Dear Amy Schumer: Obsessing Over Body Functions Is Rude

Dear Amy Schumer: Obsessing Over Body Functions Is Rude

Amy Schumer’s latest period-related shenanigans at Sunday’s Emmy Awards could make anyone question whether she’s ever had a period before.
Heather Wilhelm
By

Kids can be great conversationalists, but they’re often suckers for jokes involving body functions. If they’re ever feeling rebellious or provocative, most children know they can belt something out about a “butt” or “poopy pants” that will promptly earn a) snickers from their friends and siblings and b) a quasi-dirty look from an adult.

With that said, I don’t know what Amy Schumer’s excuse is. Last time I checked, the comedian—some would put scare quotes around that last word, but I’ll be charitable—is 35 years old. Unfortunately, her latest period-related shenanigans at Sunday’s Emmy Awards could make anyone question whether she’s old enough to drive, and inspire some proud Americans to consider taking a chainsaw to their computers.

Picture this: You spend a weekend away from the Internet, far removed from any hint of web-based insanity. You go kayaking, the water quietly spooling beneath your boat, a friendly catfish following your path. (This really happened! It was like a Disney movie!) You take a walk amidst burbling springs. You gaze at the stars, pondering the wonder of the universe.

On Sunday night, you edge back into Twitterville, cautiously, like old intrepid Teddy Roosevelt tiptoeing into an Amazon stream that is almost certainly infested with piranhas or some terrifying species that has yet to be discovered. You are confident. You have bonded with nature, pondering the meaning of life! A little Twitter can’t be that bad. Behold, this is the first thing you see:

wilhelmtweet

Wheeee! Seriously, though: Is this Amy’s first period? Is that why she’s so excited? Does she not have a bosom friend to share this moment with? She surely was not the only lady at the Emmys wearing a tampon, was she? In short: Who cares?

Apparently Lots of Empty-Headed People Do Care

Alas, many corners of the Internet care. Lo, this was not simply a one-off moronic tweet. On Sunday’s red carpet pre-Emmy Awards show, wide-eyed “E!” host Giuliana Rancic made the mistake of asking Schumer an innocent question many feminists loathe: “Who are you wearing?”

Schumer, clearly pleased she had a chance to use a long-planned line, saucily responded, on camera, that her ensemble included “Vivienne Westwood, Tom Ford shoes, and an O.B. TAAAAMPON!”

Witness the press cascade: “Amy Schumer won the Emmys red carpet with this flawless one-liner.”—USA Today. “Schumer didn’t go home with Emmy. But she became the latest example of the fight against period-shaming.”—New York Daily News. “Amy Schumer smashed period stigma in one mighty blow at last night’s Emmy Awards…The 35-year-old was praised on social media for helping smash taboos around menstruation and for sticking two fingers up to red carpet sexism.”—Huffington Post UK. “We, of course, love Amy’s response…because it only continued to help eliminate stigma around menstruation—on a primetime red carpet, no less!”—TeenVogue.

Here’s the good news: Life for women in America is so good, apparently, that we have to invent various oppressions and stigmas—like “period-shaming”—so “feminism” can frantically sustain its national market share.

Here’s the bad news, at least for feminists of the Amy Schumer variety: Sorry, sisters, but nobody cares about your period. No one is shocked by it, nor is any vague, bearded patriarchal figure staying up late scheming up ways to stigmatize your monthly flow. To most normal, well-adjusted people, in fact, the topic of your crimson wave is red-hot boring, and stops being remotely exciting and mysterious around the time everyone hits age 18.

What’s Really Going On Here

“So,” you might be asking, “if this is all so boring, then why are you writing about it?” Good question! Schumer’s crimson wave is indeed boring, but the reasons that compel her to talk about her tampon on live television—and the reasons various corners of the media hyperventilate when she does—are not.

On the media side, one could argue that modern feminism is largely performance art cooked up by a bevy of bored people, each slightly detached from reality, forever in search of Potemkin “stigmas” and faux “oppressions” to fight in the name of Internet clicks. This is certainly true.

But there’s also something deeper going on here: Modern feminism, in many ways, has forsaken basic manners. This is because manners have to everything to do with other people, and nothing to do with the cult of “me.”

Take this latest ad from H&M, which celebrates all the new unorthodox ways you can be a lady. One way, apparently, involves going to a nice restaurant and gratuitously picking your teeth in front of all your friends. Hooray, smash the patriarchy! If people can’t handle the public picking of partially chewed kale from your teeth, they can’t handle your truth, am I right?

This leads us to a sad yet necessary crossroads. Is there really a repressive cultural stigma against teeth and the innocent chunks of food that occasionally become lodged between them? Or is picking your teeth at the table simply kind of gross, inconsiderate of others, and makes you look like a jerk? On a similar note, is it possible that other people simply don’t care about your tampon, no matter how oppressed it may feel, and don’t want to hear the details about your monthly visit from Aunt Flo?

Common sense provides us with a good answer here. Unfortunately, when it comes to tampon talk, picking teeth, or almost anything else, modern feminism almost never does.

Heather Wilhelm is a columnist for National Review. Her work regularly appears in the Chicago Tribune, and has also been featured in RealClearPolitics, Commentary magazine, the Dallas Morning News, the Washington Examiner, and the Chicago Sun-Times.

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