Society doesn’t always make it easy to be taken seriously when you’re a woman or gender non-conforming person. Women struggle to be taken seriously in most career paths, and as we learn in new video from People, comediennes are no exception to this insanely frustrating rule. Emmy nominated comediennes Tracee Ellis Ross, Samantha Bee, and Kate McKinnon talk to People about “why men aren’t funny” inspired by the untrue and exhausting question always asked of women, “can women be funny?”
For women in comedy, it’s all too easy for people to discount their humor and accuse them of being “grating” and “shrill,” as Samantha Bee explains. Often in comedy, a strong sense of sexism permeates the industry and are biased against seeing women as funny. As Tracee Ellis Ross jokes, “When I think of stories about men, I think… kitchen.”
This is a perfect example of the sort of sexist comments women in comedy hear on a regular basis. The assumption that women’s lives (which are, presumably, fodder for their comedy) revolve around stereotypically feminine tasks, like cooking or cleaning, relies on seriously antiquated gender norms. It also hinges on the idea that women are incapable of reflecting on their own lives with humor devices, like irony or satire, and are unable to make their lives relatable to a general audience. That’s why it’s so important and empowering to support our fellow women in all endeavors, including comedy and entertainment.