Sunday, 16 October 2011

A funny word: BOOBS!

Scientific progress is a wonderful thing. It has given us radiotherapy, solar power, flatscreen TVs, and a weekly excuse for the Daily Mail to tell you that it's okay to eat chocolate - it'll probably cure cancer!

And now, brand spanking new research, straight out of a white-coaty laboratory, has brought a shocking revelation down from the mountain: contrary to overwhelming popular belief, women are not in fact genetically incapable of humour.


Not only can women be funny - not only can they be paid for being funny, in a job so damn manly that they had to make up a special word for it when women got in on the game - but they can be physically attractive at the same time. Go read for yourself; I couldn't believe it either.
Anna Faris, Mila Kunis,  and Olivia Munn all combine funny bones with bangin’ bodies.
And the world stood in awe, standing in mute amazement with open jaws as this unthinkable truth was handed down to them.
Joining the lineup is Carrie Keagan, [who said an in interview] “At the end of the day, funny is funny, and the antiquated boys’ club mentality is sooo last year’s Prada. People are realizing that you don’t have to have a penis to tell a joke about one. The mentality that funny and sexy can’t go together is on its way out, because trying to be sexy is pretty damn funny!"
1. Fact. Also, handbags! Which girls like!
2. Fact. Also, penises! Which bad girls like!
3. Fact. I hope this will lead to lots of jokes about the inherent ridiculousness of performative gender.

But Keagan et al didn't come out of nowhere. Some of our favorite “old-skool” sitcom stars like Jennifer Aniston, Jane Krakowski and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have transformed themselves in recent years from somewhat awkward to stylish sex symbols.
Of course I had The Rachel Cut. Like you didn't.
Because we all remember what a minger Jennifer Aniston was on Friends, right? She didn't spawn a million haircuts or a trillion wank fantasies? Comedy Central's rerunning of the entire series (Friends: will it ever end?) will give you ample opportunity to recall how Rachel was always portrayed as the shrewish unsexy one. Bleurgh, we said, whenever she came onscreen, wearing her trademark boiler suit and scowly demeanour.
 “For women, frump isn’t funny any longer. The new female comedian has to be the sexual aggressor, sexually provocative, dominant and successful," says entertainment expert Patrick Wanis.
Oh good. That definitely sounds like progress.
Wanis also says funny women who aren't all that sexy may struggle in the new comedy landscape.
As opposed to in ever other landscape in showbusiness, or indeed the world, where being sexy has never been a requirement for women.
“Rosie O’Donnell and Janeane Garofalo will be relegated to playing the female versions of Chris Farley. Hollywood doesn’t want a woman that is not sexually enticing like Rosie; it wants the sexual alpha female."
What does this mean, though, for the future of 30 Rock? After all, it's been trading for a full five seasons on the fuglitude of its lead character, Liz Lemon - it's so funny how icky she is! Which is why she will die sad and alone! Because of the ugly!

Similarly, let's just pause for a moment to appreciate the unbearable grotesquitude that is Janeane Garofalo's hideous, man-repelling, un-sexually-enticing face.


While all stereotypes are irritating, damaging, and often dangerous, there are some that completely flummox me with their sheer preposterousness: like, I don't believe that women are inherently more 'nurturing' than men, but I can sort of see the link between 'cis women can bear children' and 'cis women are therefore good at looking after people'. But humour? How does that work? Women, with their slightly higher proportion of body fat - that known laughter-killer! - maybe it surrounds the funny muscle and inhibits its growth? As opposed to gentlemen, with their abundance of testosterone: the 'haha' hormone!

All this brings to mind that line about women's greatest fear being that men will kill them, while men's greatest fear is that women will laugh at them: if you can convince the ladies that they're just not funny anyway, maybe they won't try.

Call me contrary, but I'd say that women - and anyone else outside the richwhitecisabledhet mainstream - have a lot more to laugh about. Humour is often based on the ridiculous, and there's nothing more ridiculous than systemic oppression. It's a pretty standard 'gotta laugh or you'll cry' situation, so go make yourself look pretty while you watch last week's Parks & Recreation. Remember, with comedy, as with everything else, if you're not hot, you're not doing it right.

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