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Jon Stewart: His Greatest Feminist Moments

Women can be funny

We commemorate the end of Jon Stewart’s Daily Show era by highlighting his most feminist segments and correspondents

Jon Stewart and Kristen Schaal

So Jon Stewart has finally decided to hang his boots after 16 years at the helm of The Daily Show.

And we couldn’t be sadder. We loved Jon Stewart and his righteous left-of-center indignation, his anger and his bite. We are not afraid of saying that we learnt more about American politics and their world view from him than we did from New York Times and all the other websites we troll combined! To celebrate 16 years of news coverage, laughter and reportage, we thought we would celebrate an aspect of Stewart that perhaps doesn’t get all the attention it deserves- his unabashed feminism.

This is a man who is unafraid of being mocked and put in an uncomfortable position by his whip-smart female correspondents, who is willing to look humbled if the woman across the interview table knows more than him, and who has often called out his country’s hypocrisy  on reproductive and LGBT rights. There were murmurs in 2010 that he didn’t hire enough women writers in his room, but the subsequent years and his may trenchant segments on women’s issues have shown that he is firmly on our side.

Here are five of our favourite feminist moments from his show.

 Kristen Schaal ‘Interviews’ Stewart

“Let’s do a role play of what it was like. I’ll be every manly man boss I’ve ever had and you be a lady seeking employment.”

Kristen Schaal exposes the overwhelmingly macho atmosphere in most boardroom with comic exaggeration, and Jon Stewart gamely plays along. She then turns tables by getting drunk on “absolute power” and acts out every meninist’s worst nightmare. Our favourite part may just be watching Jon Stewart trying to suppress his giggles.

 
Jessica Williams Wages A War Against Catcalling

Well, on behalf of my gender, I am sorry.

Jessica Williams kills it with every single appearance on The Daily Show. But nowhere more so when she speaks on behalf of all women and tells men that we don’t need their “horny clap of approval”. When you catcall, or whistle, (or-if you are from Delhi-make that puckering kissy sound) you are not being appreciative, just supremely creepy and inappropriate. Jon Stewart apologises on behalf of his gender.

Samantha Bee Talks About Women in the Military

“Riii—ght . Sexual harassment ruins men’s careers. There you are at the frontline, looking so cute in your camos and some man comes up and assaults you! Aren’t you going to feel guilty for ruining that guy’s career?”

Every time a man tells you that women just aren’t funny, direct him to Exhibit A: Samantha Bee. She is loud, profane, hilarious and so so angry. Bee has been a correspondent with The Daily Show for 12 years now, and nothing will make us happier than to have her take over the mantle of the Show’s host. In the meantime here she is, skewering those who think women in a combat zone is a bad idea.

Samantha Bee on Male Inequality

“Yes, it’s a constant struggle to find places where men are allowed to be themselves”

Samantha Bee is also the master of underplayed sarcasm, and the best interviewer on Jon Stewart’s team. Watch her trying to ‘sympathise’ with men who are struggling to ‘reclaim their manhood’ in light of increasing advancement of women. Her incredulity and barely disguised irritation make this segment.

Jon Stewart Interviews Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

“Men have already controlled things for so long, that they would never need that extra push”

Note to men. The first step towards becoming a good feminist is to listen. Don’t interrupt. Don’t explain. Don’t look bored. Just listen. And in this interview with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, when she talks about the challenges faced by women and why she believes they need to be encouraged to speak up, Stewart does just that. He listens with empathy, gives her the floor, and hopefully introduces the challenges of feminism to an impressionable youngster just flipping through channels one evening.

Will you miss Jon Stewart? Which are your favourite moments from his many years hosting The Daily Show?

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