The lame world of men-versus-women humour
Oh. No. Really. Won’t someone please mop the tears of unreserved mirth? Apparently, Women Love Shoes! And Men Just Don’t Know What To Do With a Vacuum Cleaner! Oh, hahaha, the difference between the sexes. They’re just so funny because they’re just so true.
Jokes about the location of the clitoris or the importance of the shed are every bit as progressive and useful as beta-video. Equally acquainted with the pleasures of both, I’ve never understood the merit of these gags.
Perhaps this is because I am a mannish girl. Or perhaps it is because jokes about the “Gender Wars” have their place. Viz. only on disgraced Austereo breakfast programs or in forwarded emails sent by my father-in-law.
Nonetheless, these gags abide. And so does the junk science that spawned them. “Proof” of the contrast between men and women can be found in all echelons of the culture. If it’s not some annoying bint banging on about her instinctive passion for Tim Tams and Carrie Bradshaw, there is always a deluded neuroscientist presenting “evidence” that my frontal lobe will never recognise a Phillips-head screw.
This legitimised prejudice makes no sense to me. I don’t like Sex and the City; I do own titanium drill bits and, no, I cannot, as it is rumoured that persons of my gender can, ably multi-task. I simply cannot focus on more than a single undertaking in a single instant. To wit: my partner just asked me what I might like for dinner. Involved, as I am, in preparing a rant about antique sexism, I answered, “I’ll have a clitoris and some Manolo Blahniks, thanks.”
It is not, let it be said, only women who sustain harm to their humanity. A world that feeds on bigotry also devours the substance of men.
I have, by way of example, worked with many men who were extraordinary multi-taskers. Despite the certainty of their chromosomes, they were able to cobble together a PowerPoint presentation, speak on the phone and sack someone simultaneously. All while applying botanical hand-cream.
However, the shop-worn, groundless conviction that men and women are natural foes does its best to diminish everyone. It’s dull. It’s neither funny nor functional.
Far be it from me to mine any humour from a recent gendered survey.
But then again. Sometimes bigotry is really rather tempting. Particularly when it is locally based.
A study from Oxford University finds Australian men are shit husbands. And not just a bit shit. According to the mandarins of sociology, they are the shittiest of all husbands in OECD nations.
Shortly to be published in Journal of Population Economics, this formal study examined the household division of labour in developed countries. Respondents were asked a series of questions and data was used to assess egalitarian attitudes to domestic works.
Australian men, always in their sheds attempting to find that spot, were in last place
The study also found that people in more egalitarian countries, such as marvellous Norway, were more likely to partner. Or, as was reported, women in Australia are 50 per cent less likely to live with a man. The study’s authors conclude this is due to male disinterest in the vacuum cleaner.
I wonder, though, if there are other methods of explaining the relative national reluctance to partner. And I wonder if Australian men are genuinely lost in the shed.
If these population scholars were, for example, to catalogue the number of jokes about the-hilarious-differences-between-men-and-women emailed by nationals of all OECD countries, it is highly likely Australia would be at the top of the list.
There is a particular casual enmity between Australian men and women. Perhaps this is rooted in our gulag past. Perhaps it’s the unfortunate by-product of bad breakfast radio. Whatever the case, all these jokes about Tim Tams, screw-drivers and lost organs cause me to marvel that there are any straight persons left in the nation at all.
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