Being a woman in any profession is challenging, but it can be dangerous for women who pursue careers that test the fragility of men.
It's hard to imagine that the job of a comedian is particularly hazardous, save for a few boos at the end of a set, but that's not the case. Female comedians are met with multiple sexual assault threats, verbal abuse, and discrimination, sometimes before they even step off the stage.
And that is exactly why one female comedian, who wishes to remain anonymous, began #IAmFemaleComic, a user-based forum that gives female comedians a safe space to share their experiences both on- and off-stage.
"I faced a lot of backlash in my community when I spoke out about women being harassed," the founder shared with Revelist. "A lot of comedians (both men and women) either didn't believe it was a real problem or said things like 'that's just part of being in comedy.' I was told to grow thicker skin. People said that women have been doing comedy for years and never complained about anything, so what's my problem?"
Her mission is provide a voice to victims and raise awareness about sexism in the comedy community.
"It's not enough for women to speak out, though," she said. "Men have to listen. I think that's the most frustrating thing — we don't feel like we're being heard. We get discredited and labeled as 'whiny' or 'bitchy' and that's not fair. I hope that this site gains some traction and forces men to face what's going on in their communities. Most men aren't bad men, but we need the good ones on our side, fighting with us. This isn't and shouldn't be a 'men vs. women' thing."
Here are just some of the powerful stories currently circulating on the site:
And this is only a snippet of what goes on in the industry, according to #IAmFemaleComic's creator.
"I hope these stories help people see that sexual harassment and assault DOES happen. Not just in Los Angeles or New York or Chicago, but everywhere. I hope it makes people think differently about how they talk to and treat female comedians. I hope it encourages people to speak up when they see this behavior. We're all just trying to make our art."