• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Difference Gender Makes to Humour and Comedy in Contemporary British Culture.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Difference Gender Makes to Humour and Comedy in Contemporary British Culture. The purpose of this essay is to look at the difference gender makes to humour and comedy in contemporary British culture. It will do this by firstly looking at the history of women's humour. It will then explore the production of humour and comedy, and then the consumption of humour and comedy with gender differences. Humour is a universal human characteristic which all cultures posses. In the British society it is important to have humour, it is seen as a demonstration of health and well being. Gindele states of humour: 'even laughter is a sign: it can signify pleasure, "detached" amusement, and anxiety'.(1994, p159). Humour is a way of relieving tension. Theorists such as Wagg (1998), say that all clowns were male in the 1940's, for example Charlie Chaplin and Max Miller. Even a cursory glance through the archives of popular British comedy between the 1930's and the advent of 'alternative comedy' in the 1980's reveals both a numerical lack of roles for female comics and that the available roles fulfil a relatively narrow range of comic stereotypes. (Porter,1998, p.65). According to Alice Sheppard (1995), women rarely ranked among important comedians. It was in the 19th century that some female writers became humorists, but it was more problematic for female comics. Porter says there is a lack of early documentation of comic performers, she argues that this is because there were fewer female comics or they were written out of history. ...read more.

Middle

According to Freud 'jokes are the sublimated outlets of the expression of both hostility and sexual desire'. (Gindele, 1994, p.140). Women are the butt of men's dirty jokes and become 'objects'. Finney (1994) argues that its evident from men's dirty jokes that women are shown to be inadequate by referring to the sexual and domestic services they offer for men. 'They become objects designed to cater for the needs of men'.(Legman, 1968, p.136). Jo Brand (1998) feels that men don't have any respect for women. Legman says that this is clear in jokes, which are about humorous definitions of womanhood or female roles. Jokes are perceived to be merely a vehicle for expressing views about women. Chapman and Gadfield (1976) found that this objectification of women made them feel less threatened by women as their social status rose. Although theorists such as McGhee and Wagg prove that women are the butt of the joke, Plamer (1994) argues that women prefer the butt of a joke to be female, regardless of the theme. This is supported by Zillman and Stocking's (1976) finding that 'women prefer self-disparaging humour regardless of whether the self mocker is male or female, whereas men prefer humour that mocks somebody else, especially when the other is female'.(Palmer, 1976, p.69). McGhee says that the role of self-disparagement can be seen in the routines of professional comedians. Jo Brand is a female comedian who self-disparages herself; she constantly refers to body size and eating. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this essay has demonstrated the differences gender makes to humour and comedy by looking at the changes it has gone through and examining the production and consumption of humour and comedy in contemporary British culture. When we look at early humour and comedy, theorists such as Wagg and Porter show that there were very few female humorists and comedians. Differences in humour appear to start from a very early age, as Sheppard found that humour is not an appropriate form of behaviour from young girls whilst it is from boys. McGhee found that women were brought up to act in the correct way in public and so this is why they laugh at jokes which are not funny, as it is the right thing to do in a particular situation. Jo brand says that men do not respect women and so they are treated as objects, this is why men laugh at women and women self-disparage themselves, as they know that men are viewing them as objects. According to Wagg men feel under threat from women as their social status has risen. So although inequalities are lessening, women will always be 'joked' about by men because it makes men feel that they are still in control of women. The main difference that gender makes to humour and comedy is that women feel the need to self-disparage themselves whilst men joke about women and sex. Today there are many more female humorists and comedians and, as inequalities decrease, the differences in humour decrease and women can laugh and joke about men, but they will always self-disparage themselves. ?? ?? ?? ?? 6 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Gender difference

    Those boys that are naturally clever, that have the potential to achieve, choose not to achieve because they choose to follow their friends. Their submission to peer pressure could be an underlying source to this issue. * Labelling- teachers sometimes, perhaps unknowingly, label students into certain categories depending on their gender.

  2. roles of men and women in contemporary British society

    Having looked at the brief description of gender, Sayers states that biology is crucial when it comes to showing differences between men and women, and also that the understanding of social backgrounds and social behaviours throughout the centuries is a critical factor.

  1. Discuss the ways in which situation comedy can be analysed in ideological terms

    share a similar narrative pattern in the way that the comedy is derived. Only Fools and Horses sees a traditional comedy approach to the sitcom and shows a working class family living in Peckham, London. It epitomizes the dysfunctional family and the ways in which they live.

  2. What makes debate surrounding masculinity so contentious?

    and masculinity is and will remain contentious because the society holds fixed theories of sex/gender. And these theories may be different from the action and lifestyle that our men choose to live by. The ideological frame work of what is masculinity will be explored in light of the existing perspectives on masculinity.

  1. To what extent, and in what ways, is the enjoyment of public space compromised ...

    In analysing the use of playground space, where teacher authoritarian surveillance is limited, Valentine (2000) conveys the importance of understanding how young people need access to public space as much as adults. Notably a 'spatial marking of gender' was witnessed as young men would be expected to display physical strength

  2. Changing Family in British Contemporary Society.

    In analysis to the functionalists view on the family, most critics question such an idealised view of happy families meeting the needs of society. Some examples could be families experiencing poverty, as they maybe unable to produce a strong workforce, often relying on government intervention.

  1. What did Hoggart and other British cultural critics see the "juke box boys" (Hoggart, ...

    standards" (Caughie, 1986 p.194).* Television hours were limited to a few hours a day: an act of protectionism. The contrast between what the public wanted and what was BBC's policy of educational entertainment was to be challenged by the first private channel.

  2. The essay will interpret inequalities in health among the sub-populations of socio-economic class position, ...

    as shown in table one, that mortality levels of men and women of working age in the lowest social class is 2.5 times higher than those in the highest social class. Table 1. Death rates and ratios by social class, 15-64 years, England and Wales, 1971 Class Men Women Ratio

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work