There was a time in my life where I thought I was going to grow up and become a stand-up comedian (or comedienne…or comediennnnnnnnnne or whatever it is for girls).
And then I think I turned fourteen and became super-hyper-aware of myself and realized that my comedy career would entail a large number of people looking at me and most likely judging me. So I decided to be a writer instead because then at least there’s some distance in the judgment and then I don’t have to physically see your faces of disappointment.
There was also this weird time in my life where I thought I was going to grow up to be the President of the United States…but as far as I know about that job…it also entails a lot of people watching me and judging me and stuff…so that dream also kind of fizzled out with freshman year.
Neither of these dreams came with the “female” precursor. I never wrote in my journal that I wanted to be a female comedian or a female president…1. because I already was the former and saying it again just felt redundant and 2. I just wanted to make people laugh and maybe save the world.
As I got older, I realized that that particular “f” word seems to precede a lot of descriptions and it almost feels like it invalidates whatever it is that comes after.
An All “Female” Cast
Let’s be honest, the United States soccer team won the World Cup, but because it wasn’t the men’s team…we still lost.
If a movie has an all female cast, girls shy away for fear of being labeled “lover of chick flicks” and guys don’t bother because they aren’t going to relate to it.
You put “female” or “girl” or “woman” in front of something and it instantly goes down in value and interest. That’s why the Best Actor category comes after Best Actress. It’s the REAL deal. The REAL acting. (This still baffles me, by the way. They don’t have best male/female director. Best male/female sound editing. Best male/female makeup and hairstyling. Best male/female cinematography. And I get that the categories wouldn’t be even, but that shouldn’t matter. It’s about being the BEST. Not the best…for a girl.)
I went to my very first comedy show a few weeks ago. Drinks were flowing. Jokes were landing. Everything was funny and nothing hurt.
Except when I had to wait in the little waiting area right outside the bathroom. It’s basically a closet with poor lighting and a dirty mirror. It was just me and one other girl, but me…being the person that I am and all hyped up on the good laughs (and a couple Stellas)…felt like I needed to entertain this poor soul.
So yes, I did my piss-poor (pardon the pun) comedy routine right there…in the bathroom closet waiting room with no where to hide…for a girl who just wanted to pee. And the cringe could be heard ’round the world. (“What’s up with these separate bathrooms that only have one toilet anyway? It’s like…I just identify as someone who has to take a leak, amirite?!” Yeah…it was that bad.)
But I’m thankful that the rest of the actual comedians, both girls and boys, were beyond hilarious and completely knocked it out of the park. They were all super relevant and relatable and only made me a normal amount of uncomfortable.
My fear comes with a lot of more notable funny females who go out of their way to talk about how gross their lady bits are and stuff. And to an extent, I get it. (We all have bits.) But I think sometimes we, as women, go out of our ways to be “just like the boys.” And sometimes it just feels forced and dishonest (and sometimes just kinda gross).
We, as women, need to stay true to who we are. We don’t need to be men in order to be a comedian and not a “female” comedian. We just need to be funny.
So just go out and be whatever it is that you want to be! Wear a skirt, wear pants, or wear nothing at all…just be true to who you are and the best at what you do.
(And when all else fails…just be Gwen Stefani circa 1996.)