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

By Nancy A. Walker

A Very severe factor was first released in 1988. Minnesota Archive variants makes use of electronic expertise to make long-unavailable books once more available, and are released unaltered from the unique college of Minnesota Press editions.

"It is a really severe factor to be a humorous woman." –Frances Miriam Berry Whitcher

A Very severe Thing is the 1st book-length learn of part of American literature that has been regularly missed by way of students and underrepresented in anthologies—American women's funny writing. Nancy Walker proposes that the yank 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 ebook attracts on background, sociology, anthropology, literature, and psychology to posit that the explanations for forget of women's funny expression are rooted in a male-dominated tradition that has formally denied ladies the liberty and self-confidence necessary to the slapstick 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 excellent of the "lady," and masses of women's humor turns out to just accept, whereas truly denying, this perfect. in reality, so much of yank 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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Alice Duer Miller expressed the same sentiments in verse, and shortly after women were granted the vote, Florence Guy Seabury satirized the helplessness of men to take care of their own basic needs in The Delicatessen Husband (1926). 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.

I've seen the way he dances; it looks like something you do on Saint Walpurgis Night. As the dance progresses, the speaker identifies her social dilemma, as her private voice says: What can you say, when a man asks you to dance with him? I most certainly will not dance with you, I'll see you in hell first. Why, thank you, I'd like to awfully, but I'm having labor pains... No. There was nothing for me to do, but say I'd adore to. 32 The Female Humorist in America As the sketch continues, the speaker's public voice continues cheerfully while her partner proceeds to step on her feet and kick her shins, and the distinction between public and private voice becomes tellingly sharper.

During several periods in this nation's history, most notably when agitation for women's rights has been most vigorous, 34 The Female Humorist in America writers have employed a straightforward feminist stance. Before the 1870s, when Marietta Holley's Samantha Allen argued with everyone who would listen (and some who would not) about the necessity of female suffrage, "Fanny Fern" (pseudonym for Sara Willis Parton), author of the popular 1855 novel Ruth Hall, wrote satiric essays explaining why men were unfit to vote, turning upon them the conventional arguments against female suffrage.

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