This week, New York Magazine published a long series of essays reflecting on President Obama’s eight years in office. These aren’t necessarily about anything relating to the man himself, or what he did (although many are), but rather a history of the Obama era.
So nestled right in between Obama’s birth certificate— along with a great speech of zingers from Obama himself and a brief recount of the bullshit ransoming by congressional Republicans that led the country to hit the debt ceiling — lay a story from Liz Meriwether, the creator of New Girl, who wrote a poetic description of the movie Bridesmaids.
It’s an almost upsettingly accurate depiction of the movie— specifically, the bridal shop food poisoning scene— focusing more on what we, as an audience discovered in those moments than on the plot itself.
We go tight on Melissa’s face as she spins around. For a split second, we are suspended, waiting to see what she’ll do. She’s going to puke in the sink. It will be funny, and then it will be over. That’s the only thing that makes sense. That is the limit of our imagination. We cut wide again to see the bathroom. Why are we in such a wide shot? If she’s just going to puke in the sink, we don’t need to see her whole body. Melissa knocks the Kleenexes and towels off the bathroom counter. And then … she starts to hike up her dress.
But even beyond the plot or our reactions, Meriwether brings attention to what this movie marked by way of a cultural shift. Bridesmaids didn’t single-handedly change the face of comedy, but it’s a strong landmark in this era of female-driven comedies. And these aren’t just comedies, they’re a medium that now, suddenly, gives permission for female-driven comedies to be raunchy and gross and natural as they please. That can be not at all, or it can be poop-in-a-sink.
And thus, Liz Meriwether gave us a term that needs to stick in our annals: “poop feminism.”
The camera cuts. We are above now. We look down from a safe perch as the release we have been anticipating and dreading begins. It is horribly, earth-shatteringly gross. A woman has just pooped in a sink. The revolution has begun.