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Reductress Founder Sarah Pappalardo On Satire and Social Justice

Logo of satirical feminist publication Reductress.

Reductress co-founder and editor Sarah Pappalardo is coming to campus! If you identify as a woman and have not yet wasted at least three hours procrastinating on an assignment by reading articles on, you are truly missing out. The Fake Women’s News magazine is the first publication of its kind, and a well-beloved source of laughter in many women’s circles. Co-founded in 2013 by Beth Newell and Sarah Pappalardo, the subversive satire site has exploded in popularity in recent years, now with more than 2.5 million visitors a month. Filling a media vacuum for biting and sassy women-focused news satire, the much-needed magazine features sections including News (with articles like “‘Black People Have Ridiculous Names,’ Says Guy Who Worked for Newt Gingrich”), Living (“How To Show People You’re More Than Your Unethical Career Choice”), Love and Sex (“Is It Love Or Does He Occasionally Allow You To Complete A Thought?”), and Womanspiration (“Neat! This Man Thinks He Can Reconcile Being Socially Liberal and Fiscally Conservative”). The humor site’s self-identified mission is “to take on the outdated perspectives and condescending tone of popular women’s media, through the eyes of the funniest women in comedy today. Also, we want people to think we’re pretty.”

Before founding Reductress with Beth Newell, comedian and writer Sarah Pappalardo went to DuPaul University, where she studied literature and cultivated her passion for performance comedy. Upon realizing there existed an upsetting lack of women-focused popular satire, and that no one had ever successfully attempted a feminist satire magazine before, the two women decided to launch their idea for Reductress. Through the ups-and-downs of developing a website and learning the ins-and-outs of earning revenue through website advertisement, Pappalardo and Newell took an idea and turned it into a one of the most popular comedy sites on the internet. Not only do Reductress articles aim to highlight obvious and exasperating issues like the way that media talks down to women, or how insecurity-based marketing targets women, but articles also tackle head-on some of the more serious issues of rape culture, exclusionary ‘white’ feminism, and systemic racism.

This magazine is the exceptional product of a group of women who got sick and tired of media, and the men behind it telling them what it means to be a woman, how to be a woman, and how women ought to behave, think, and live – delivered with a refreshing dose of sarcasm and wit. While many of the listicles, articles, and first-person thought pieces will make you laugh out loud (like “5 Mud Masks That Will Make You Feel Like a Luxurious Little Farm Pig”), others have women all across the U.S. sighing in mutual exasperation (see: “We Built This Robot To Explain Rape Culture To Men”). Pappalardo decided to quit her day job in 2013 to focus on Reductress full-time, and her website has since gained the attention of larger businesses and organizations who want to work with Reductress on creative projects and co-produce shows and events. Though a small, independent publisher, Reductress took the internet by storm, landing a book deal and in 2016 releasing the hilariously sarcastic guide to feminism entitled How to Win at Feminism. Reductress also has a new podcast, The Reductress Minute, available on iTunes and Spotify. Needless to say, the future looks bright for the magazine.

Reductress founder Sarah Pappalardo will be speaking at Georgetown on Thursday, March 22 as the featured Keynote Speaker for H*yas for Choice’s annual Choice Week. An unrecognized reproductive justice group on campus, H*yas for Choice hosts Choice Week every year to highlight issues of reproductive justice. This year’s theme is unapologetic reproductive justice advocacy, with a focus on how to “put a spotlight on issues and experiences that are often overlooked or marginalized within larger advocacy movements.” Other events to be featured over the course of the week of March 19 include an Abortion Story Share in Red Square, a Faith and Reproductive Justice panel, an event on Maternal Mortality, and a Pro-Choice = Pro-Trans Teach-In. While on campus Pappalardo will discuss feminism, reproductive justice and the importance of choice, the role of media and satire in meaningfully addressing patriarchy, heterosexism, classism, and other systems of oppression, her experiences and work as a woman in popular media, and the importance of amplifying women’s voices and female perspectives in media. The event is co-sponsored by the Georgetown University Lecture Fund, United Feminists, The Georgetown Heckler, GU Pride, and GU College Democrats, and will take place at 8:00pm. in White Gravenor 201A. Calling all people not intimidated by a successful, funny, badass queer woman – see you there!

PC: bobamnertopisis / Wikimedia Commons

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