Social Issues / Humour -- A Magnet Between The Sexes

Humour -- A Magnet Between The Sexes

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Autor:  anton  11 December 2010
Tags:  Humour,  Magnet,  Between
Words: 1201   |   Pages: 5
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Humour – a magnet between the sexes.

In today’s society whatever other problems one may wish to lay at the door of the twentieth century, the substantial liberation of women that has taken place in the past century is surely an example of significant human progress. Never in the history of Western civilization have women come this far in the freedom movement and endow themselves in the equality that men imply. This development is as revolutionary as anything this age has seen, and it is already extending very rapidly from United States & Great Britain to a large part of European continent and many non-European countries.

The right to vote is only a small part of the freedom. In the past, women necessarily defined themselves by the relationships they established with men. There was surely some choice available to women in previous periods. They could choose to be satisfied or ill tempered, dominant or compliant, efficient or troublesome. But their choices were very limited, and women always have made in towards the terms of masculine figures in their lives. Today, great numbers of women can, if they choose, define themselves as independent, self-determining individuals. As Kinsey (1953) writes: “women can become fully human, since self-definition is the capacity marking human beings off from the rest of the universe.” (p. 51).

However, in the potential of achieving the human status, women in fact are not fully allowed to the prospects of liberty within the society. Women are still viewed behind the males within the society. Be it from the wage gap existing between the sexes, to the actual career positions that women hit, as Foegen states, the ‘glass ceiling’ ( p.1), which encompasses residual sex discrimination. For one thing, it is difficult to know the practical limits of equality. The more biological differences the sexes imply, and in some areas endeavor, as would seem to be the kind of fundamental inequality.

Stereotypes, for this matter can and have influenced behaviour through a self-fulfilling prophecy, or the “tendency to behave in a way that confirms other people’s reasoning towards that individual’s behaviour” (Darley & Fazio, p. 3). As Margaret Matlin writes, “People’s judgments about themselves are typically less stereotyped than their judgments about others” (p. 270), providing that the behaviour of any individual is not completely influenced by the ongoing deterioration.

However, even theoretically, we do not know what the limits of freedom are, and our progress towards equality has been uneven. Any woman today can get an education as good as she has the capacity to endeavor. Equality in the classroom has been almost completely achieved. Even though, the economic equality is a distance off. Given the reasoning behind the appropriate, the equality has the capacity to weaken and destroy the old roles which women traditionally filled, rather than creating new ones. It is easy to assert that women must be something more than wives and mothers, but it is not easy to define that something, nor is it easy to reconcile the added human importance that equality implied with the old biological roles.

In today’s society, humour plays a huge role in the development of the essential equality among the individuals living in it. Humour has been viewed as the one behavioral characteristic that men and women seek in roughly equal proportion, wanting a partner who is entertaining and fun. However, women and men have set an imaginary border line within that relationship to the point that unconsciously women are seen as the ‘humour appreciator’, while men are seen as ‘humour generator’.

Both sexes, however, possess the same amount of humour within “Sexes might differ in interests and in temperament but not in underlying mental abilities” (Farber 1963, p. 26). Women have developed an unconscious technique to use humour to bond with others, men on the other hand, use humour to set their status within the society, and impress women as they walk up the ladder of position between their male acquaintances become more common, “unaware when they are sexually aroused” (Heiman, 1975, p. 347). Therefore making humour more of a magnet between the sexes, attracting the gaps within.

In the fantasy world of humour, the male has been able to step outside the restrictions of normal interactions between both sexes. Generally it is evident in men’s dirty jokes that women can be represented adequately by reference to the sexual, domestic and other services which they provide for men. As Legman (cited in Mulkay, 1988) writes “In the world of dirty joke, women often become no more than objects designed to cater for the needs of men.” (p. 136), which can be particularly evident in jokes which provide humorous definitions of womanhood or of specific female roles.

Humour, As Legman (cited in Mulkay, 1988) understands, allows us to reach the understanding of most untouched expressions of sexist views because “when we speak humorously, we are not fully responsible for what we say” (p. 150). From the outside or within the realm of serious discourse, the messages of humour are extremely difficult to oppose successfully. Even thought, the messages conveyed by humour may have very serious consequences. It seems that male centered view of sexuality and of women is formulated and transmitted in a most potent form within humorous discourse.

“It is evident that women have many other things they often choose to do with their lives, over and beyond pursuit of their intellectual interests.” (Farber, 1963, p. 24). It is reasonable to believe that the other demands upon women are more incompatible with the life of an intellectual than would be the case for men. However, prolonged study may evidently show that it is “difficult to continue in the single-minded product of set ideas while being a proficient husband and father, but more difficult for a wife and mother.” (Kinsey, 1948, p. 53)

Evidently, the most appropriate explanation of humour between the sexes may be credential towards understanding and completing the gap for further dynamic evolution of liberty and equality among the sexes. However, these are not problems that permit easy solutions. Indeed, the more important solutions will be evolutionary ones, to which time and experience and daily adjustments will contribute at a high popularity. Although, this does not mean that earnest thought about these difficulties cannot be finally crucial in determining women’s ultimate role in today’s society. These personal and social difficulties are unavailable to the operations of a human brain or even a computer. Intelligence plays its role in even the most complex of human affairs, thought its operation does not always help solve the problem, but rather instead move it further away from the answer.


Darley, M & Fazio, R. (1980). Expectancy confirmation processes rising in the social interactions sequence. American Psychologist, 35, 867-881.

Farber, M.S. (1963). The potential of a woman. McGraw-Hill Book Company, INC.

Heiman, J. (1975). The psychology of erotica: Women’s sexual arousal. Psychology today, 8, 90-94

Kinsey, A.C. (1948). Sexual behaviour in the human male. Philadelphia. Saunders.

Kinsey, A.C. (1953). Sexual behaviour in the human female. Philadelphia. Saunders.

Matlin, M. (1993). The psychology of women. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers.

Mulkay, M. (1988). On Humour: Its Nature & Its Place in Modern Society. Polity Press.

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