2:09pm PT by Bryn Elise Sandberg
Feminist Bookstore Rips 'Portlandia' for "Transmisogyny" and "Queer Antagonism"
A Portland bookstore is saying, "F— Portlandia."
The specialty bookshop In Other Words, which has served as the inspiration (and actual filming location) for the fictional shop in the IFC comedy about Portland, Ore., has posted a sign on its door that reads, "F— Portlandia." In a blog post, the bookstore staff revealed it has decided to cut ties with the sketch series starring Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, citing the "trans-antagonistic attitude" and "queer antagonism" it claims the show perpetuates as reasons why.
The establishment's website offers a deeper explanation of why the In Other Words "community" has agreed to discontinue its relationship with the comedy. " 'LOL Fred Armisen in a wig and a dress' is a deeply shitty joke whose sole punchline throws trans femmes under the bus by holding up their gender presentation for mockery and ridicule," reads the letter posted online. "In a world where trans femmes — particularly Black trans women — are being brutalized and murdered on a regular basis for simply daring to exist, dude in a dress jokes are lazy, reactionary, and actively harmful. They’re also just straight up not funny."
The staff also contended that the show's production mistreated the In Other Words employees, left the bookstore a mess and forced neighboring shops to close down and lose business for a day without any warning. Additionally, it pointed out that being featured in the series doesn't actually make the shop any money, as the small flat fee it's paid for each episode isn't enough to outweigh the profits lost by having to close down for filming.
The bookstore's blog post also called out the series, set to return for its seventh season in 2017, for "transmisogyny," "gentrification," "devaluation of feminist discourse" and "racism" (it claimed the series doesn't portray any black people and only has a few of people of color represented). "Portland is white, but it’s not that damn white," said the post.
Not only did the staff blame billboards featuring Armisen and Brownstein for "fueling mass displacement" in Portland and turning the city into "something twee and whimsical for the incoming technocrat hordes," it also claimed that the production crew once asked In Other Words to remove a Black Lives Matter sign it had in the window. The staff, of course, refused.
When asked about the issue, IFC had no comment.