Last week, Fox News stuck its nonpartisan shoe in its mouth with a posting on its "fair and balanced" Web site stating the latest crop of female comedians needed to be both funny and hot, or maybe just hot, to make it today. The article continues down the path against feminists everywhere by getting its expertise from Human Behavior authority and Fox News staple Patrick Wanis, who commented that:
"For women, frump isn't funny any longer. The new female comedian has to be the sexual aggressor, sexually provocative, dominant and successful."
Wanis continued his superior understanding of humans by stating that the Rosie O'Donnells and Janeane Garofalos of the world would tank in today's comedic environment. Apparently Wanis isn't considering Mike & Molly's Emmy-winning Melissa McCarthy a successful comedian.
Naturally, the article has been blasted across the Internet for being sexist by female-friendly sites such as Jezebel and The Huffington Post and just as many non-women-centric sites including The Atlantic and even Care2.com, a website that promotes charitable and activist causes. Which makes us wonder, why are women still considered a minority group in need of an activist organization to fight for them? Isn't it 2011?
Before you dig out your copy of The Feminine Mystique and burn your good bra, think back to last year when Olivia Munn became the newest The Daily Show correspondent and got slammed for being too physically attractive. Slate's "XX Factor" blog called Munn just another pretty face and that she only landed the coveted gig because of her "titillating" draw. Flash forward to this fall season's premieres and you found a whole lot of good looking, funny gals dominating the airwaves. Stand-up comedian/writer/"It Girl," Whitney Cummings, found herself in the middle of a similar argument over whether her good looks were getting in the way of her funny. Many argued it was because of her leggy-features that she got her breaks and others felt the exact opposite. Last month, The Daily Beast applauded Whitney as breaking the "decades-old discrimination against pretty female comics." Wait, what?
Let's get that Betty Friedan book out after all. There seems to be quite a few competing thoughts on female comedians. 1. If they are good looking they aren't funny. 2. If they aren't good looking, they won't make it and 3. If they are good looking and funny, women get another gold star on the equality front.
The question that hasn't been touched is - why does any of it matter? If a female comedian is attractive, more power to her. Munn never denied her good looks, in fact, in an interview with Salon.com, Munn admitted that she understood why all the haters... well, hated. She is hot. That has nothing to do with the caliber of her comedic talent, which is purely a matter of opinion and sense of humor.
We could flip the switch on the feminists and ponder (aloud and often) why Louis C.K. isn't a household name, but someone keeps giving Dane Cooke money to do things. The truth of the matter is that society likes to see good-looking people. Funny or not.
Sadly, the female comedienne will probably contend with her outward appearance as a companion to her onstage banter, forever. Of the ongoing arguments shoving daggers into the Women's Lib movement, The Daily Beast's congratulatory article on hot funny ladies finally making it big, may be more offensive to women than Fox News' misstatement on comedy's current landscape. There have been plenty of funny and sexy women over the years, so why are we just talking about it now?
Rather than taking the PC angle, we'll list off our top 10 hottest, funny women over the years.
10. Betty White
9. Anjelaha Johnson
8. Laura Kightlinger
7. Lucille Ball
6. Chelsea Handler
5. Aubrey Plaza
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4. Aisha Tyler
3. Julia Louis-Dreyfus
2. Jenny McCArthy
1. Goldie Hawn