stuff that executives and producers are probably just not steeped in. And I just wonder what our. Twitter, you know, begging and our conversations on social media can even do about some of these things and yeah, I don’t know what what is our next step with talking about and engaging with content from somebody like Lena Waithe or somebody like Aziz Ansari?

S1: Yeah, because ultimately I’m like literally going to quote Hamilton. I always think of follow the money and see where it goes. Like it’s literally just all about the money. But like, these are still people who are they do have some semblance of power in this industry, despite being, in Lindsay’s case, people of color, a woman, a queer person. And that is something to respect. But at the same time, they owe it to us as audiences to do better, especially after these faults have been publicized. And yet we are sort of rewarding them now. They have been able to maintain the power they have as creators in this industry. We’re rewarding them with another season of their show, despite them not really showing up and taking full responsibility for what they did. What Aziz said, you know, the non apology apology that he gave from earlier was not great. Like, it doesn’t show that he is actually, if not learned, then reckoned with why people were so mad at him and why people are so uncomfortable with him. So the other thing, though, as we both said, is like we like the first season of Master None, the first two seasons. Right. And there is stuff to like here. We like Naomi Acky a lot and that one episode. So we are getting some benefit here. But at the same time, do we want these creators to be allowed to continue to offer us this kind of entertainment, or should we instead, you know, sideline them in favor of people who don’t have messy backstories?

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S3: Right. And I think probably the biggest issue here is maybe this sounds so rude. Maybe it’s less like the quality of whatever Aziz and Lina make and just the fact that the quantity of stuff made by people like them, queer people, people of color is so small that we have to pull out our collar and sweat a little while we talk about it for fear that coming after them and and saying how much we dislike a show or saying how much we dislike them might threaten the opportunity of other people like them in the future. Like I wish there was a world in which something could just be bad and it doesn’t have to be bad on behalf of all black lesbians or bad on behalf of South Asian romantic leads. Someone or some or some show could just, you know, exist as a sort of less than satisfying cultural product. And we don’t have to have some sort of reckoning about like. But that means no one will ever let another person do that thing. Yeah, it bums me out and it bums me out that they kind of feel like they’re the only ones getting to do something as big as this. And we have all these fraught feelings about the people who do this kind of feels like Netflix is like shut up and eat your food. Be happy we even let this happen.

S1: Right. But it’s like, can our food be good, please? Can we have good food that doesn’t make me feel sick afterward?

S3: And can it come from people who made it that are like kind to their colleagues? Yes. Conscious of their power,

S1: ethically sourced food farm to table, please

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S3: feel free. Range of only

S1: free range only. Right. Yeah, we have no it’s hard to have a real answer to these questions of how do we handle craters like this, because there isn’t a real answer and it’s still so fresh, this whole post metoo movement that we’re still figuring out what to do moving forward. Right. With creators and those in power. So, Malon, thank you for racking your brain with me on how to handle llena and Azeez and master of none in this weird, weird time.

S3: And thank you for making all of watching some of those slow, slow scenes totally worth it.

S1: Wow. You’re welcome. OK, before we head out, let’s introduce some levity here, going to make that hard pivot from difficult content to content we like. So we were talking about bad food. That’s gross. What’s some good content? Food that’s great that you are loving right now? It is a wreck.

S3: So I am totally loving Kristen Arnett’s new book. It’s called With Teeth. It’s a novel. It’s a very Floridian novel, which is not something that I would usually reach for on the shelf, but it is also lesbian. And I subscribe to a school of thought from my colleague Christina Carucci, which is that all queer content gets graded on a very generous curve. But you don’t even need that curve for this book. It’s really, really excellent. And if you’re kind of loving a complicated and fraught lesbian couple after watching Moments in love, but you want a little more action, this book is great. It’s about two women. They are trying to raise a son together. Well, you know, living in this Florida heat of Tampa and the the heat and tension of their resentment of one another, it’s very excellent. I’m a huge fan of Kristen Arnet. Her first book, Mostly Dead Things, was a big success. And I feel like with teeth we’ll have a similar following. It just came out on June 1st. And you should also follow her Twitter. I got to recommend that, too, because she’s hilarious.

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S1: Awesome. You know, I’m also not someone who generally subscribes to the Floridian genre of novel, but I’m curious now. Yeah, OK, cool. So that book is out now.

S3: It is out now. And so what are you leaving us with, Alegra. Like, what delicious thing should I be consuming after I finish recording with you.

S1: OK, I’m going to recommend an actual food. So this is something you can actually consume. Head out to the grocery store after this is all I am a big fan of limited edition s’mores flavored Oreos. I am a huge Oreo connoisseur. I have been eating Oreos my whole life and every time they put out a new flavor of Oreo, I am I follow Instagram accounts that tell me when they’re going to come out and where you can buy them. So I am ready to go. I have been and anticipating these s’mores Oreos Madelin literally since January and they just came out in May. This is actually the second time that they’ve had them available. The first time was several years ago. So this is very exciting for people like me. They have like a graham cracker flavored cookie and, you know, the usual vanilla cream and some chocolate cream in there. The vanilla cream is actually supposed to be marshmallow flavored, right. Honestly, your mileage may vary on this. Tastes anything like this more? Sure. And it’s not as good as a real smart, but it is a very good Oreo. And I definitely ate most of a whole package yesterday.

S3: That sounds like an amazing way to have spent your holiday weekend.

S1: It was amazing. I felt very ill afterwards. I did not feel good. So don’t do that. Go buy a pack and eat one Oreo and taste it and you will want to eat the rest of the package. But don’t

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S3: do that. And maybe you’ll even eat them while you read this. This novel recommendation.

S1: I gave you one hand holding the book. Other hand, hold Oreo. If you got milk, milk, it’s there, you dippin.

S3: It’s perfect for the summer

S1: perfect summer situation. That’s our show this week. The Waves is produced by Shayna Roth.

S3: Susan Matthews is our editorial director with June Thomas providing oversight and moral support. And we have additional production help from Rosemarie Bellson.

S1: If you like the show, be sure to subscribe rate and review wherever you get your podcasts. If you’re happy about the return of the waves like we are, please consider supporting the show by joining Slate. Plus membership benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast and bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn. It’s only one dollar for the first month. To learn more, go to Slate, Dotcom, the waves plus and be sure to email us at the waves at Slate dot com

S3: and the waves will be back next week. Different hosts, different topic, same time and place.

S1: Hey, Slate plus listeners, we’ve got our segment, Gateway Feminism for you now, so Madeleine, I’m going to pose the question to you. What was your gateway into feminism? Big question. I honestly, I had trouble coming up with an answer, but that’s why you have to answer first.

S3: OK, I couldn’t come up with an answer that wasn’t horribly embarrassing. So here I am. And I will say that my gateway was Tumblr in the early 2010s when I was in high school, sort of like moving out of middle school into high school. My older sister introduced me to Tumblr and I was sort of dumbfounded by the fact that every single thing on Earth could have a blog and that I could curate my own blog out of all of those collected blogs. And it started with just fan stuff like I think I was. You know, reposting stuff about Parramore and like Pretty Little Liars, but once you dip your toe into those into those areas, you end up. Also dipping your toe into like extremely 2011 feminism probably personified most wretchedly by none other than your fave is problematic. Tumblr, dotcom?

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S1: Oh, yeah, definitely. Tumblr was so ridden with, like, you know, fire insert anything here. Yeah. Feminism feminist doctor who quotes, like, makes every iteration of that right.

S3: And if you’re like me and you’re discovering your queerness via Tumblr and, you know, spending time reblogging pictures of like random other teenage girls kissing each other, inevitably you’ll end up on the page. That is like telling you about the wage gap. And I specifically remember a Tumblr graphic that opened my eyes to like the racial wage gap in addition to the gender wage gap. And I even had like a a moment like Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate About You, where I kind of schooled my teacher or attempted to about the wage gap because he was talking to us about the gender wage gap. Pretty progressive guy, but he didn’t know about the race wage gap. And so I didn’t I didn’t cite Tumblr verbally in that moment, but that’s where it came from. So what was yours? Tell me about your gateway feminism.

S1: Well, first, I’m going to just say makes perfect sense. You were a Tumblr teen. I’m a hardcore, hardcore variety. Be same. I think your answer is a lot more fun than my answer. Honestly, I said the Powerpuff Girls, which maybe is me giving a little too much credit to them because truly, when I was four and watching the vibe of girls, did I really understand that what it was showing me was necessarily feminism? I don’t know. But it was very influential for me in terms of, you know, here are three brightly colored little girls who are literally made of sugar spice and everything nice. And they are kicking butt and taking names and refusing to let the men school them. And there’s one actual episode where they are partnering with a female. She presents herself as an anti-hero, but she turns out, of course, to be the villain. And her name is something like Femme Fatale. And her whole shtick is literally to like, you know, reprimand the patriarchy with her fists and weep.

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S3: But she’s the

S1: villain. Yeah. She ends up being the villain. So it’s a little complicated. OK, battle it at the end. She ends up being a bad guy, but she does impart some important lessons that the Powerpuff Girls do take to heart, which is that as young women, they are entitled to all of the same respect that the men get because they are often disrespected by men. And frankly, almost every villain in the show is a man really which not to reduce it to a binary, but hey, it’s a kids cartoon. And ultimately, as a young girl who was always very much like, you know, more of a quote unquote tomboy and. Right. Liked the idea of action, cartoons and whatnot, it was great to see one that actually did star women or at least little girls who felt empowered and weren’t just in the background as love interests. So I think that was if we’re going to say Gateway, that was literally the most basic entry to the gateway for me as a a future hardcore feminist. Right.

S3: I feel like you were on that that girl. Sorry, girl power to critical feminisms pipeline. Yes.

S1: Yes. Thank you for not saying girl boss. The power minerals are not girl bosses.

S3: No, I don’t even mean to. That was actually an accident and not like oh let me adjust.

S1: It was more like I know it just comes out

S3: that comes out. I girls girl bosses are stronger than girl power. Now it seems

S1: they’re extremely powerful.

S3: A loss for feminism all over the world.

S1: All right. That is it for this Slate plus segment. Thank you for being a member of Slate. Plus, we’d like to know what is your gateway, feminism, memory? What what got you into feminism like Madeleine and me? If you want to share with us your gateway into feminism, send us an email at the waves at Slate dot com. That is the waves at Slate Dotcom.