“I think a big reason many girls shy away from calling themselves feminists is that they’re worried they won’t be able to live up to this idea of a Strong Woman, and that there’s no room in this club for anyone who isn’t 100% comfortable with herself all the time. You can totally be a feminist who has insecurities. Feminism isn’t about pretending we all feel like Wonder Woman, it’s about being honest when we don’t, and having the conversation on why that is.”
Today while on a streetcar – I heard “I don’t think women are funny” actually spoken aloud by someone. Before you start looking for a news article detailing a 20-something’s-descent into a Wolverine-style craze, take a deep breath – I was fine. I felt like I was seeing a mythical creature.
The unicorn went on to describe how he just “didn’t get” the humor of women to his friend, who was nodding absently along.
When (recently departed) Christopher Hitchens wrote the reactive Vanity Fair article, “Why Women Aren’t Funny” – I’m sure women everywhere rolled their eyes. It led to the follow-up article (also from Vanity Fair) – “Who Says Women Aren’t Funny?” which stated…well, the notion that 50% of the population is inherently unfunny is…laughable.
So why do we keep talking about it? Why does it keep coming up?
Because of articles like this, discussing Eddie Brill – the gatekeeper of comedy at the Letterman show that reveals that only one female comic was booked in 2011. The same man who says, “There are a lot less female comics who are authentic; I see a lot of female comics who to please an audience will act like men.”
It is exhausting explaining that men and women are funny in a lot of different ways.
The follow-up both reassures & frustrates me. Eddie Brill has, as a result of this fiasco, lost his job as Letterman’s comedy booker. But will most likely continue to warm-up the audience pre-show.
Overall, I think it’s a good time to have a girl in the 21st century because things are changing, with more opportunities for women. But girls are still the underdog, which means they’ll work harder, and everybody loves an underdog. The next Steve Jobs will totally be a chick, because girls are No. 2–and No. 2 always wins in America. Apple was a No. 2 company for years, and Apple embodies a lot of what have been defined as feminine traits: an emphasis on intuitive design, intellect, a strong sense of creativity, and that striving to always make the greatest version of something.
After I read this entry about Women and Solitude, it really stuck with me. I love the phrase “heroine of solitude” – it makes me think of a women standing on a cliff in a raggedy cape summoning a falcon. The fact that this is what I think of first shows off my penchant for the dramatic.
For me I am consistently finding ways to balance my craving for solitude with my desire to help the world as best I can. To see someone lauded as successful who is also described as “hermit-like” is refreshing. So often women are only portrayed as possessing certain qualities. My love of home and solitude can often be interpreted as aloofness by outsiders. I’m almost over-conscious of this – sometimes agreeing to events when I might otherwise prefer a quiet evening with a book.
There are times when testing my limits are a positive. The Yelp! community is a perfect example of this. I became an “Elite” member this year & am invited to special events once a month. I’ve enjoyed the events I go to – I’m surrounded by strangers chatting! I do still fly under the radar. I go to prove to myself that I can – that I’m capable of milling about awkwardly & surviving.
No matter where you are, the image of one out of a group being a female looks normal & I think that would explain why, let’s say, on a board when they get to one or two women they feel like ‘OK, we’re done.’ Because that is normal. I think that can apply to tenured faculty, top law partners, certainly to Congress. Only 16 percent of Congress is women. So, what we need to do is … raise the consciousness of the people in the decision-making process so they actively think about having women.
All of my feminist buttons are being pushed lately. Post-university it was still a core part of my beliefs, it was latent…underground as other things received focus. Well – consider it rising to the surface again – the mysterious creature lurking beneath the glassy lake.
“If you are a woman and you bought this book for practical tips on how to make it in a male-dominated workplace, here they are. No pigtails, no tube tops. Cry sparingly. (Some people say, ‘Never let them see you cry.’ I say, if you’re so mad you could cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone.) When choosing sexual partners, remember: Talent is not sexually transmittable. Also, don’t eat diet foods in meetings.”
Dame Helen Mirren was recently honored with the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at the Hollywood Reporter‘s Annual Women in Entertainment breakfast. (Also – I can’t wait to see her as Prospera in Julie Taymor’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest–).
& then she gave a speech that made me giggle, frown & go “Hell yeah!”.