Read e-book online A Very Serious Thing: Women's Humor and American Culture PDF

By Nancy A. Walker

ISBN-10: 0816617023

ISBN-13: 9780816617029

A Very critical factor was first released in 1988. Minnesota Archive versions makes use of electronic know-how to make long-unavailable books once more available, and are released unaltered from the unique collage of Minnesota Press editions.

"It is a truly critical factor to be a humorous woman." –Frances Miriam Berry Whitcher

A Very severe Thing is the 1st book-length examine of part of American literature that has been regularly overlooked via students and underrepresented in anthologies—American women's funny writing. Nancy Walker proposes that the yankee funny culture to be redefined to incorporate women's humor in addition to men's, simply because, opposite to well known opinion, ladies do have a feeling of humor.

Her publication attracts on historical past, sociology, anthropology, literature, and psychology to posit that the explanations for overlook of women's funny expression are rooted in a male-dominated tradition that has formally denied girls the liberty and self-confidence necessary to the stand-up comedian. instead of a learn of person writers, the e-book is an exploration of relationships among cultural realities—including expectancies of "true womanhood"—and women's funny reaction to these realities.

Humorous expression, Walker keeps, is at odds with the culturally sanctioned perfect of the "lady," and lots more and plenty of women's humor turns out to just accept, whereas truly denying, this excellent. actually, such a lot of yankee women's funny writing has been a feminist critique of yank tradition and its attitudes towards ladies, in accordance with the author.

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Extra info for A Very Serious Thing: Women's Humor and American Culture

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The fact that gender roles have actually changed very little is evidenced in Bloomingdale's axiom, "If you want to please your mother, talk to her. "34 Mothers are to be "pleased," and enjoy listening; one "makes points" with fathers, who enjoy talking. To the extent that women's humor derives from experiences that must be survived— such as motherhood, waltzes with boors, and the double standard—it functions much as the humor of a racial or ethnic group does. The writer assumes the reader's familiarity with her topics and themes, and assumes further a shared discomfort or anger at the oppression they mutually endure.

The women's movement of the 1970s and 1980s has produced a large body of feminist humor that directly confronts the sources and issues of inequality, from cultural expectations for women's physical appearance, as in Nora Ephron's "A Few Words About Breasts" in Crazy Salad (1975), to Ellen Goodman's annual awards to the most sexist men in politics in her syndicated newspaper column. More commonly, however, women's humor has expressed its critique of American culture subtly, with authors and personae adopting a less confrontational and frequently an apparently self-deprecatory stance more in keeping with women's traditional status.

Here the speaker uses two voices, one to speak aloud to the man who asks her to dance and the other to provide the reader with her actual responses to the experience. The contrast between her polite "public" voice and her witty and angry "private" voice is both the source of the humor and a clear statement of woman's outward conformity and inward rebellion. The speaker's public voice begins the sketch by accepting the dance: "Why, thank you so much. " This socially correct exterior is immediately undercut by her private voice: I don't want to dance with him.

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A Very Serious Thing: Women's Humor and American Culture by Nancy A. Walker


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