Women And Comedy: Sexual Humor And Female Empowerment

1338 words - 5 pages

"No one has breakfast at Tiffany's and no one has affairs to remember - instead, we have breakfast at 7am and affairs we try to forget as quickly as possible."- Carrie BradshawTimes have changed and so have the social norms preventing women from openly expressing themselves across a wide spectrum of issues in our society. Women have evolved from the "young ladies should be seen and not heard" standard to a world accepting their presence and encouraging their participation. The television series Sex and the City reflects an important vision of female empowerment that is now prevalent in today's society. Female empowerment has evolved through history, and through the use of sexual humor, women have been able to exert their newly acclaimed power in society.Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte represent a new generation of women who freely celebrate their sexuality and economic power. The character of Samantha, particularly, exploits female sexuality without emotional strings. Samantha is a sexy, confident, successful woman who flaunts her conquests, in much the same way that men have been known to do. Samantha is a saucy member of a group of articulate female friends who genuinely care about each other. The frank conversations these women have over lunch are humorous, because they express many of the sentiments women grapple with both in their personal lives and in the workplace. Vividly portrayed, Samantha explores sexuality with men, women, and vibrators. Unlike Mae West who pushed the boundaries of feminine acceptability, Samantha unselfconsciously ignores social constraints. The women's movement in the 70's opened the door for women like Samantha to express themselves freely and even aggressively. The adorable, but incompetent Lucille Ball has been replaced by a self-actualized dynamo of a woman."Sex and the City" became an instant hit when it first aired on HBO in 1998. It remained the highest rated comedy series on cable for two consecutive years. A fan of the series acknowledged, "Sex and the City opened the floodgates for women everywhere to talk with candor and humor about men, sex, and relationships." (Sirius News) The series has functioned as a forum about women's sexuality as it has been shaped by the feminist movement of the last 30 years.Historically women were suppressed in society, and their humor unrecognized. The "good girl" image was characterized by passivity and self control and "did not draw attention to themselves or their idea's" (Barreca, "Snow White" 4). The early eighteenth century conduct books were written in an effort "to suppress women's laughter and humor" (Bilger 16). Women and comedy were seen as potentially disruptive to society because humor is associated with breaking the rules and escaping from confinement (Bilger 15). In the 1850's women began appearing in vaudeville shows, but only as objects of men's desire. As time progressed, women began working with men during Minstrel performances where "men would...

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