Ode To Britta Perry: Straw Feminist Extraordinaire

Ode To Britta Perry: Straw Feminist Extraordinaire
 

Community is finally back from exile! I love this show and I'm glad the new season has finally started. So in honour of the return of the greatest show on television I want to take a moment to talk about everyone's favourite straw feminist, Britta Perry.

To be clear, I don't mean to make it seem as though I'm dismissing Britta as a character or her contribution to the canon of the show. I love Community and have been watching since the very beginning. Britta is a great character and so naturally, she has a lot of flaws.

According to TV Tropes, a straw feminist is:

 

"A character whose "feminism" is drawn only for the purposes of either proving the character wrong or ridiculing them. More likely to fight an imaginary male conspiracy rather than actually help disadvantaged women, often being an out-and-out man hater with exaggerated beliefs."

This isn't to say that Britta is bad or even problematic, or that you have to stop liking her. You don't; and I certainly don't intend to. The thing is, Britta is basically harmless. She's all bluster and very little substance when it comes to her feminism and activism, and I think that can be seen as a comment on the thoughtlessness of modern feminism. She's a straw feminist because her perspectives are often wrong, and transparently so. Her arguments are easy to refute because they're so ridiculous and outlandish. Like this episode where she says she can "excuse racism but not animal cruelty." No actual feminist would say that out loud (regardless of what they actually think....*ahem*) but Britta thinks nothing of it.

I don't think Britta is presented in a way that's meant to say "hur dur, stupid feminists!" I think she's presented in a way that allows her straw feminism to be a reflection of her rather than on the feminist movement as a whole, and that's one of the main reasons I think she's an excellent character despite being a terrible, terrible feminist. Like a lot of people, she's well intentioned, but ultimately clueless, and the other members of the group keep her in check as necessary. Britta is a written in a way that makes it clear that she has a lot of learning to do still, especially since by their actions, we see that most of the other members of the group are fairly feminist themselves. Britta uses her feminism as a shield against the world, rather than you know, actually espousing its principles and helping women who need it. But the show makes it clear that that's on her. At least that's always been clear to me.

So don't think I'm trying to say that because she's a straw feminist, you don't have to like her. I still like her. I love her actually. But she's still, very much a straw feminist.