Joan Rivers’ Top 5 Tips for Being a Barnard Woman

by Danielle Owen


Was Joan Rivers a true Barnard woman?

I have no idea why Barnard would want any association with this woman. However, she herself believed that it’s never too soon after the death of a celebrity to mock them. Therefore, the following post is written with her spirit in mind.

1) Make insensitive jokes about the three women kidnapped by Ariel Castro and imprisoned for two years, because hey, it’s funny, right? As we all know, jokes exist outside the realm of a society that makes light of violence against women.

2) You can be ignorantly transphobic and still be a “Barnard woman”, apparently. Feel free to use as many transphobic slurs—even when referring to the First Lady of the United States—because you will still be praised by society for being “groundbreaking”.

3) Put down other women as much as you like, as harshly as you can. Nothing says “Barnard woman” like internalized misogyny, or making a living by criticizing other women for being ugly, rather than criticizing the patriarchy.

4) Being a flat-out racist is totally cool. You’re a feminist trailblazer!

5) Make domestic abuse jokes. Feminism! Holocaust jokes? Totally cool. Remember, one time you did something to help white, privileged women, so you essentially get a pass for being an anthropomorphic anal polyp during the last 50 years of your life.

Complexity is key to thinking about Joan River’s legacy. While I’m grateful for the doors that she opened up for female comedians, I also believe that dying doesn’t erase all of the terrible things she’s said. I feel for her family and her daughter, and I hope they find peace. But Joan Rivers was not a comedian—she was a bully. She is also notorious for mocking the death of other celebrities. So, in place of a eulogy, I will end with an apt quote:

“You either die a hero, or live long enough to become the villain”. In the case of Joan Rivers, the latter is true. RIP.

Danielle Owen is a sophomore at Barnard and Social Media Strategist for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Look out for Laura Garrison’s opposing piece tomorrow on The Nine Ways of Knowing!

Image courtesy of Barnard College Twitter.

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