Sarah Silverman made a video where she points out the wage gap between men and women, in the clip, she decides to get a penis and become “a dude,” this has enraged the transgender community. They feel that Sarah has treated the plight of a “vulnerable” community lightly and The Jim Collins Foundation has called for The National Women’s Law Center to remove the “offending” video.
Certainly the 43 year old comedienne, actress and writer is not to everyone’s liking. Her material can be bit…close to the bone, and some would say in poor taste, but the comic is an acquired taste. Comedy preferences aside, Sarah Silverman is an advocate for equal rights and has always been an outspoken proponent for a number of causes.
The performer’s YouTube channel is full of uploads that carry some sort of message. Whether it is Jesus chatting to Sarah Silverman about people using his name to be abusive to people or part of her Voices of Learning episodes, the entertainer uses humor to get many a point across, not just the most recent cause she has taken time to support.
In reality, her video about a vagina tax and her decision to replace hers with a penis is not a new joke by any means. What is new, is Sarah Silverman’s take on the gag. While Sarah may have enraged the transgender community and all their supporters, the humor is still there, right down to the moment she finds the penis that she feels is perfect only to be told it is sold out. She is then told she can have the display model if she wishes.
Unfortunately, in this politically correct world, the very fact that she addressed, inadvertently, a transgender issue of “gender confirmation surgery” has caused an uproar on the Internet. Sarah Silverman enraged the transgender community by supporting another cause entirely and sinned by making a joke about swapping one git of genitalia for another. Twitter, that instantaneous barometer of social stigma or popularity, was filled with tweets demanding that the entertainer get her facts straight.
This completely ignores the fact that the comedic video was not an “FYI” for transgender issues but one about inequality in the workplace for women who are paid less than their male peers. Are there issues with transgenders in the workplace? According to @janetmock and @OutandEqual there are. Mock claims that “sex reassignment” does not help one advance in the workplace, again never mind that the video was about equal pay and not about advancement, and Out & Equal says that 32 states will fire employees for being “trans*.”
Sarah Silverman did actually address the fury that her video caused explaining that she was not transphobic, merely “transignorant.” This form of mea culpa was not accepted as apparently, just as in a court of law, “ignorance is no excuse.” Perhaps the LGBT community and the trans population it supports would have been happier if Sarah had a public display of self flagellation and removed a pound of flesh to make amends.
The world is an ever expanding place with more and more “groups” who have banded together for support and to help one another to keep from being bullied by an uncaring populace. While this is all fine and good, not to mention natural human behaviour just look up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it should not be done with the idea of castigating someone when they inadvertently tread on one group’s toes while trying to support another group.
As Sarah Silverman points out in her conversation with Jesus, being “right” does not give anyone license to be horrid to someone else. In this case, the transgender community, who do have more than their fair share of grievances, should remember that Silverman did not set out to purposefully enrage them with her humorous video for equal pay. They should also, accept the apology in the spirit that it was given. Put your cat o’nine tails away for the moment give Sarah Silverman a break, she was attempting to do something good, how many others can say the same?
Opinion By Michael Smith