Real ‘Portlandia’ Feminist Bookstore Slams the Show as Offensive
At least half of Portlandia’s feminist bookstore sketches involve Fred and Carrie’s Candace and Toni cynically deriding everything in sight, adding an extra layer of irony to their new controversy. The real feminist bookstore behind production has severed ties with the IFC series, accusing Portlandia of being “trans-antagonistic” and fueling gentrification.
For six seasons, Portland’s “In Other Words” bookstore has served as both inspiration and location for Portlandia’s “Women and Women First” sketches, while a new statement from the store’s website states bluntly, “Fuck Portlandia.” In addition to claims of production disrupting theirs and other businesses for meager compensation, In Other Words accused the series of both transgender and racial insensitivity:
The Women and Women First segments that are filmed at In Other Words are trans-antagonistic and trans-misogynist and have only become more offensive as the show goes on. ‘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. 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.
Also: there are no Black people on Portlandia. There are a tiny number of people of color on Portlandia. Portland is white but it’s not that damn white. It’s also a city with a deeply entrenched history of racism and white supremacy. In Other Words is in the heart of a historically Black neighborhood in Northeast Portland. We have Black Lives Matter written on our window. Black Lives Matter Portland meets regularly in our space. But as more and more Black folks and people of color have become involved at In Other Words, Portlandia has only gotten steadfastly more white. Oh and also: the last time the show filmed in our space, the production crew asked to us to remove the Black Lives Matter sign on our window. We refused.
The statement also notes that realtors and developers have often used Portlandia and its humor as a tool of “mass displacement,” while tourists attracted to the bookstore rarely support the actual business.
IFC has not commented on the statement, but either Portlandia will start moving Toni and Candace to a soundstage, or we’ll be seeing a lot less of the feminist bookstore in whatever seasons remain. Check out a compilation of the sketch below.