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Feb 28, 2013
By now, everybody seems to have heard of the misogynist behaviour of Seth MacFarlane, the creator of 3 animated TV shows, each containing a loveable idiot, an attractive wife, a loser son, a daughter who hates him, a comically sized sadist, and a non-human best friend, at the Oscars on Sunday.
According to the Huffington Post:
Two female California state lawmakers have condemned Oscar host Seth MacFarlane’s comments during Sunday’s awards presentation as degrading toward women and asked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to use better judgment in the future.
Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal and Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson…. sent a letter to Academy President Hawk Koch on Tuesday, requesting that the organization disavow MacFarlane’s behavior.
They objected to the comedian’s focus on the physical appearance of several actresses and quips about nude scenes.
“Furthermore, there was a disturbing theme about violence against women being acceptable and funny,” the lawmakers wrote. “From topical jabs about domestic violence to singing about `boobs’ during a film’s rape scene, Seth MacFarlane crossed the line from humor to misogyny.”
Fun fact, I used to be a fan of the show Family Guy, in fact, as a young wild-eyed progressive activist in college, I found a spirit animal (no pun intended) in Brian Griffin, the Prius driving, Michael Moore reading, anthropomorphic dog. However, we trans people, for almost THREE years now, knew of MacFarlane’s misogynistic tendencies, except in that episode “Quagmire’s Dad“, he made fun of transwoman, probably the most marginalized subset of women there are. A few of the most egregious offenses from that episode include:
1) At the beginning of the episode, Quagmire’s father, Dan, who becomes Ida, who is visiting Quahog, the town where the show is set, is portrayed as a stereotypically flamboyant effeminate gay male. When Quagmire asks if his father is gay, he reveals he came to Quahog for gender confirmation surgery. In reality, transition is a long and hard process, I have been out since 2009 and my male genitalia is STILL intact and I still have man-face, even though hormones have helped alleviate such. No surgeon would operate on someone who has not come out yet, and there is no way that someone would go into the hospital presenting as obviously male and come out looking and presenting female.
2) There was a scene where Ida comes over to the Griffin household for dinner and brings a dish, which, unbeknownst to her, gets thrown out, demonstrating a view that we are somehow diseased and that we should be marginalized. I see that incident also as a metaphor for my life as a transgender/LGBQ and progressive activist. I feel like any achievement I might have accomplished is thrown out like that casserole due to the fact that I am a strong-willed transsexual woman.
3) Towards the end of the episode, Brian Griffin, who is absent from the episode as a whole and is unaware of the happenings around Ida, meets her at a bar and then develops a sexual relationship with her. When he finds out that Ida used to be “Dan”, Brian proceeds to vomit for a full forty seconds, as if we are somehow disgusting. He also proceeds to wonder why the neighborhood hasn’t been notified, which plays into fears of transgender women being sex offenders.
The whole problem with this show and Seth MacFarlane’s misogyny, both trans and cis, is that he is NOT your stereotypical image of a misogynist. MacFarlane and Brian Griffin, who is used often as a soapbox for MacFarlane’s Bush-hating, pro-gay, pro-environment view, is a supposedly progressive minded person who appears to be someone who fights for the rights of all, yet harbors deep misogynistic (both cis- and trans-) views. At least with the religious right, you know who the enemy is, MacFarlane’s just an enemy posing as a friend.
And yet, to various degrees, there are a lot of Seth MacFarlanes in my world. They are the people who marginalize me, who pat me on the head and tell me “that’s a good little boy” and then ignores what I have to say. I’ve been ignored and looked at funny at rallies for public education, I’ve been misgendered by people whom I have shared a bus ride with to Harrisburg to fight for a common cause, I’ve even been asked why I am wearing women’s clothing AT AN ANTI-DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RALLY. Sadly, I have to say, these are not my people, and there are so few people that I am in my comfort zone dealing with, that it impedes any good I wish to do.
To all the people who are fans of Seth MacFarlane due to his edginess and his purported progressivism, please remember that if you base your views on social issues on his “comedic output”, you are marginalizing women, both cis and trans, and contributing to physical, emotional, and relational violence against us.
-Jordan Gwendolyn DavisCategories: Gender and Stereotypes, Sexual Violence, Sexuality in the Media, Social Justice and Human Rights, Transgender Issues