Friday, December 8, 2006

Are Women Funny ?

Have a look at Christopher Hitchens' article from the January 2007 Vanity Fair "Why Women Aren't Funny." (Hat tip: Tigerhawk). The article is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but does have a point, which is (very boiled down), that men are funnier because they have to be: "Women have no corresponding need to appeal to men in this way. They already appeal to men, if you catch my drift." Men are funnier, Mr. Hitchens says, becuase they ". . .have to pretend, to themselves as well as to women, that they are not the servants and supplicants. Women. . .have to affect not to be the potentates. This is the unspoken compromise."
Mr. Hitchens also opines that women are quicker to spot the unfunny, because "[m]en will laugh at almost anything, often precisely because it is -- or they are -- extremely stupid. Women aren't like that."
But the most important thing to bear in mind about this whole piece is that El Jefe didn't write it. (SWMBO, take note).


louielouie said...

They already appeal to men, if you catch my drift."

an adult themed KoC?
break out that james bond collection DVD set.......we're watching Goldfinger tonight!!!!

Candidly Caroline said...

You knew I was going to have to post a comment on this one, right?
A while back I actually wrote a column on the differences between women and men's humor, and then posted it on my blog. Researchers found essentially this: Women are analytical and discriminating in determining if something is funny. Men - not so much so.
I don't know how to do fancy links but it's on my "Single and All that Implies" page, for obvious reasons.
I will agree that most women find humor to be very important to relationships. We want men to be able to make us laugh when things get hard or when an argument starts to get too deep. It can make a huge difference in the success of a relationship.
I think one thing I noticed in this article, though, is it's not so much that men need to be funny to be attractive to women but that people in general use humor to make themselves attractive. Granted, women do tend to focus on their physical appearance to attract men (because no matter how much we fight it, the world pretty much tells us we still have to) but we also use our personalities - gasp! personalities! - to woo men. While perhaps it is more often that men use humor to attract the opposite sex, I have definitely seen it the other way, particularly in women who feel they need to prove themseles a little more. I guess that is what I am getting at - whoever feels in the "one down" position (whether or not really true) and regardless of sex is often the one to use humor to her or his advantage. Does that make sense?

El Jefe Maximo said...

That makes very good sense...particularly the part about whoever is in the "one down" spot perhaps resorting to humor more.

Humor is also useful, as you point out, for sliding around arguments and unpleasantness.

You're right about personalities: I really don't think beauty or appearance can keep one in the "interesting" category for long without a personality to go with it. Still, coming from the low end of the beauty/attractiveness gene pool myself, I would observe (as I do when told that money isn't everything) -- that being good looking sure helps.