Writers Leila Cohan-Miccio and Caitlin Tegart couldn’t think of any comedies about Third-wave feminist magazines, so they created their own.
The result is Vag Magazine, a web comedy focused on a staff of would-be media moguls as they navigate the tumultuous industry of feminist publishing. But they are foiled by two factors — each other, and their own ineptitude.
This is new ground for comedy, said Cohan-Miccio, who saw that there there were few examples of the type of feminist anti-heroes she and Tegart wanted to depict. “These are women that are just going so hard for what they want, and they are not necessarily succeeding at it,” the 27-year-old said.
Each character in the show has a different take on the feminist movement: Fennel, played by Nicole Drespel, for example, assumes a more “back-to-nature” feminism, and in one episode eschews menstrual pads in favor of a large wooden bucket.
“We were surprised that no one was doing a parody of this,” Cohan-Miccio said. “Our intention was not to stick it to feminists. I think we both identify as feminists. Feminism is so nebulous, and to some extent just whatever people say it is.”
Tegart agreed. “As far as our criticism of that culture, I think it’s all wrapped up in Sylvie’s line in the first episode where she defines feminism as ‘women doing whatever we want.'”
But creating Vag Magazine was more than just poking at feminism. Cohan-Miccio and Tegart also wanted to write something that would let them showcase their friends at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. This adds volumes to Vag Magazine performances, largely because the actresses seem written for their roles. Meghan, played by Sarah Claspell, sports a permanently skeptical frown and acts as Vag Magazine’s sole voice of reason. Kit, played by Morgan Grace Jarrett, is the eager office intern who never stops smiling.
“I think that, ultimately, people like to be parodied and I hope that it’s obvious from our parodies that we are feminists,” Tegart said. “I think that, in a way, we are saying that this is important enough to parodied.”