That’s Absurd! Humor And Feminist Tactics In Social Media
Date and time:
14:30 to 15:00 on 09/03/2020
Humor is possibly not the first tactic to be associated with feminist activism, online or off, given the persistent figure of the “feminist killjoy”—the one who disrupts other people’s sense of happiness and refuses to laugh when expected to do so—within the cultural imaginary. Scholarly investigations into online feminist resistance and activism have largely focused on the affective dynamics of anger, rage, and frustration, as exemplified by the high visibility of the #MeToo movement. And there is, of course, little to laugh about in the ubiquity of online hate, sexism, and misogyny.
Meanwhile, humor plays a key role in how and where attention clusters on social media as it provides platforms for activist mobilization and critique. Zooming in on feminist social media tactics, this talk makes an argument for absurd humor as a means of not merely turning things around, or inside out, but for disrupting and eschewing the logic on offer. By turning things preposterous, ludicrous, and inappropriate, absurd laughter ends up somewhere different. Hence it makes for a good place to start.
University of Turku
Susanna Paasonen is Professor of Media Studies at University of Turku, Finland. With an interest in studies of sexuality, networked media and affect, she is the PI of the Academy of Finland research project, Sexuality and Play in Media Culture (2017–2021) and the Strategic Research Council consortium, Intimacy in Data-Driven Culture (2019–2022). Her book-length projects include Who’s Laughing Now? Feminist Tactics in Social Media (with Jenny Sundén, MITP forthcoming), NSFW: Sex, Humor and Risk in Social Media (with Kylie Jarrett and Ben Light. MITP 2019, Many Splendored Things: Thinking Sex and Play (Goldsmiths Press 2018), Networked Affect (MITP 2015, co-edited with Ken Hillis and Michael Petit), and Carnal Resonance: Affect and Online Pornography (MITP 2011).
Adriana Amaral is a Professor and Researcher at the Postgraduate Program of Communication Sciences at UNISINOS. She has a PhD in Social Communication at PUCRS and her research is mainly on digital fandoms. She is a CNPq Fellow (Federal Agency of Science and Technology). She is head of the research group CULTPOP (Popular Culture, Digital Media and Technologies). Adriana is also part of RISE-SMA Research Network and has been a visiting scholar at Universität Duisburg- Essen (Germany) and University of Surrey and University of Salford (UK).
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