If this were Family Feud, the survey would say:
- Because it's the driving force of all life on this planet
- Because you guys only talk about your dicks, goose/gander and all
- Because the last generation of female comedians got rich doing just that
- Actually, there are many female comedians whose set is primarily not about their vaginas
- Historical and current gender roles, sexism and socialization, amiright, guys?
I was having a good conversation with a male comedian about finding the right balance when addressing what makes you unique. After all, you have to acknowledge your limp/lisp/albino skin/big tits/whatever if it's something that will distract the crowd until you do. And your race, class and gender naturally play a huge role in shaping to your unique viewpoint. But you don't want to become a one-note hack.
And then he said, "Yeah, like women who only talk about their vaginas and being slutty."
Hoo doggy, do I hate statements like that. Well, unless I'm the one making them. Because I do think "Let me tell you what a slut I am" is about as fresh and creative as "Oh man, my mom just joined Facebook today" and "You ever notice that white people do this and black people do that?"* Granted, you can point to a few of my favorite comedians (Danielle Stewart and Jen Murphy come to mind) and say "But she talks about sex all the time" and you'd be right, but their material just happens to be kind of slutty because that's what has grown out of their unique perspective and experience. I mean, Jen's "Tofu Dick" joke is about sex the same way Ian Edward's "Vegan Funeral" joke is about caskets.
But, luckily, we're friends and both reasonable people, so we had a good chat about it. And I think this is the one observation we took away from the conversation that I don't hear anyone on either the comedy of feminism side of things address - it's how we were raised.
I'm sure there are plenty of dummies who who still think "I will shock you with talk about my vagina and then you'll laugh and then I win." But there are plenty of very smart comedians who, at least in the beginning, use sexuality as a kind of a crutch. And you know why? because it's worked for us all our lives.
Think about it, we're taught our whole lives that what we have to offer is only valuable if it comes wrapped in a package that is attractive and inviting to men. At work, some women are considered "strong leaders" and others "rabid bitches"; in relationships, there are women who "helped make me a better man" and "nags"; in school, there are women who are "smart" and other's deemed "know-it-alls". In my experience, the only real difference between the two is the general consensus of the men around them that a) they want to fuck her** and b) there's some chance they may be able to fuck her.
So, when you start doing comedy, and the whole goal is to win the audience over to your side in about a minute so they'll listen to the funny things you're saying for the next x minutes, why wouldn't you consciously or unconsciously fall back on the thing that has always worked? And don't forget you have to to charm you way onto the radar of mostly male bookers and producers who likely have some amount of bias against female comedians to begin with.
So, the next time you get annoyed about all the pussy talk you hear, or why some new comedian is always wearing a low cut shirt, consider it your patriotic duty to not try and fuck her. At least until after she quits comedy.
* I'll save the novel about how when it was Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman and even as late as Whitney Cummings and Amy Schumer, it actually was fresh and creative. And subversive. And necessary. And totally feminist.
**When I say "want to fuck her" I don't just really mean they literally want to fuck her. Men basically will fuck anyone attached to a vagina. I also mean the whole package - being demure and deferring, having a sense of humor where you find him hilarious and don't try to outshine him, being nice (or bitchy in the sassy way), you know, gender socialization stuff.