Saturday, February 26, 2011

Humorless dudes: Women aren't funny!

What a hideous beast!
It's weird the lengths that the dudes of the manosphere will go to try to prove things that simply aren't true. Like the idea that women aren't funny. (Seriously, if you can't immediately reel off the names of ten women who are fucking hilarious, you just might be -- to paraphrase one famously hackneyed male comedian -- a misogynist. If you get stuck, maybe this will help.)

The standard misogynist line on the alleged unfunniness of women is rooted, as are so many misogynist ideas, in sexual insecurity and resentment: Men are funny, the argument goes, because, unless they're George Clooney or Ghengis Khan, it's the only way to get women to have sex with them. Meanwhile, all that most women have to do to get men to have sex with them is to exist.

In an old post on Gucci Little Piggy which I just ran across today, our friend Chuck (who sometimes posts comments here), offers his version of this argument.

Humor and oppression are strongly correlated. Oppression leads to a sense of irony and keen insight about human nature and life in general. ...  And nobody is less at the bottom of the social heap than women.

Actually, maybe men are inherently more funny than women, because so far Chuck's explanation is hilarious. His proof for this: there aren't a ton of gorgeous white women comedians. Listing a a small batch of female comedians -- among them Ellen Degeneres, Joan Rivers, Wanda Sykes, and Chelsea Handler -- he remarks:

Take a look at the list of famous female comedians and notice that none fit the “prototypical” (average) woman. In other words, they aren’t white, beautiful, and straight. ... They weren’t handed a golden ticket, like many of their straight-and-narrow sisters. In the same way that Jerry Seinfeld, Milton Berle, and the Marx Brothers inherited a legacy of humor from their Jewish ancestors, lesbians, fat broads, and ethnic women have used the same tool: humor. ... female comedians are almost universally unattractive or lesbian or ethnic.

You may have noticed a few problems with this argument. Aside from the fact that there have been plenty of completely hilarious women who were also utterly gorgeous -- uh, Marilyn Fucking Monroe? -- that several of the women on his list are actually quite conventionally hot, and that most of them are white, all Chuck has done is to show that many female comedians, like many male comedians, tend to be outcasts and misfits with less than model-quality looks. Not that "women aren't funny" or even that women are inherently less funny than men.

The fact that Paris Hilton is not what you'd call a brilliant wit -- she's his example of a beautiful unfunny lady -- doesn't mean that "women" collectively are unfunny, any more than the fact of Tom Cruise's humorlessness means all men, or even all Scientologists, are unfunny. (Well, maybe the bit about the Scientologists.)

But the funniest part of the whole thing comes in the comments section, where one bravely anonymous commenter offers his own -- utterly sincere, unintentionally hilarious -- explanation of the "women aren't funny" meme:

Well, you're speaking of a culture/society that's been decimated by Cultural Marxism. The comedians you mention are using the Frankfurt School's Critical Theory to criticize and breakdown (criticize/critique) what remains of White Western Civilization. There were plenty of excellent white comedians, both male and female, before the open immigration act of 1965 turned the USA into a third world shit hole. There's a reason they're not white.

Yeah, that's gotta be it. Joan Rivers is staying up nights reading her dog-eared copies of the treatises of Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, perfecting her dialectical critique of ugly Oscar dresses.

--

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32 comments:

  1. The same guys who think women aren't funny are the guys that think rape jokes are hilariously shocking and edgy. They're like children who think all they have to do to make a joke is add something about butts.

    Of course, with children, you have the consolation that they'll grow out of it.

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  2. Apparently all you have to do to prove that women aren't funny is to say that all women who are funny are lesbians, Jewish, or fat. And all you have to do to prove that all funny women are lesbians, Jewish, or fat is to ignore the many funny women who aren't.

    People who say women aren't funny must not know any women. And people who have to "prove" that women aren't funny in order to bolster their own demented self-esteem are just sad.

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  3. Not only do I know funny women, but I know funny woman feminists. Like Holly at The Pervocracy, or Sady Doyle at Tiger Beatdown. (I would suggest that if you manage to get through the entire Grizzly Fetus saga on Tiger Beatdown without cracking up at least once, you are either humor-deficient or pro-life.)

    Misogynists, however, are universally unfunny. It annoys me greatly, actually, as I am an aficionado of offensive jokes, and it would be nice to be able to deploy the "I'm a member of Group X so it's not biased" defense so often used by my Jewish friends about Holocaust jokes.

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  4. Chuck: "Now I can't exactly define humour"

    He's got that part right. The rest of it? Not so much.

    But Chuck is funny, I'll give him that.

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  5. "Take a look at the list of famous female comedians and notice that none fit the “prototypical” *(average)* woman. In other words, they aren’t white, *beautiful*, and straight."

    Hear that, ladies? An "average" woman is a model. If you're not a model, you're probably not even female.

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  6. Amnesia, to be fair, adding "butts" to anything IS inherently funny!

    For examples, see , Songs About Butts, quite possibly the dumbest blog ever created. Yet I think sort of hilarious.

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  7. I find butt humor funny, but that's just me. Let's see off the top of my head women who I can think of who are incredibly funny and also feminists. Sady Doyle (grizzly fetus anyone?) Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Melissa Mcewan (or any of the ladies and men over at shakesville, they're all just a riot) , Stacy-ann Chin, Tanis Miller (if you don't read her she blogs over at the redneckmommy and is absolutely hysterical), Amy poehler, sarah haskins, margaret cho, hm... that's well over ten and just off the top of my head.

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  8. I knew I guy who parroted the "feminists aren't funny" line to me.

    I let him borrow my copy of It's A Jungle Out There.

    Not only did he recant afterward, he also credited the book for making him ditch his anti-choice position. W00t.

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  9. I can't name ten funny female comedians, but I can't name ten funny male comedians either. I don't follow such things. I'm a little stolid...

    Now, it's hardly worth dignifying Chuck's argument by responding in this way, but as an irrelevant side note I'd like to add that I find Sarah Silverman both funny and beautiful. Although I didn't like her show that much, but whatever.

    Humor and oppression are strongly correlated. Oppression leads to a sense of irony and keen insight about human nature and life in general.

    This part is actually correct.

    And nobody is less at the bottom of the social heap than women.

    And this is where he goes completely off the rails.

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  10. Well, I know that none of our resident MRAs has ever made me laugh on purpose. If there was ever a more humor-impaired group, I'm not aware of it.

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  11. In the vein of funny women on the internet, the lady who writes Ill-Advised (http://thestir.cafemom.com/column/ill_advised) is fucking hilarious.

    For a while, I kept forgetting to bookmark her and could never recall the URL, so I typed "'freezer hamster' 'small fires' 'tears of remorse' 'lawn mower'" into Google to get there via one of her more memorable posts. Enough said.

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  12. I love this quote in your old post, where someone says:

    "'I want a man with a sense of humor' really means 'I want a man who pushes the right buttons and makes my pussy moist.'"

    like it's a bad thing. I mean, putting aside the overly specific use of the word "moist," he's saying "Women get turned on by men who turn them on!" And that's bad...because? Is it just because we are "literally creatures of lust and animal behavior?"

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  13. Joan Rivers was quite beautiful when she was younger.

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  14. If you want to see a group of average women being completely hilarious, I suggest the comments at Regretsy. The blog's author is a professional writer and in the entertainment industry and all that, but the rest of the community is just a bunch of random mostly-women who are almost all hysterical.

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  15. Tina Fey would be in my top four all time favorite comedians and Liz Lemon is one of the most hilarious and well-written characters on television at the moment.

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  16. Cpt. awkward:

    I think the problem is that women are choosing to respond to what turns them on, not what these guys think ought to turn them on.

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  17. Oh, don't get me wrong, I think butts are as funny as the next person. And poop, too, that's hilarious. It's just annoying when you hear jokes like, "There was a BUTT, it was talking to this other BUTT, the one BUTT says 'I'm a BUTT!' but the other BUTT says, 'Well, I'm an ASS!'"

    Did I just invalidate my own point?

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  18. Huhuhuhuhuhuh! Butts! Huhuhuhuh!

    I'm sorry...what now?

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  19. Funny women?

    Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Miranda Hart, Sarah Millican, Jessica Stephenson, Tracey Ullman, Victoria Wood, Shappi Khorsandi, Gina Yashere, Lucy Porter all come to mind. Joanna Lumley proved she had comedy chops in Ab Fab and it would be hard to accuse her of being anything other than white, Anglo-Saxon and gorgeous.

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  20. Lucille Ball was like them most popular comic personality on the planet for a decade wasn't she?

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  21. Somehow I forgot the wonderfully funny Jo Brand. Also the sharp and incredibly attractive Ronni Ancona.

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  22. Man, I wish this attitude were restricted to MRA/MGTOW types. A couple of years back, Christopher Hitchens wrote an essay for Vanity Fair called "Why Women Aren't Funny." After writer Alessandra Stanley answered with an article about female comedians past and present, he wrote a follow-up essay admitting that, okay, some women are funny, but they're all fat, ugly, or lesbians. So they don't count.

    Sarah Silverman's whole comic persona is based on the expectation that pretty women aren't funny and are probably kind of dim in general; the whole joke is that she looks too sweet and pretty and well-bred to have said whatever horrible thing just came out of her mouth. In more tactful generations, women got a similar effect from various "funny ditz" personas: Gracie Allen, Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe. Even Joan Rivers' early routines took advantage of the fact that she was a conventionally attractive housewife, so no one expected her to make jokes that were rude or shocking or actually funny.

    But really, if your idea of "average woman" is "Paris Hilton" and you're going to toss every chick who's fat, old, goofy-looking, gay, or nonwhite (love that last comment--oh no, black comedians are unseating white men from their rightful place as the only people who are allowed to do anything awesome ever!) from the funny pile, then yeah, I guess you might not run into all that many funny women.

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  25. I think conventional attractiveness can require maintaining a 'perfect' facade, not standing out or goofing off or being weird or rude or irreverent, not stepping out of place, and this really works against the funnies, for both men and women - though there's usually a greater pressure on women to maintain this image. Bland perfection ain't funny. But like Shaenon said, (and if you're THAT Shaenon, I loved Narbonic back in the day) defying expectations of what pretty people are supposed to say and do can be a good source of humour.

    As our friend says:

    "...none fit the “prototypical” (average) woman. In other words, they aren’t white, beautiful, and straight."

    I think that here we've got the heart of the problem. This guy is confusing 'prototypical' (an ideal) with 'average' (most common, everywoman). Making the assumption the narrow range of women he personally finds attractive are typical of half the human race. The rest are in effect invisible, an irrelevant fringe minority when in reality it's the opposite.

    Far be it from me or anyone to tell someone who to find attractive, that's nobody's business but their own. But much as I hate to generalise, the 'entitled princess' behaviour that some MRAs accuse the vast majority of women of does tend to manifest itself more often in the women who buy heavily into this beauty standard (Paris Hilton being the example) if only because the opportunity is there.

    And if a guy is only willing to even converse with a woman because he's trying to get into her pants, and this narrow cross-section are the only women who even exist in his universe, he really, really doesn't have enough information to be judging an entire gender, does he?

    Sorry if I'm overanalysing the obvious or having a wee bit of a generalise - having a hungover and not v. articulate day. These are just a couple of observations.

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  26. Have we mentioned Dorothy Parker? Because someone should mention Dorothy Parker.

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  27. Let's not forget Storm Large, who is astonishingly beautiful and offering an open invitation to her vagina in this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5U-YT-mRmI

    My favorite part is the guys chanting in the strip club.

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  28. @kysokisaen:

    Holy crap, that song is AMAZING! How have I never heard of this woman?! *Googles obsessively*

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  29. And if a guy is only willing to even converse with a woman because he's trying to get into her pants, and this narrow cross-section are the only women who even exist in his universe, he really, really doesn't have enough information to be judging an entire gender, does he?

    That's an excellent way to put it.

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  30. But like Shaenon said, (and if you're THAT Shaenon, I loved Narbonic back in the day)...

    Thanks. I owe it all to being a fat ugly lesbian.

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  31. Teri Garr was stunning in her youth. All the Teri Garr parts later went to Jennifer Aniston, also whimsically funny and very lovely.

    "You were having a nachtmare!"

    PS: CAROL BURNETT was the greatest.

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