Germaine Greer: Women Aren't As Funny As Men

If there’s one thing we’re sick of, it’s this debate. And this freaky picture.

So, Germaine Greer writes an essay in the Guardian in which she apologizes for saying on TV that women aren’t as funny as men. Then she says it some more, at great length. I won’t bother dispatching her somewhat disjointed argument because Kate Harding, in Salon, does so very ably, pointing out that Greer dances around, but doesn’t assert, the societal pressures that prevent women from honing those gifts generally considered comedic.

My primary reaction to these “debates” (and let it be said that the old saw prohibiting the analysis of comedy is, generally speaking, a good one) is…confusion. Because I find women really funny. Maybe I just have a taste for the “droll,” (which Greer distinguishes from the actually funny) but I don’t know who’s supposed to be funnier than Barbara Pym or Laurie Colwin or, yes, Austen, while the allegedly riotous antics of The Ginger Man and Tom Robbins have always left me cold – and don’t even get us started on Tina Fey or Carole Lombard. It’s not so much that men are funnier; it’s that the modern definition of “funny” seems to be a fundamentally masculine one – involving a lot of very aggressive antics – and by their own definition, sure, they’re better at it, but mostly because almost no woman I know wants to carry on like a Hunter S. Thompson character. You’d think Germaine Greer would agree.

Women aren’t funny, redux

Beaten to the punchline [Guardian]

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