Funny Women

This is a late/early post for me, but what the hell.

Recently, while watching an episode of Young and Hungry (which is a pleasant surprise), My brother said this:

“I think women are finally starting to get comedy.”

This reminded me of the stance that he and many men have on female comedians (not Comedienne, this word makes me sick). And that is that women aren’t funny.

The most common “argument” for this attitude is that most female comedians only talk about three things; their period, their relationships, and their vaginas. Of course this doesn’t hold much water when you point out the men frequently talk about the equivalent male subjects; Their penises, their (usually terrible) wives, and their (usually nonexistent) sex lives.

So what makes men inherently “funnier” than women?

The fact that they aren’t women.

In fact, the most successful female comedians I can think of are famous because their act isn’t stereotypically feminine, but instead stereotypically masculine.

They focus on crude humor, swear incessantly and employ heavy use of shock humor.

I can count on one hand the amount of male comedians who don’t use the above tactics, and. like their female counterparts, they’re not nearly as successful.

But why?

Is there something about masculinity that’s “funnier” than femininity? Is being male more relatable than being female?

The short answer is yes.

From an early age, we are so inundated with stores from a male point of view that it’s genuinely shocking to find a story that is female-driven. And when we do see them, we see them as of lower quality because that’s how we’ve been taught. Women aren’t seen and heard on film, unless they’re backed by, or talking about, a man.

Until recent years, an action film with a female star, who could hold her own, was nigh unheard of. And female-driven comedies were all of the romantic kind. Now, with the recent addition of films like Salt and Bridesmaids, this is quickly changing. We have characters like Black Widow fighting alongside men. And comedians like Ellie Kemper getting national attention. 

In other words, Hollywood is starting to get that women can be funny.

Now, if only they could recognize more women of color…




Feminism and men’s rights

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I recently read an article which contained only one paragraph about feminism, yes only one. I’m not criticizing the article for that fact, because it wasn’t about feminists, but you wouldn’t know that from reading the comment section.

Yes, I know the old saying (well as old as it can be in this internet age) “Don’t read the comments” But on this particular website I always read the comments. Mostly because a lot of them, if not most, can be rather intelligent and funny. Of course if that was the case for this particular article, I wouldn’t be typing this right now.

Most of the comments were from angry MRAs (Men’s rights Activists). Now I  fully agree with a lot of the issues these men bring up. Mainly the way the family court system gives a lot of loving and good fathers the short end of the stick when it comes to custody. But this particular argument was about rape.

Rape, needless to say, is a very touchy subject. Men and women are both victims of rape, this is a fact I cannot deny. But I also cannot deny the fact that women are taught to actively avoid rape.

As a young teen, I sat in my middle school gym with my other female classmates, and we were taught ways to avoid rape. We were told to always travel in groups, to wear clothes that were harder to remove by force, and to not kick a man in the crotch (this would only anger him) but to go for the eyes. I think it’s safe to say that the boys were not taught this information. But they also aren’t taught healthy attitudes about sex.

In our society we teach men that sex is a prize to be won. That it’s something you can get out of a woman if you are nice enough to her or give her enough things. As a man, if you’re not having sex, you’re losing. What about that makes people think that men won’t use sex as a power play, or that some of them, if self deluded enough, won’t go after it at all costs?

How is putting sex on a pedestal for men any different than making it something to fear for women?

We teach our boys that no means no, while at the same time telling girls that being assertive isn’t “ladylike”. We teach men that skirts and dresses mean “easy access”, and encourage women to wear them, then scold those same women for wearing “skimpy” clothes after they are raped. We imply that all men think about is sex, and that they can’t control themselves around a skirt and a pair of long legs.

If you deny that this is true, then you didn’t grow up in the same society I did.

Because I grew up in a society which thinks that women are something to be objectified while simultaneously scolding women who are sexually open. A society which paints men with bulging muscles as the ideal, and covers its mouth in shock when athletes are discovered using steroids.

Yes there are “Faminazis” and misogynists out there. but yelling at them and not taking action doesn’t solve the problems that created them in the first place. It’s treating the symptom and not the disease. We need to address the problems themselves.

And yes, we need to prepare for the consequences, because the people who are deluded into believing that sexism isn’t a problem for both sexes and want the world to stay as it is will fight back. These people don’t want change, because they directly benefit from everything staying the same. The only way for anyone to change the world is to realize that sometimes, they want the same thing that their “opponents” do. They’re just not listening.


All feminists are not “feminazis”

I took notice of something the other day; actually, that’s a lie, I’ve been noticing it for years.

“Feminist” has become the internet’s new four letter word.

Feminism used to be equated with attempts at equality. People identifying with the movement wanted to fight to make the rights of men and women equal. This resulted in women gaining the right to vote and many other advances.

Now, the focus of feminism falls not only on women, but on both sexes.

I define feminism these days, as the belief that men and women are equal. Which not only means they should have the same rights, but also the same freedoms.

Men should have the freedom to express emotions other than anger; they should valued as fathers, and recognized as nurturers.

Men shouldn’t be portrayed on television as uncultured swine or bumbling idiots. Men are just as multifaceted as women.

Unfortunately, there are feminists who do not share my views, which I believe are the views of most modern feminists.

The militant feminists on tumblr who cry “male privilege” at anything are the vocal minority. They are believed to represent the movement as a whole. They are the proverbial “feminazis”.

While praising strong women in media (something which I do as well), they criticize the inclusion of strong men. They praise women who choose to work while lambasting those who make the equally valid decision to be homemakers. These women do not want equality, they want everyone to fit the mold that they have cast.

That isn’t equality, that is just another form of oppression. These views are just as harmful as past inequality. Pushing for a female dominated world instead of a male dominated one doesn’t solve any problems, it only makes people fight for the other extreme.

I’ve heard it myself, in the real world. Women and men alike, fighting feminism because of the vocal minority. This only makes the cause more confusing and less inclusive. People previously open to the ideas of equality have closed their minds to it. And that defeats the purpose of feminism entirely.

Dads cook too (my introduction to gender politics)

This post is in the same vein as the recent Freshly Pressed post “Where are all the dads” (when I learn how this linking business works, I’ll do it).

I grew up with a father who loved to cook. For the first few years of my life, my mother cooked dinners for me and my brothers, and she was good at it. But, some point after we moved from our small apartment to our house (I was around 10 years old), my father did most of the cooking. I didn’t think anything of it until I mentioned it to one of my friends. He expressed shock that my father cooked, and not my mother.

I explained that yes, my dad cooked most of the time, but sometimes my mom did too. Later, I asked my parents about what my friend said. They told me that years ago, women didn’t work, they stayed at home and cooked and cleaned for their families.

This was an interesting concept to me. I’d grown up in a house where both my parents worked, something they had to do to support our lifestyle. I wondered why my friend thought it was odd for my father to cook if women didn’t do all the work at home anymore.

That was my first real run-in with gender roles. After that, I started to notice that gender roles were regularly enforced on television. It made no sense to me, even as a child. If we didn’t insist on gender roles anymore, why did the people writing television shows do it?  Why had my friend expected it?

This is something that I continue to see today. There are more stay at home mothers on television than stay at home fathers. Which is something that’s no longer reflected in reality. In commercials for cleaning and food products, the only people using said products are women. And when the men try to do the same, they’re portrayed as woefully incompetent, even stupid.

I’ve seen one too many ads involving a man being completely overwhelmed by taking care of his children, baking, or even operating appliances. Isn’t that just two varieties of sexism presented as humorous? It’s the same patting a man on the head and saying “Your place isn’t in the home, that’s for your wife.”. An idea which is damaging to both sexes.

This is the reason stay at home dads feel emasculated, and why people are perfectly willing to perpetuate it. After all, a man couldn’t possibly be happy providing for his family if he’s not operating heavy machinery or sitting behind a desk to do it. And how could a woman feel she’s doing anything but betraying her maternal nature by pursuing a career to put food on the table?

Perhaps people aren’t defined by their sex any more than they are by the color of their hair. And maybe expecting them to live their life according to what box they check on a form is limiting to everyone involved.

Just my two cents.