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Have women lost their sense of humour?

What is funny and what isn’t? When is a joke a joke? Mrs Woog explores.
Have women lost their sense of humour?

You would have to have been enjoying some sort of screen ban this week if you haven’t heard the story of Eddie Maguire and Caroline Wilson. I am not even going to comment on the saga, because I think everything has already been said. However, one theme that kept coming up was the notion of “Cannot take a joke…”

Here are a few little nuggets of fun that I found in the comment section of mainstream news Facebook Page. Interestingly enough, they were both penned by women.

Feel sorry for blokes who’s woman can’t take a joke and potential still live in the 80s and expect you to be the bread winner but still want equal rights and have an opinion about everything and then get offended by everything.

Wish you didn’t apologise Eddie – Caroline Wilson – needs to take a cement pill – if the same joke was about another male journalist would we be hearing anything?!

I think a sense of humour is like any of our other senses. Take hearing for example. Some people can hear a dog barking in the next state, where as some folk are completely deaf. Senses are described as dull and sharp, and that is also true of our sense of humour.

My favourite comedians are all women. Think Amy Schumer, Magda Szubasnski, Wendy Harmer and Chelsea Handler. Think Julia Morris, Judith Lucy and Jean Kittson. All hilarious and all unique in their style. Some are completely crass, while some are witty and clever, but they all make me laugh, because I get the joke.

Judith Lucy, Wendy Harmer and Jean Kittson.

But I understand what is funny to me, may not be funny to others. Jokes are very subjective, I get this. A bit like art. Walk into an art exhibition and you are likely to love it, loathe it or be indifferent. Either way, it provokes a reaction in you, a feeling. With our sense of humour, it is exactly the same, expect we laugh, we shrug or lately, it appears that we get outraged.

So what is funny and what isn’t? When is a joke a joke?

A few weeks ago, my wife tells me that on her birthday she wants me to treat her like a princess. So on the big day, I got her drunk, put her in a Mercedes, and crashed it into a wall.

See to me, that’s not funny. It is actually quite lame. Am I losing my sense of humour? Where has it gone?

Humour historically focused on poking fun of those with differences. Jesters were employed by noblemen in the medieval era to entertain. Quite often people with physical disabilities were also included as part of the “entertainment.” Jokes that are based on differences, in modern times, can make people feel uncomfortable. Jokes based on someone’s sex, race or religion is considered to be politically incorrect. But over and over again, women are considered to be lacking a sense of humour if they call it out for what it is, which is offensive.

Magda Szubasnski, Amy Schumer, Chelsea Handler and Julia Morris.

Psychologist Richard Wiseman studied the divide of humour between women and men and found that men like us to laugh at their jokes, but don’t like is to tell them. But when a sexist or racist quip, or one that promotes violence offends us, we get offered up that pathetic excuse of not “getting the joke.”

Earlier in the year, this was evident when Chris Gayle spat the dummy over the outrage that blew up after he asked reporter Mel McLaughlin out live of air while she was interviewing him. “Don’t blush, baby,” he said. Later he explained that it was “just a joke…” but the thing is, no one was laughing.

Is using the line “Just a joke” currency to get you out of simple, plain bad behaviour? There are so many types of humour. Practical jokes, self-depreciating humour, one liners and stand up are just a few of the categories that we can enjoy. But get offended by any of them, and you are branded as a humourless soul.

Check out this clip from the upcoming documentary “Can we take a Joke?” where leading American comics discuss pushing the boundaries and freedom of speech.

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So can I ask you, what do you find funny? Do you think we are losing our sense of humour? Why don’t we get the “joke”?

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