Edgy Laughter: Women and Australian Humour


Regardless of whether they accepted or utterly rejected their imposed role as members of God's police and gatekeepers of the social class structure, women have found that, within the traditions of Australian humour, they are constructed as either marginal or monstrous. In seeking to enter the male world, they are likely to be dismissed as absurd, or cast as termagants who preside over suburbia, like Ginger Meggs's mother in the comic strip or Barry Humphries's creation, Edna Everage. There are many Australian women humorists, of course, who simply ignore nationalist myth and its accompanying style of humour, just as plenty of male comic writers do. But women artists have achieved interesting results through challenging or subverting traditions in which they are either ridiculed or ignored.

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Published 1 October 1993 in Volume 16 No. 2. Subjects: Alienation, Australian culture, Australian women writers, Class conflict, Gender roles, Sexism, Stereotypes, Wit & humour, Women.

Cite as: Jones, Dorothy. ‘Edgy Laughter: Women and Australian Humour.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 16, no. 2, 1993, doi: 10.20314/als.3f289922f2.