Comedy panels and the token female – why it’s still an issue
Comedy panels and the lack of women. For the year of 2014 which sounds all futuristic and stuff, it’s hard to believe that in this particular area of the media industry women are still NFI (not f**king invited).
As it’s a subject I’ve been following for some time, I found it very interesting indeed to stumble across this article today on the Guardian that read:
It sounds great doesn’t it, to feminists all around the globe (me included) to think this is a great start to getting more females on these comedy panels that men currently hog each week.
Woohooo! Thanks so much! You let us play sport with you (sometimes) and now we can come to your comedy panels too! Too kind, gents, too kind.
However, call me a cynic, but it doesn’t really seem to address the problem. It sounds a bit ‘token’, a bit ‘gesture of goodwill’ – a bit ‘let’s just get one (woman) on there to shut the angry Twitter feminists up’. I think the bit that riled me up over the most was this bit from Cohen: “every episode recorded from now on will include at least one woman.” AT LEAST ONE WOMAN. This is a short-term fix yes – but plonking down a female comedian for purposes of a new ratio just sounds like a quick fire decision in a board room so that they can just get on with the show.
What people don’t seem to understand, is that it’s actually not that women want to be involved in every thing, all the time, it’s simply the freedom, perception and equality of being able to have a choice to go on the show as much as we (women) should want to.
If there’s 8 men one week, that’s great! If there’s 3 girls 5 men another week that’s great! It shouldn’t be ground-breaking to have 8 women on week either! It’s not that we (women) are trying to ruin the men’s bachelor party, it’s just that we are all equal and men and women are both funny in different ways, so just pick the best combination of PEOPLE each week?
I recently watched an episode of 8 out of 10 cats with Dawn O’Porter as a guest (the new ratio, at least one woman!). Now I am a massive fan and she was a hoot – just brilliant – but there was still a weird tension with the male overshadowing her and even making a few snide comments. It was subtle, but it was definitely there. The air time on her was a lot less, which I know a lot of female viewers especially would have been disappointed about. I don’t think it’s about getting “at least one” on there, it’s to make it equal and make it more enjoyable for the viewer. To be honest I think just having one women with the rest of the panel as men it still incredibly sexist, because the woman’s voice will always be quieter if the men are shouting the loudest and spurring each other on.
AND: if you can spare TWO seats on 8 out of 10 cats for JEDWARD, then you can bloody well shuffle over for some more female comedians.
It’s a weird one. But I wanted to put my two pence in. What are your thoughts?
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"– The Debrief
“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic