The Lady Parts team at The Deep End Store in N.Y.C.
Lady Parts Justice Uses Humor to Fight for Women’s Rights
There’s a comedy video on YouTube in which Jesus Christ appears to comedian Sarah Silverman to spread a message of religious tolerance. When he sticks around to watch a marathon of NCIS, she asks him a hot-button question: When does life begin? “At 40,” deadpans Jesus. “But fertilized eggs aren’t people. People are people.”
That video was viewed over a million times, and was imagined by Lady Parts Justice, a collaborative team of comedians, writers, and activists who champion reproductive rights. LPJ co-creator Lizz Winstead, 53, who also co-created The Daily Show, has always used comedy to point out injustice. Now, she’s drawing particular attention to how individual states govern women’s bodies. “In just the first three months of 2014, 733 new pieces of legislation were proposed that try to somehow curb reproductive rights,” Winstead says, adding that the accessible, affordable clinics targeted by anti-choice legislation are where many low-income women get healthcare. In fact, when Winstead got pregnant in high school, she found her way to Planned Parenthood after feeling “shamed and devalued” at a Crisis Pregnancy Center in Minnesota.
“It’s no longer enough to say ‘I’m pro-choice,’” says Winstead. “It’s time everybody participates.” And the place to do that is during November’s mid-term elections. So in preparation, LPJ has launched an Internet hub that uses comedy to inform voters of women’s issues. At LadyPartsJustice.com, visitors can click on an interactive map to watch a video about that state’s reproductive rights record, learn sobering facts about local legislation, and get the 411 on anti-choice politicians running for office. They can also register to vote. According to Winstead, smart comedy is based on “enlightened outrage,” and people initially drawn in by a funny video will hopefully cast an informed vote. “If we’re feminists,” says Winstead, “there is no safe access until everyone has access.”
Written by: Phoebe Magee
Photo: Courtesy of Lady Parts Justice