I Want to be a Funny Girl

No. Strike that. I just want to be funny.

Sometimes I feel like I’m not very good at being a woman. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but it seems like today is a difficult time to figure out what being a woman actually means. The 20th century woman was a revolutionary. Sure, sure, that’s generalizing, and I hate that when it comes to gender norms, but take a look at the achievements women made during the 20th century: they managed to get the vote and look fierce doing it. I kid. But, really, while I am a fan of the 19th Amendment, I think it’s stupid. Women shouldn’t need an individual Amendment granting us the vote based on sex, much the same as those of other races shouldn’t have needed the 15th Amendment. But in this I-am-woman-hear-me-roar age of individualism and empowerment, where do you draw the line?

I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to being feminine. I spent my childhood tagging along behind my older brother, playing pick-up games of tackle football just as often as I played with my dolls. I’ve only recently gotten the hang of make-up, I rarely wear dresses, and I still loathe the color pink. But all of those are just things that society tells me I, as a woman, should like and appreciate. I like dressing up, but I get stressed out in formal situations. I think the key to being a woman is doing so on your own terms. But does that mean I focus on a career and wait to have kids? Have kids, keep my career, and let a nanny do most of the work? Quit my job and be a stay-at-home mom? Not have kids at all? I’m 20 years old; I shouldn’t have these concerns, but there just seems to be this societal and biological imperative to be all and do all and have it all.

It also comes down to the fact that I’m not a very good feminist. Give me equal pay and stop sexual, domestic, what-have-you assault (across the board, not just against women) and I’ll be a happy camper. I’m not going to get my knickers in a twist, paint myself pink, and march in every feminist protest. Let’s all be equal and call it a day.

Which is why I’ve been struggling a lot lately with my love for television and film.  Oh, Molly, you might think. Way to take this common cause and make it all about pop culture. What can I say, it’s a special skill. But, seriously. The number of female comedy writers, let alone female writers, is abysmally small. And, sure, a lot of the film industry is a “boys club”, but I’m sick of hearing that women aren’t funny. It’s a common lament: women aren’t funny. That’s bullshit. Women can be and have proven themselves to be just as witty, irreverent, thought-provoking, and hilarious as their male counterparts. But proving yourself to be funny is difficult no matter what gender you identify as. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there.

Still, it makes me sad to think that a Writer’s Guild Award for diversity can be awarded based solely on the fact that the writer in question had some ovaries. Regardless, it’s nice to find that the issue of women in comedy is being written about. There’s a discourse going on, however limited. It’s interesting, and heart-warming, and captivating, and inspiring for me to be able to read posts defending females in comedy; articles like this or blog posts like these.

Two major productions recently have really brought this issue to light. Those were Tina Fey’s book Bossypants and the just released film “Bridesmaids.” I absolutely adored Bossypants. I thought that Fey’s writing was both crisp and witty. I laughed out loud at multiple turns and actually found myself relating to Fey more frequently than I ever thought possible. On the other hand we have “Bridesmaids,” a movie with a cast of extraordinarily talented women. When I first saw the trailers for it, I was disappointed. It struck me as “The Hangover” for women. Did we really need our own? Could we not enjoy the raunchy comedy of “The Hangover” just the same as men? But then I thought about it: I know men who didn’t care for “The Hangover.” Just as surely as there will be women who don’t care for “Bridesmaids.” I recognize that I can’t really judge “Bridesmaids” yet, as I haven’t seen it. But, with a cast that talented, and an appreciation for comedy, I think I’ll give it a go. Support women in comedy. Hope that soon they become part of the norm, not the exception in the industry. Maybe one day I can count myself as one of them, doing some of the writing that goes into projects like “Bridesmaids” or Fey’s “30 Rock.”

And I want to love “Bridesmaids”, I really do, but from what I’ve seen so far, I’m not sold. As much as I love the entire cast, I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to get behind the premise. Because, from what I’ve seen so far, it has few to no dissimilarities with “The Hangover.” While I love that type of comedy, and am completely convinced that women could make a similarly and equally hilarious film, did the subject matter have to be the same? It also disheartens me that this film probably wouldn’t have been made without the support and involvement of Judd Apatow. I’m fully cognizant of the fact that women probably won’t get another comedic opportunity like this if “Bridesmaids” fails or flops. So, even though I’m not sure how much I’ll love it, I feel the need to support the work that went into it, and the hope that there will be many, many more efforts in a similar vein.

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One thought on “I Want to be a Funny Girl

  1. Hannah says:

    Sprinks I love this. So well written and your sentiments are spot on. Also, can I borrow Bossypants if you have it? 🙂

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