I have to disclose that the type of article I’m about to discuss makes me feel homicidal. This is an old article from 2007, and readers have pointed it out to us before, and I believe maybe Maria linked to it once? I don’t know, but it’s familiar. A reader, shre, sent us this link again: Vanity Fair’s Christopher Hitchens article entitled “Why Women Aren’t Funny.” Hitchens gets some help from Fran Lebowitz and Nora Ephron.
Hitchens describes how the ability to make women laugh is an evolutionary necessity for men to attract female mates. That’s completely stupid, despite his obligatory citation of a study he thinks backs it up. But this was the bit that really pissed me off. He’s talking about the ability to make a potential mate laugh:
Women have no corresponding need to appeal to men in this way. They already appeal to men, if you catch my drift.
Really? Let’s ask all the wallflower women who got shoved to the sidelines because the boys and later men didn’t notice them. Let’s ask all the fat girls who later lost the weight and noticed a helluva difference in how many men tripped over themselves to light their cigarettes. Let’s ask all the women whose bad acne cleared up. In short, what Hitchens means by “women” is “women who titillate my penis.” Like so many men, he isn’t even aware of the existence of physically unattractive women who, like physically unattractive men, sure could use an ability like humor as an alternate inroad with potential mates. But as long as men are uncomfortable with funny women, or feel upstaged by them, or just sort of fail to process that yes, Virginia, that’s hilarity coming out of a female larynx, being funny won’t get women anywhere with men.
So, extending Hitchens’ theory with logic, being funny helps men get to bed with women who are way cuter than they are, but women who would like to date men better-looking than themselves should not exist.
Otherwise, the article is not actually as heinous as the headline makes it sound. Hitchens states that women are often funny and make good comedians. His point is simply that men desperately need humor as an evolutionary advantage, but women don’t since we are all uniformly the tall thin Caucasian-featured double-E-titted silky-straight-haired perfect-skinned creatures that drooling manboyz (particularly in L.A.) feel entitled to be with. It’s his assumption that he can accurately assess the situation of women competing for men that stinks of male privilege. He’s in no position to know, as indeed he doesn’t know, but he thinks he knows, for he is a man.
And I can’t decide if this point is worse, or just sadder. The poor fool somehow missed the fact that this laugh:
I am talking about that real, out-loud, head-back, mouth-open-to-expose-the-full-horseshoe-of-lovely-teeth, involuntary, full, and deep-throated mirth; the kind that is accompanied by a shocked surprise and a slight (no, make that a loud) peal of delight
Is something women have been trained to manufacture for centuries, because, we were taught, you get yourself a man by appealing to his ego, and men like to think they’re funny, even though they usually aren’t. It’s the same reason women fake orgasms.
The male attempt to make women laugh is not about impressing women. It’s about men impressing themselves.