Is it true that women in the entertainment business are deterred from being funny. From being comic. Is the mixture of being beautiful and funny too combustible a substance to let out of the yard? Or is it because women more often find themselves humiliated and offended because of their gender and indignation in its various guises is not the ideal prelude to humor. But then, they have more material to draw from. Christopher Hitchens thought otherwise:
…Why are men, taken on average and as a whole, funnier than women? Well, for one thing, they had damn well better be. The chief task in life that a man has to perform is that of impressing the opposite sex, and Mother Nature (as we laughingly call her) is not so kind to men. In fact, she equips many fellows with very little armament for the struggle. An average man has just one, outside chance: he had better be able to make the lady laugh. Making them laugh has been one of the crucial preoccupations of my life. If you can stimulate her to laughter—I am talking about that real, out-loud, head-back, mouth-open-to-expose-the-full-horseshoe-of-lovely-teeth, involuntary, full, and deep-throated mirth; the kind that is accompanied by a shocked surprise and a slight (no, make that a loud) peal of delight—well, then, you have at least caused her to loosen up and to change her expression. I shall not elaborate further….
…Women have no corresponding need to appeal to men in this way. They already appeal to men, if you catch my drift. Indeed, we now have all the joy of a scientific study, which illuminates the difference. Read More: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2007/01/hitchens200701
To be honest, feminism per se, explores a lot of topics that are not funny in the least, in particular the contraditory states of sexual and social oppression. In fact, its downright tragic. Its hard to believe that at one time Betty Friedan was considered “dangerous” for claiming women seek meaning in their lives. Her “Feminine Mystique” was a guide book , like Maimonides “Guide for the Perplexed” of the bored housewife variety. Men’s pulp magazines are a good indicator of male conservatism and fantasy and women were not an empowered lot. Mad Men is a good example of interest in that epoch; a fascination of making sense with the people and time who absorbed Friedan and created a celebrity out of her. Whether Friedan was a fraud in another matter. Rosie the Riveter she was not. Neither Adah Isaacs Mencken or Sarah Bernhardt. She was a white liberal political activist who wrote for Ladies Home Journal. She was a run-of-the-mill talent who had something of the hype machine behind her.
There was a contradiction in that era; a hypocrisy where the nuclear family is glorified, basically in retrospect as an economic unit and promoter of the laws of property and transmission of wealth from one generation to the next. At the same time you an epidemic of incest and violence all incubated within the family unit. Enforced adoption of the ideal of the white picket fence and something of a disappointing reality. Yet, her audience seemed to predominantly white upper middle class who could consider themselves relatively fortunate and also my have had the the time and the intellect to understand the feminine condition. Sylvia Plath had a very profound insight; a character like Betty Draper is a little harder to sympathize with. The Freedom Riders were getting arrested and others were theorizing over enforced ideals.
Hitchens:This is not to say that women are humorless, or cannot make great wits and comedians. And if they did not operate on the humor wavelength, there would be scant point in half killing oneself in the attempt to make them writhe and scream (uproariously). Wit, after all, is the unfailing symptom of intelligence. Men will laugh at almost anything, often precisely because it is—or they are—extremely stupid. Women aren’t like that. And the wits and comics among them are formidable beyond compare: Dorothy Parker, Nora Ephron, Fran Lebowitz, Ellen DeGeneres. (Though ask yourself, was Dorothy Parker ever really funny?) Greatly daring—or so I thought—I resolved to call up Ms. Lebowitz and Ms. Ephron to try out my theories. Fran responded: “The cultural values are male; for a woman to say a man is funny is the equivalent of a man saying that a woman is pretty. Also, humor is largely aggressive and pre-emptive, and what’s more male than that?” Ms. Ephron did not disagree. Read More: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2007/01/hitchens200701 a