Feminism in South Park

3208 Words Dec 18th, 2013 13 Pages
1. Introduction
South Park has been around for a while now. Since it was aired for the first time on 13th August 1997, the show has constantly pushed the boundaries taking on everything, leaving out nothing. The reception among the wider population and the media had a wide range from “shocking” to “excellent”. One of the aspects of this success story is that, because of its provocative tone the show has managed to stay in the limelight. Public debate was evolving around certain episodes, bringing more and more attention to the show. As it was constantly picking up contemporary themes, topics or events, expectations were growing and “ 'How will South Park deal with x ' has become a common catch phrase” (Johnson-Woods 257). Another
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Words like “bitch”, “whore” “chicks” or “cunt” are seen as generalizing terms for women, used to degrade their status within in the series and thereof for women in real life. This assumption might be conceivable, as most women in the TV-show are far from using comparable phrases to describe men. There are simply less words which would have the same descriptive and generalizing effect as the above-mentioned terms used for women. However, women in South Park are not expelled from using derogatory and vulgar language. Robin Lakoff wrote in his book Language and Woman´s Place that little girls should not use rough language like boys because this would not enhance their status and prestige among men within the patriarchal system. In fact it would expose females to ridicule and ostracising (5). Within this scope South Park makes a feminist stand in “Tom’s Rhinoplasty” (episode 11 of the first season). When Wendy Testaburger is, driven by jealousy to the new class teacher Ms Ellen approaching her after class to have a word with her, she just explodes with furious swearing and threatening.
Wendy: Miss Ellen, can I talk to you
Ms. Ellen: Of course Wendy.
Wendy: I couldn’t help but notice that you taking a liking in my boyfriend Stan
Ms. Ellen: Well I’ve taken a liking in all of you. You’re all so young and cute and full of life.
Wendy: Can I tell you something Miss Ellen.
Ms Ellen: Of course you can Wendy.

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