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Feminist Jokes

They say feminists lack a sense of humor.  It's not clear that the
following file will completely dispel that unfortunate and unfounded
notion, but it may help Women's Studies professors looking for some
feminist humor to liven up the classroom.  The discussion took place
on WMST-L in October 2003.  For additional WMST-L files available on
the Web, see the WMST-L File Collection.


Date: Sat, 25 Oct 2003 08:44:31 -0400
From: Kathy Miriam <kmim AT EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: feminist jokes
 Hi all,
I just had an inspiration- of starting my feminism and philosophy classes
with jokes..
can any of you pass on your favorite feminist jokes?

Kathy Miriam
kmim  AT  earthlink.net


Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 21:12:53 +0800
From: Sasha Wasley <Sasha AT RAZZED.NET>
Subject: Re: feminist jokes
Q. How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb?

A. None. It's not the lightbulb that needs changing.

Sasha Wasley
Murdoch University Western Australia
sasha  AT  razzed.net


Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 08:50:03 -0800
From: Gillian Wickwire <gillianwickwire AT HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: feminist jokes
Guerrilla Girls' Pop Quiz: 

Q. If February is Black History Month and March is Women's History
Month, what happens the rest of the year?

A. Discrimination.

For more jokes, posters, etc. go to the guerrilla girls website.

Gillian Wickwire, Emory University, gwickwi  AT  emory.edu

Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 09:42:08 -0400
From: Rebecca Howard <howardra AT MUOHIO.EDU>
Subject: Re: feminist jokes
Q: How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A:  That's not funny!

Interesting this topic has come up.  I have a student who is doing
her senior thesis on Women and Comedy, and we were discussing the
other day the perception arising from the "early days" of second-wave
feminism (and persisting still) that feminists have no sense of
humor.  We talked about the expression of anger and frustration, and
the rejection of misogynist humor, that the media overgeneralized
into an assumption that feminists couldn't take a joke.  Problem is,
we were having trouble finding any resources referring to that
specific "feminists aren't funny" phenomena.  I would bet that Off
Our Backs had some type of article about humor at some point, but I
wasn't able to find a searchable archive of their work (and they
don't show up on many article indexes and databases--imagine that).
Does anyone out there know of any material that addresses the issue
of the stereotypical humorless feminist?


Rebecca Howard
Visiting Instructor/Chief Divisional Adviser, Miami University
113 Peabody Hall
Oxford, OH  45056
howardra  AT  muohio.edu


Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 08:44:23 -0600
From: Gerri Gribi <gerri AT CREATIVEFOLK.COM>
Subject: Re: Feminist jokes
Lots of good stuff in the book IN STITCHES: A Patchwork of Feminist
Humor and Satire. Edited by Gloria Kaufman. Indiana U Press, 1991.

:-) Gerri
Gerri Gribi     gerri  AT  creativefolk.com
PO Box 8021  Green Bay, WI  54308
Phone & Fax (920) 437-7373
Women's Studies & Folk Music Resources: http://CreativeFolk.com
African American Studies Toolkit: http://AfroAmericanHeritage.com
Listen to my music Online!


Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 06:59:22 -0800
From: Jessica Nathanson <janathanson AT YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Re: feminist jokes
I don't actually remember any feminist *jokes*, but I
do have some source ideas.  Check out
http://www.ginabarreca.com.  Regina Barreca wrote
"They Used to Call Me Snow White...But I Drifted,"
which is about women's strategic use of humor and
includes some very funny stories.  Roz Warren also has
some collections of women's humor (both cartoon and
stand-up).  There are also some collections of
specifically lesbian humor, including at least one
edited by Warren (I'm thinking of Dyke Strippers,
which is a collection of work by lesbian / bisexual
cartoonists), and Silverleaf's Choice:  An Anthology
of Lesbian Humor -- see

There are many more, but my collection is packed away
in a box somewhere.

And of course, Dykes to Watch Out For...

Jessica Nathanson

Jessica Nathanson, Ph.D. American Studies
Concentration, Women's Studies
Adjunct Instructor, English Department, Augustana College
janathanson  AT  yahoo.com


Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 10:55:22 -0500
From: "wompresses AT litwomen.org" <wompresses AT LITWOMEN.ORG>
Subject: Re: feminist jokes
you might also try old recordings or Robin Tyler, the recordings of
kate Clinton, and the new wve of lesbian comedians -- Cassella,
Westonhofer, and many others. look at www.ladyslipper.org


Mev Miller, Ed.D., Coordinator
182 Riverside Ave.
Cranston, RI 02910
401-383-4374 (fax)
welearn  AT  litwomen.org


Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 17:11:49 -0500
From: Sandra Basgall <sbasgall AT VERMONTEL.NET>
Subject: Re: feminist jokes
The purpose of humor which looks at specific groups is to make fun of
that group and help maintain the status quo.  This type of humor only
works if there are these stereotyped perceptions of a specific group.
To see if humor is stereotyped, try changing the gender, race, religion,
etc. and if if does not work when you do that, then you are playing to
the stereotype and helping to maintain those false images.

Sandra Basgall

Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 10:17:32 +0100
From: Judith Ezekiel <ezekiel AT UNIV-TLSE2.FR>
Subject: Humor
There was an issue of Ms, I think, that had a
cover that said something like: "Do you know
feminists don't have a sense of humor?" and the
answer, "No, but if you hum a few lines..." etc.
Judith Ezekiel
ezekiel  AT  univ-tlse2.fr
Equipe Simone-SAGESSE
Universite de Toulouse-le-Mirail


Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 09:03:43 EST
From: TsunamiInc AT AOL.COM
Subject: Re: feminist jokes
I don't have any feminist jokes per se, but I do have a lot of funny songs.
Feminists like my work. You can catch me in November with Girls Gone Funny
(Deirdre Flint and Carla Ulbrich) in PA, MA, ME, NH, NY and VT. There's a complete
tour schedule at www.jamieanderson.com.

I get different reactions to my songs depending on the setting. I have a
funny song about body image, "All of Me," that contains many things I was told
about my body like "Girls with fat asses shouldn't wear blue jeans" then ends
with a verse saying how much I like my body now. At one show, a guy cheered at
the line about blue jeans only to be saying "Oh" at the end of the song.
Sometimes in academic settings, I get looks of disapproval from some in the audience
until they see the direction the song is headed. It's a risk with satire.

-- Jamie

Jamie Anderson
singer-songwriter-parking lot attendant
www.jamieanderson.com and www.mp3.com/jamieanderson
"She is singing some wonderful songs." -- Holly Near
4201 University Dr., Ste. 102, Box 417, Durham, NC, 27707
919-489-9609, jamie  AT  jamieanderson.com


Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 09:40:04 -0600
From: JoAnn Castagna <joann-castagna AT UIOWA.EDU>
Subject: Re: feminist jokes
The responses to the question about starting classes with a joke have
not included any discussion about whether this is a good idea.  While
I can imagine that a subject like feminism and philosophy may seem so
"serious" that some relief of tension at the beginning of class seems
appropriate, I'm not so sure that this is the best way to begin
class--I've been impressed by Murray Sperber's observations about how
especially at state universities/colleges we've moved away from
education as a serious and worthy pursuit to providing entertainment
and (ultimately) the "credential" of a degree rather than real

But I do understand that it's nice to have a way to begin class, and I
have always started classes (of every sort, from literature classes to
Women and Work) by reading students a poem.  There's not enough poetry
in our daily lives, I think, and while I hope that most of us can
bring humor into our lives, we aren't all poets.  The poem served as a
transition from whatever came before the class to class, a shared
experience but one that wasn't discussed, though I was often able to
choose a poem that made some slanting comment on the day's planned
discussion/topic.  JoAnn Castagna joann-castagna  AT  uiowa.edu


Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 10:48:11 -0500
From: Jeannie Ludlow <jludlow AT BGNET.BGSU.EDU>
Subject: Re: feminist jokes
Hi all,
I agree with JoAnn about thinking through the strategy of using jokes
to begin a class.  If an analysis of the roles humor plays in our
social structures is a topic of inquiry, then by all means, use
jokes.  I invite students to bring gender-focused jokes to class, for
example, when I do the unit on gender stereotyping in my intro
courses.  We talk about how humor plays multiple roles in our social
contruction of gender.

I also like to use poetry, and I like to bring other arts to class,
too.  Visual arts are pretty easily accessed if you are near a
library with a good collection of art books.  And (following Jamie
Anderson's lead), music is also a good way to open up a topic.  I
know that students often hear a lot of music (unlike, perhaps,
poetry), but I'm not sure they hear music that is critical of
dominant social structures--and I know most of my students don't
listen to the same stuff I listen to!

So, while jokes can be very good topic-opening devices, I would also
put in a plug for other arts, too.


Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 11:19:33 -0500
From: Gill Wright Miller <millerg AT DENISON.EDU>
Subject: Re: feminist jokes
If we were to start with poetry or music, would we need to include an
analysis of the roles art plays in our social structures as a topic of
inquiry ?
Is it enough to let our students know we can laugh at ourselves?  Does
it help to sense that jokes are often at someone's expense, and that
someone may be a stereotyped imagine?  And if it is a stereotype, where
does that stereotyping come from, and what political work does it do?
I can imagine starting with jokes might allow the class to get off toa
good start by introducing many other kinds of issues besides/in
addition to humor?

I will admit that I regret we believe we can all introduce arts
activities as if they were the academician's "legitimate" replacement
for entertainment ...

Gill Wright Miller, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Dance and Women's Studies
Millerg  AT  denison.edu


Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 11:27:31 -0500
From: Jane Curry <76351.2434 AT COMPUSERVE.COM>
Subject: Re: feminist jokes
In addition to the works of Regina Barreca, which I heartily endorse, you
might also have your student look at Nancy Walker's _A Very Serious Thing:
Women's Humor and American Culture_(1988); _Last Laughs: Perspectives on
Women and Comedy_, edited by Barreca (1988); _Women's Comic Visions_, edited
by June Sochen (1991); _American Women Humorists: Critical Essays_, edited
by Linda Morris (1994); the introduction to _Redressing the Balance:
American Women's Literary Humor From Colonial Times to the 1980s_, edited by
Nancy Walker and Zita Dresner (1988).

Also for interviews of women comedians, _Spare Ribs: Women in the Humor Biz_
by Denise Collier & Kathleen Beckett (1980).  There are two collections,
_Women's Glib_ and Women's Glibber_ edited by Roz Warren, that don't
explicitly address the question of "feminists aren't funny" but offer
examples of women's humor that is often feminist.

Problem is, we were having trouble finding any rescources referring to that
specific "feminists aren't funny" phenomena...Does anyone out there know of
any material that addresses the issue of the stereotypical humorless

Jane Curry
jane  AT  janecurry.com
Minneapolis, MN
Nice Girls Don't Sweat
Miz Wizard's Science Secrets
Samantha "Rastles" the Woman Question
Just Say Know: Educating Females for the 21st Century
**NEW**Sisters of the Quill and Skillet


Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 15:36:32 -0800
From: Regina Lark <rlark AT WOMEN.UCLA.EDU>
Subject: Feminist jokes
Greetings -

Check out this docu-comedy making the rounds at various OUTFEST Film
Festivals in the U.S. (from a Portland, OR, festival guide): "Celebrated
comedians Kate Clinton, Suzanne Westenhoefer, Marga Gomez, and Karen
Williams are four unique veteran performers with different backgrounds,
identities, ethnicity and economic status. There are two things they do
have in common: All four are professional standup comedians, and all four
have been out lesbian comedians the entire duration of their careers, even
before it was fashionable to do so. LAUGHING MATTERS is a humorous and
insightful documentary showcasing these four hilarious comedians. Directors
Andrea Meyerson and Nancy Rosenblum touch on each icons presence, with
one-on-one interviews that offer a behind the scenes look at the
personalities off stage, revealing some hilarious stories, as well as solo
performance highlights. The comedians discuss their upbringing, struggles,
triumphs, and what it's like coming out and being out as a performer.
LAUGHING MATTERS shows us how these four women became role models in the
queer community, as well as icons for other mainstream performers." (2003
USA 60 min Video English)

  While this film won't be helpful to you in the classroom now, it's
insightful and funny and Karen Williams is just a hoot! It will be
available on DVD in July 2004 from Wolfe Video - so look for it for your
class next fall!

Regina Lark
UCLA Center for the Study of Women
rlark  AT  women.ucla.edu


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