Funny Girl
October 20, 2017 3:34 PM   Subscribe

"There was an expectation that girls would be quieter. And wouldn't ruin their dresses and wouldn't be roughhousing and cracking jokes in church," she says. "And I was very often doing a lot of those things," thanks in part to her father's encouragement to let her be what she was: funny. Today we encourage our daughters to be ambitious and athletic, opinionated and outspoken. We want them focused on STEM and outfitted in T-shirts that read, "Who runs the world? Girls." But what if raising truly empowered girls also means raising funny ones? What if we teach our daughters that humor is their turf — just as much as any boy's? -- Want to raise an empowered girl? Then let her be funny. (By Ellen McCarthy, Washington Post)
posted by Room 641-A (9 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Encourage our sons to value humor in their girlfriends and girl friends.

And their sisters! My just-turned-10 daughter is hilarious (she likes Lily Singh, Samantha Bee, Liza Koshy, etc.) and her brother is one of her main audiences. He is...not always kind to her jokes. Fortunately, she has an awesome response: "Quit crapping on my joy!" I'm so glad we live in a time when she can find funny women online, and realize that there's nothing wrong with her sense of humor!
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:57 PM on October 20, 2017 [29 favorites]

One of the many things I am glad I inherited from my father is the instinct about exactly how and when to puncture a tense situation with exactly the right kind of joke. He is, like, a wizard at that - he's defused some moments at family reunions when there was a bit of an elephant in the room by saying exactly the right thing to get everyone laughing together about the situation, while also signalling to the person who feels like they're on the outs that "aw, we're not mad you, goofball, it's all good." I inherited the instinct to try to do that, and I'm still trying to perfect the what-to-say eloquence.

Humor can also be vitally important for group morale, in addition to empowring women.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:52 PM on October 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

One of the things I‘ve always loved about my daughter was the way she‘d crack off the wall, straightfaced jokes. And I told her that, often, in the hopes of fostering that sense of humor. So far it‘s working nicely! I love it when she cracks me up.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:56 AM on October 21, 2017

I think I’ve maybe raised a good son? When his girlfriend is around, they mostly cuddle & tell each other dumb jokes & laugh their asses off. My daughter will call me from Florida in the middle of the day randomly to tell me some dumb pun she just heard, & I make sure to blast her with dad jokes whenever possible during these exchanges. Hearing my kids laugh makes me feel I’ve done something right as a parent.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:59 AM on October 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

But when Robert Provine, a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County, camped out at food courts and campus quads documenting instances of laughter, he found that men got the most laughs.

"Both men and women are more likely to laugh if a male is talking to them," says Provine, author of "Laughter: A Scientific Investigation."
I've had a number of female friends remark that they feel super-funny with me (also a woman) because I laugh at their jokes, which I always find surprising because many of my friends are really funny and it seemed weird that other people weren't laughing at their jokes. I'm sad, though not really surprised, to see that it's gendered.
posted by lazuli at 9:23 AM on October 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

*drops pants, sprays seltzer bottle, steps on rake*
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:17 AM on October 21, 2017

One of the only good things my dad ever taught me was that I am fucking hilarious. I give him very little, but I give him that.
posted by padraigin at 10:05 PM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

padraigin - that has so much been my experience, as well. In addition, I can see that my sense of humor is mostly inherited from my father, and it's the one part of him that it never bothers me to recognize in myself.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:20 PM on October 22, 2017

"There was an expectation that girls would be quieter. And wouldn't ruin their dresses and wouldn't be roughhousing and cracking jokes in church,"

Beyond being "feminine", people have issues with women pointing out the flaws of men, and laughing at them. One of the few times I felt physically unsafe was when a douchebro thought I was laughing at him (I wasn't, he was too stupid to get my unrelated joke).

He was huge. He stood super close to me, towering over me and yelling "what did you just say???" and for a second I thought he was going to punch me. Thankfully his wife calmed him down but jeez.

After this I did mock him for being an insecure idiot and he was too embarrassed to react (yay).
posted by Tarumba at 8:24 AM on October 27, 2017

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