12 thoughts on ““her first period”

  1. Not sure about the syntax of your remark, Anne: do you meant that it is funny and other things besides, or did you mean to write that it just is not funny?

  2. Simon, nice question. I hadn’t seen the ambiguity, but I think I’d like to leave it in place and hear what others think about it.

    I’d love to know who found it very funny.

    I will say that I was really puzzled by just what it was portraying, but it finally hit me that it may capture what could be a significant social change. That it does so may be completely obvious to lots of people, but it took me a while to see it. At least, it used to be said that only women dealt with the discharges of the body on a daily level. The video certainly captures the huge discomfort many men at least used to have with a fairly ordinary part of life. But I think it is also suggesting that that line is breaking down. Even, horrifying as it may have seen, male children might know something about this stuff.

  3. I’ll confess I found it funny. I can see why it might irk some, but I’m inclined to give comedy of this sort fairly wide latitude.

    Unpacking that: one might think that a skit ringing changes on the theme of “Women’s bodies are gross!” is offensive (because androcentric or misogynistic) and perpetuating belief in that theme. On the other hand, a big part of what’s funny about this skit is the reactions of the other men to what they are hearing: it’s funny that they are so uncomfortable with what is actually quite a clinical (no gutter euphemisms) and mundane (because about an ordinary part of life) conversation. And that’s obviously a deliberate choice on the part of the troupe, so that speaks to their intentions in making the skit.

    Also, since many men would in fact be uncomfortable overhearing (let alone having!) the kind of conversation portrayed in the skit, being able to laugh about it in a public forum like a comedy club gives such men a chance to be made explicitly aware of their discomfort and its object and to take an ironic (and therefore reflective) distance from it in a way they might not otherwise.

  4. Simon, great! I was worried about putting it up. I did find it very funny.

    Perhaps I should share that as a woman and a mother, I have had plenty of desensitizing coversations over my life. But I did discover one area I found it hard to cope with. My son had to be circumcized when he was in his 20’s I was coping just fine until the surgeon came out after the operation and said to me, “Now let me show you what we’ve done and what you’ll need to do about changes bandages.” Where upon he picked up his pen and started drawing pictures. “Here’s where we cut…” I remember worrying I’d pass out.

  5. The general premise worried me at the start, but what I think makes it is how caring and loving the father is. He’s just trying his best to help his daughter, and he’s unphased, and he doesn’t do anything to make it seem icky. It’s actually pretty sweet, in its way.

  6. It’s also worth noting that because the video quality is comparatively poor, we Youtube viewers miss out on a lot of the finer-grained physical comedy from the other three actors, so the conversation carries more of the comic weight for us than for someone who saw it in person.

  7. This piece must be doing the rounds as I had someone send it to me the other day…I thought perhaps I was broken when I didn’t think it was funny. Maybe I am really a feminist? Normally I like that kind of Canada Dry humor but something about this piece just rubbed me the wrong way, I’m not sure what it was but I was not laughing. Maybe it was because I was on the rag myself? Bahahahahahahahah.

  8. I was impressed by the kind straightforwardness of the father. I’m not sure why I found it funny – I guess the contrast between the unflappable father and the creeped out other guys? Who are we the viewers supposed to identify with – the squeamish men or the father?

  9. I thought it was fabulous. Loved the caring dad, and his final line, “get your brother,” speaks to a whole new family openness; the other men are hilarious in their old-fashioned inability to cope. More seriously, in other cultures if not the west, menstruation has been associated with inferiority, uncleanliness, lack of holiness, etc. Normalizing the normalcy of menstruation through comedy is welcome to this reader/viewer.

  10. Nice points, jackie.
    I haven’t thought seriously as a philosopher about comedy, but I think this has a fairly standard form that lots of people (in the West) find funny. It might be called “and then the story gets worse”. So one character relates something ‘innocently’ and another is increasingly upset. Think Lucy and Desi. A variation might be when one character apologies for something and then learns slowly that what they did was far worse than they thought.

    If there is such a standard form with variations, it would be interesring to know why anyone finds it funny. Irony? Incongruity?

  11. I listened to a Philosophy Bites episode a while back on humor featuring Noel Carroll. I don’t remember all of the details, but I think part of his thesis was that humor comes from a sense of being “in on the joke”, so to speak. This skit seems to fit with that notion. Perhaps it’s funny because we realize how ridiculous it is for the men overhearing the conversation (and perhaps some of us in the audience?) to be so squeamish.

    When exposed to such a clinical and appropriate conversation (I agree with earlier commenters that the “dad” sells it), we are let in on/reminded of the absurdity of social hang-ups.

  12. I think this troupe like to make fun of boors, including the well-intentioned and outwardly respectable kind, and the dad is supposed to be another variation on the theme. I suspect the Frantics would say that people who use their mobile phones on a crowded train deserve (in their famous catchphrase) a “boot to the head”, and this dad is just an exaggeratedly inappropriate example. Anyhow, it was fairly funny but not their best work.

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