Elissa Auther & Gillian Silverman talk about what’s new in feminism

Feminism & Co. | Interview #1

We caught up with Feminism & Co. co-curators Elissa Auther and Gillian Silverman to chat about their thoughts on feminism and the upcoming season of Feminism & Co. at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. This is the first of a five interview series.

Feminism & Co. co-curators Gillian Silverman and Elissa Auther.

MCA Denver: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

Gillian Silverman: Absolutely. Meryl Streep recently objected to the term, calling herself a “humanist” instead. Very lame. It’s important to retain the word so as to call attention to the history and reality of gender discrimination.

MCA: What do you see as the most pressing feminist political issue?

Elissa Auther: I view the lack of federally funded paid family leave as a serious barrier to women’s professional advancement and to work-life balance in general, for both women and men.

MCA: Who is your favorite feminist on television?

EA: God, there are so many right now. (I never thought I’d see that happen in my lifetime!) I’m drawn to programs that come at issues of gender and feminism from a very oblique angle. Veep and Broad City are at the top of my list.

MCA: Where do you see feminism going in the next five years?

GS: Jill Fillipovic recently wrote an article where she pointed out that not much has changed for American women on the economic front. Women in their 20s make 97 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. But by age 35, these same women are making 15 percent less. The inequity continues to grow steeper as women grow older. These realities still need to be addressed.

MCA: You get your hands on the syllabus for Women’s Studies 101. What do you add?

EA: I used to teach that class and if I updated my syllabus today, I would take out all the didactic shit and replace it with edgy works without a bright line between “right” and “wrong” feminist politics, like Eileen Myles’s The Inferno, or Kate Zambreno’s Green Girl. I would also include material that bypasses Hollywood modes of distribution like Issa Rae’s,The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl, or the Maria Bamford show, both of which are brilliant web-based productions.

MCA: Tell us a good feminist joke

EA: I only know the classic one that trades on the stereotype of feminists lacking a sense of humor: “How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb? Answer: That’s not funny.”

GS: How about a riddle: “What do you call a lesbian dinosaur? Answer: A lickalotopus”

(Is that printable?)


Feminism & Co. kicks of Thursday March 3, with Activism: Women + Hunger. $5 for members, $10 nonmembers. Tickets & more info here. Men drink free*. (limited to bartenders choice, 1 drink per man)

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