#1 of 4 Pop Culture Arguments That Need to be Retired
Women Aren't as Funny as Men
What You Say:
"I'm not sexist, or anything, I'm just asking: would Stripes have been as good had it starred Meryl Streep instead of Bill Murray? No, probably not. And I think it comes down to the gender roles that are assigned to us as children; boys are rewarded for being funny, girls are rewarded for being pretty. Society just happens to value- [and then whatever they say next. My brain actually shuts off whenever people start a sentence with 'Society' so I never know how these arguments end.]."
What You (Unconsciously) Mean
"A woman made me laugh in a movie and instead of just accepting that she was funny, I decided to hold this public discussion on the idea of funny women, because one time I read an article that talked about pre-assigned gender roles and I'd really like to tell everyone about it."
People love talking about whether or not women are funny. I don't know why. At some point when I was a kid, I, like you, met a girl who was funny and was like "Oh, case closed," and that should have been the end of it, but it wasn't. Comedy supersite Splitsider hosts this discussion a lot. It was covered in the New York Post as recently as June. 30 Rock did a whole episode about it last week.
I'm just so tired of it.
"A new study says women can also tell jokes? You don't say."
There are lots of people who are smarter and all around kinder than me, and I'm sure their reasons for wanting to end the "Are women funny?" argument are sensitive and important (sexism, and so on). I don't have any meaningful reasons; I'm just absolutely sick of this argument. It has been covered so often and from so many different angles that everything -- everything -- has already been said on the topic. Every new discussion can't help but being a round-up of past talking points, and if you still need to ask if women are funny, then there is no information that I could possibly bring you to change your mind.
The problem is that the people who have this argument don't actually want to change any minds; they just like having this particular argument. Over and over again. And, to be clear, my problem isn't that the argument is idiotic (though it is); my problem is that it's boring. I'm sick of seeing articles titled "Are Funny WomenFinally Mainstream?" and "Finally, a Hangover Movie for Girls" and "Look! Boobs that Joke!" every time a female-centric comedy does well at the box office.