ABSTRACT

This article focuses on the early stand-up career of Phyllis Diller, whose fast-paced mockery of domestic life made her a fixture in comedy clubs and on television beginning in the late 1950s, showing how Diller's career contributed to feminist consciousness-raising before the publication of Friedan's Feminine Mystique. Using recent theoretical contributions pertaining to affect from feminist and queer theory as well as Judith Halberstam's Queer Art of Failure, this article argues that Diller's performance of repeated domestic failure helped set the stage for the decade of activism to follow. Moreover, including Diller's career in studies of second-wave feminism expands our understanding of the affective framework of feminist activism that often focuses narrowly on anger.

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