Women Are Funny and Smart (and we make up over half the population so remember that)


Today I started talking to my dog as he was performing his “butt rocket” routine — an attempt at itching his little doggy butt hole by sitting and using his front legs to drag his bum against the plush feel of the (thankfully) beige-colored carpet.

“Tengo, you know that humans use toilet paper to wipe their butts?”

He didn’t answer. I was also beginning to wonder why I said “their” and not “our.” I should definitely be including myself in the human category. I should also not be in my house at 10 am on a weekday having a conversation with my dog because I believe him to be smarter than all the other dogs.

I think I’ve been unemployed too long.

If we could at least stop memes like this from happening, there will be some victory

If we could at least stop memes like this from happening, there will be some victory

Maybe I should be vying for swanky careers that offer things like insurance, like these exciting new professional-sounding positions I found while job searching: “Dell Product Specialist” or “QA Engineer III” or “Technical Specialist.” These positions would definitely help make back the money I wasted on college pay back my student loans.

There is the problem of not having a degree relating to any of those positions. Who would have thought that a degree in Creative Writing wouldn’t yield a high-paying power career whereby I immediately, upon graduation, move to California and start working on a new hit series with Mindy Kaling and Zooey Deschanel about how their lives changed when they met me:

“It’s good to have a fresh face and comedic mind to work with,” Mindy would say.

“I just….want everything in her closet,” Zooey would swoon.

In the midst of my hypothetical stardom, however, while doing really important research for my writing online, like marveling at  Kelly Oxford’s tweets and stalking ex-boyfriend’s Facebook profiles, I came across this video:

Despite the fact that I have never wanted to be an engineer (though I’d love to have the skills to have that option), this video is totally kick ass and inspirational. I call this the “badass-ifaction” of little girls and I’m totally down for the movement.  This toy aims to squash the notion that girls should play with barbies and leave the problem-solving and building to boys. Debbie, an engineer and Goldie Blox’s CEO claims this came from her reaction to the lack of females in the engineering world.

Maybe I should go blonde again?

Maybe I should go blonde again?

As a young women trying to break into the comedy writing industry in whatever way I can, I absolutely love this. We live in a world where Christopher Hitchens claimed “women aren’t funny” as an empirical fact without his car getting tamponed. Come on, my car got lo mein noodled in high school by a girl just for looking at her the wrong way. See, girls are funny. Also, I’m way funnier than my brother, and he has an engineering degree!

If my Hitchens example didn’t make you a believer, check out this experiment by author Maureen Johnson revolving around the gendering of book covers and how that dictates what we choose to read:  “A man and a woman can write books about the same subject matter, at the same level of quality, and that woman is simply more likely to get the soft-sell cover with the warm glow and the feeling of smooth jazz blowing off of it.”

As much as I like the idea of feeling smooth jazz blowing off my book cover, I think I’ll pass. I imagine my book cover having something more controversial like me and my dog, Tengo photoshopped into a picture with Robert Pattinson or something equally as edgy.

Seriously though, when is the last time you saw a book with a female author and said to yourself gee that could use a woman’s touch, maybe a little more pink. The answer is never. That conversation has never happened.

Isn’t it just time that we stop telling girls what they can’t or aren’t meant to do altogether? Yes, yes it is, says the crowded studio audience of feminists inside my head. You guys, if I had had this toy growing up I would have hours back of my life that was spent making u-turns due to an inability to read a map. My map navigational abilities come to a glaring halt whenever I am required, in any capacity, to know which way east or west is.

Maybe if I had put down the my-size barbie as a kid, which come to think of it, was one of the most anti-social toys I owned — I spent months telling friends, when asked on play dates, that I was busy with my new friend from California — I could’ve learned how to properly draw a human figure or build a simple machine. A child once asked me to draw them a barn and that was the last time I was ever asked to draw a barn. The children I nannied for have also stopped asking me to help fix their blanket forts.

Play Title: Best of Friends

Play Title: Best of Friends

I mean I always knew I wanted to write so I don’t have too much of a right to be so pissed about my lack of engineering skills. My family recently informed me they will be throwing away all my childhood memories selling my childhood home and that I should start gathering my shit. I took this opportunity to fill my checked suitcase with a favorite end table (best idea I ever had) and all my childhood journals. The first play I wrote was gold.

So sure, I already knew I was destined to be the next big thing, especially by my ability to spell interlude at age six. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have benefited from some construction toys. I totally could’ve used some legos to build houses for my beanie babie habitats — instead, I hung them on my dresser by sticking their beanie bodies through the drawer handles.

I just feel like I missed out on the boy toy fun my brother had growing up, and with how awesome I am without having had those experiences, imagine how amazing I would’ve turned out if I had a chance to develop my scientific brain to its full capacity? My jokes would be more intricate! It wouldn’t take me a half hour to change my camera lenses! I wouldn’t have to spend an extra ten minutes before each trip making sure I know where I’m going! The ability to read maps seems like such a luxury. Also, the kids loved the male teacher I worked with so much more when he taught them how to make robots out of toothbrush heads and tiny batteries. I want such adoration! When I would try to get the kids excited about writing a story they would all groan and ask when they could to the gym to throw balls at each other at high speeds.

I guess I’m still pretty cool and talented without having a profound understanding of machinery or engineering though. No, I don’t actually want to be “QA Engineer III” but it would’ve been nice to feel like that was an option as a child. For now Im totally content to just keep sending unanswered tweets to Mindy Kaling until I get famous.

What toys did you play with growing up? Do you think it had a part in shaping your awesomeness today? Do you also talk to your dog? What about women in comedy and writing — what’s your take?

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9 responses to “Women Are Funny and Smart (and we make up over half the population so remember that)

  1. macncheesenpeas

    Hi Aly, GREAT post. I’m also a huge feminist, and I love what you have to say here. It’s so true, boy’s toys are always way cooler than girls toys. That must be why I cried about unfairness every Christmas because my brothers toys always seemed more fun than mine.

    p.s. you should read (if you haven’t already) How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. She’s brittish and a older than us so I didn’t get like 50% of her references, but she’s awesome.

    • Thanks, girl! You’re right, I kept getting the same doll every year while Scott was building like awesome 3D puzzles or something. Thanks for the recommendation — totally checking her out asap.

  2. Fuck yes women are funny! How stupid is it that we even have to say that? PS I like you as a brunette.

  3. Hey – awesome post. It’s cool, engineers just aren’t built to be funny. I’m STOKED that ladies in comedy are starting to flex their muscles (Tina Fey, Mindy, yknow. The big ladies) and show off their amazing comedy writing. It’s time for more ladies in comedy because hey. We’re hilarious.

    • Thanks so much! You’re right, we are hilarious. I just watched The Heat last night and seriously haven’t laughed that much out loud in probably over a year (which may mean I need to laugh more). If you haven’t seen it I suggest you put your life on hold to watch it. Glad you stopped by, look forward to checking out your blog!

  4. Wow, great post. Regrettably, I have to admit that I fall right in the “that-cover-looks-girly-so-that-book-must-be-a-soap-opera” group. I remember that when my sister was reading a historical fiction in which most of the main characters were girls I automatically classified her books as something of a psuedo-series, without actually having read the book myself. I suppose that my natural picky-ness combined with the chronically reinforced idea that all covers that look “girly” (whatever that means, now that I think about it–I mean, would it be wrong for a guy to have a girl on his cover?) are most probably chick lit–I’m not even what constitutes as chick lit, actually (a book with a sensual cover perhaps?). Anyways, thanks for the great post, it really got me thinking. I also have like five more tabs open from following your links. Kudos.

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