Why are women unamusing harridans? An Analysis
I had great fun earlier today prefixing titles and job roles in my head with masculine terms. Male Entrepreneur. A Manpreneur, if you will. The Man Lawyer. The Boy Boss. Working Daddy. It sounded patronising, cringeworthy and and bizarre to apply masculinity to a world that is, as a norm, male.
The feminine, in parallel, exists in the shadows and quiet kitchens of our world, to be mocked as ridiculous, silly or superfluous when it trickles out into a world beyond paisley drapes or textured rose wall paper. Pink is demeaning, blue is powerful. A nagging wife is a joke, a woman in power is a witch, a monster, a Lady Macbeth. We, along with the very concept of feminine, belong in the home. As in the Berber house of Pierre Bourdieu, the feminine belongs in the dark, the hidden, the undesirable.
But if you dare to open that door, and walk out into the world beyond, be aware that you are the alien. With the same venom and disgust at minorities and immigrants, expect the same mistrust, ridicule and alarm at womanhood entering the norm.
Girl bathrooms in the engineering department? Unnecessary! Consent and empathy awareness courses? The feminisation of our institutions! A female on a panel show? What tosh! And so, on and on into our third century of kicking our front doors down, the tired, creaking misogyny rumbles into tomorrow.
Which leads me onto my favourite little Misogyny of 2019:
Isn’t it sweet? We have our own genre. Yes, having a F on my passport makes me a niche genre in the creative sector. My wicked, seductive femme ambience radically transforms my material from ‘funny’ to ‘funny for girls™’. Warning: this performer comes with a skirt. An acquired taste, gentlemen. How good of you to tolerate me.
As any female performer, you can expect groans or comments about ‘a woman on the bill’ before you’ve gone up at all. I’ve had male friends, liberal, normal men who do not live under bridges, tell me they don’t find women funny.
That’s right, 52% of humans, be deed of frock, are not funny. It’s acceptable to say that. I get bellows of ‘But Amy Schumer!’ or ‘But Sarah Millican!’ whenever I complain about this. Often, they’ll admit a while later, they’ve never actually watched a whole show by a woman. So no Cariad Lloyd, no Lolly Adefope, no Carol Burnett, no Mae West, no Joyce Grenfell, and no Jennifer Saunders. Just the assumption that women, somehow, just suck. And that’s just science. Kid.
Apart from being told that women aren’t funny™ their entire lives, and the tropes around a funny woman being grotesquely ugly and the punchline, I’m honestly at a loss for that. Because women are funny. Even if you don’t find me remotely amusing, I have been made to laugh so hard by women that I’d been choking on the floor. And even if you are a man, I know you will have too.
Because a sense of humour isn’t dictated by what is stamped under SEX by some weirdo in the home office.
Please, go see a ‘girl’ comedian.
But stay to see her as a comedian, not a girl.