Can’t we women, be as funny as men?
Sometime ago, I was invited to judge a humorous elocution competition organised by a college. The speakers were good, the topics crazy and the atmosphere lively, as it can only be in colleges. Yet I was depressed. Because of the 10 speakers, only one was a girl. Made me wonder why the female of the species is more interested in speaking on nuclear disarmament for peaceful co-existence and the three-language formula for national integration. It must be because girls are more serious-minded than boys and in their bid to excel, miss out on the lighter side of campus life.
Come to think of it– womankind seems to be left with a minor share of the funny bone. Take writers. You have a number of dailies sporting columns by humorists like George Menezes C.L. Proudfoot, Abu Abraham, Busybee and a host of others. To add to this, cartoonists Laxman and Mario sublimate the ridiculous.
And what do women write about? A lady columnist cries herself hoarse, decrying Doordarshan and AIR trying to be funny but ending up whining. Why can’t women drop the mantle of reformists and be humorists for a change? Do we have a female Woodhouse or Thorne Smith or Richard Gordon? Women prefer writing on the morbid aspects of life and the whiffs of humour that we get from Jane Austens are too few for one to sit back and chuckle at. Why don’t we have a lady Jeeves or a woman Bertram Wooster? Oh! How much we miss out, trying to prove we take life seriously.
Talking of women Emcees. Those that are there now are more to show off their cleavage and long legs! At beauty contests dashing men with booming voices are preferred for asking naughty questions
of the contestants and making lewd remarks. Why can’t women be asked to Emcee the shows instead? Even if they do, the focus is on their skimpy clothes and syrupy smiles. I guess it’s because they end up sounding poetic and mushy and could not dream of cracking a ‘sultry’ joke. Even on TV for a sports or science quiz, men are sought after while women are supposed to handle only the microphone and simper every now and then. I have yet to meet a lady stand up comedian.
In films, women would rather be weeping willows or bare all, than be comedians. Few who ventured have not lasted long. Hollywood can boast of a few Barbara Streisand but even they don’t have a female Bob Hope.
There is something wrong with our psyche. It’s high time we sat up and activated our funny bone. We have said a lot about equality and liberation. If we claim to be on par with the men, we should prove that we can be as funny as they are and can take a joke as good as Jim can.
If my fairy godmother were to grant me a wish, I’d ask for wit and leave wisdom alone – in a world of poverty and misery, what greater wealth can there be than the ability to laugh and make others laugh!