Olivia Munn has long been a source of frustration for many female geeks and gamers. As co-host of G4’s Attack of the Show, she more or less was the representative of female geeks on television, and yet the humiliating tasks she performed on the show sent a loud-and-clear message about what most male gamers seemed to expect from us.
Munn was recently hired as a correspondent on The Daily Show, which coincided with a Jezebel post that investigated why the show has had so few female correspondents over the years. She also recently published a memoir, so she has received a lot of media attention this summer. If you’ve been following the stories surrounding Munn, you’re probably fatigued of the issue at this point, but these two posts are very insightful and well worth your time.
The first is by Sady Doyle at Tiger Beatdown, published back in July. Sady examines the misogyny on Attack of the Show, Hot Girl Problems, and the problematic reactions of many female geeks to Munn:
Olivia Munn embodies geek-misogynist expectations and desires for women, in this one specific job she does, but those expectations and desires are what make girls’ lives hard, not the women who are paid to fulfill them. If there were no girl in the entire universe that men could point to and say, “well, she likes it,” they’d still keep doing it, because, here’s the secret: Misogynists don’t care what girls like. Being angry at a girl because you’re constantly told that you’re not enough, and you’re constantly told that she is enough, being angry that she won’t take your side (because not being on your side is part of what makes her “enough,” part of what she’s paid to do), is really, really tempting. And, honestly, human. But it’s not feminist, and it’s counterproductive as all hell.
It is a very long post, and that is just part of one paragraph: definitely read the whole thing.
The second post is by Thea Lim, published just this week at Racialicious. In an open letter to Munn, Thea explains what makes Munn’s racist jokes on The Daily Show different from the other correspondents’ jokes that are about racism, fulfilling racist stereotypes instead of targeting white racism:
Even if, once upon a time, you had to suck up the misogyny of Attack of the Show—and other male media outlets, like Playboy, which tried to force you to pose naked against your will—now you are famous enough that you have power, and you have choices. And yet, instead of standing up for us, like Wyatt Cenac, Aasif Mandvi, or even, so help me God, Ken Jeong, you side with white racism, and you sacrifice your people. You sacrifice your own freakin’ mother. And don’t think I haven’t noticed that the strident racism of your comedy is even more problematic because you have a white daddy, and therefore have white privilege. I have a white mama. I see what you’re doing Olivia. I do.
Thea also explains what makes Munn’s situation on TDS different from her gig on Attack of the Show. Definitely read the whole thing.