Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tina Fey and Feminism

Tina Fey has been writing for The New Yorker lately, and one of them has dealt with the difference between women and men in comedy writing, which has, since this past summer, become a debate on various comedy and feminism blogs, including Jezebel, which famously wrote an article on the lack of female writers and performers on The Daily Show
What Fey says about the difference is funny: men apparently piss in cups.  The analogy she draws, that yes, some women comedians aren't funny, but it is only a minority that are not funny and is the only thing that people (I suspect, men) notice about female comedians. 
The thing that bothers me is what Fey says next: that men are clueless about women's lives.  She simply uses this an explanation for why male comedians/writers are not interested in "women-centric" comedy.  But of course, why are men oblivious to women's condition?  Because they live in a man's world.  Men do not have to deal with what it is like to be a woman in part because they never encounter anything outside their own existence as men.  One of the places where men do not usually have to encounter anything outside of their existence?  Comedy. 
The reason there has been so much discussion about women in comedy is because it is so male-centric.  So much of comedy is written for men, by men.  Even when a women writes for comedy, they still end up writing for men.  Men love comedy, and maybe if they were forced to encounter women and women's humor (especially about things that did not confirm to misogynistic views of women) they would understand women better and not be so "clueless."

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