All laughter is allied with the monstrous. (Barreca 1988:253)


All men oppress all women all of the time.

1. Introduction

This chapter on feminist philosophy and humor is an example of insight humor, the philosophy of humor, and especially metaphor humor. It begins by establishing the basic metaphor or model of antipatriarchy which characterizes both radical and antipatriarchal feminism [AF] and Women's Studies courses. Without first giving an analysis of antipatriarchal feminism, feminist humor would not be intelligible. It is shown that there is a captivation by this metaphor of antipatriarchy producing a metaphor-to-myth fallacy, a reduction to absurdity fallacy, and taking metaphors literally fallacy. Such fallacies, as well as fallacies in general, can produce humor. The far-fetched metaphor of genderizing everything also generates reduction to absurdity humor. This was also the case with Freud to the extent that he saw everything in terms of sex or libido. The feminist model goes far beyond Freud in its expansion of the metaphor of gender. This creates expansion of metaphor humor.

Feminists in the finest detail expand the feminist metaphor of antipatriarchy. Virtually all causes are determined, all questions answered, all problems solved by reference to the antipatriarchal model. It is not only a matter of deduction, but a creative feminist metaphoric is thereby created. This generates allegorical humor and metaphorical humor. As a basically mythical and irrational model, it finds its place alongside of other metaphors such as religion, astrology, militarism, and institutions which punish instead of correcting and educating. In this sense, it has a certain appeal to the general public. It also finds its place among other philosophies which have harmed humankind. Like religion, antipatriarchal feminism is seen to be opposed to humanism. (cf. John Dewey and pragmatism, Shibles 1995ij, 1998b) Philosophical metaphors may create insight and new perspectives, but also create absurdities and do harm to society as well. If we regard such absurdities as unacceptable, no harm will result. If we accept the absurdity, whether harmful or not, humor is created. If we can accept the harm and absurdity together, the result is black humor. (See section on black humor under vice humor in this book.)

Feminism is presented here not to attack or support it, but to describe it and show the many ways in which humor is involved with it. Beard & Cerf (1995) have created a descriptive yet satirical book by merely letting the feminists speak for themselves. The analysis has special and in-depth applications for philosophical counseling both in the use of humor as a technique and in clarifying the feminist philosophy. That is, a critique is provided of feminist philosophy which has therapeutic value to those confused by feminism. This is, of course, the case with a critique of any other belief system in or out of philosophy. Philosophy is seen as a criticism and creation of concepts in the various disciplines for the purpose of solving human problems. On this view, philosophy is also therapy. The emphasis in this chapter is, of course, on humor therapy in philosophical counseling. (cf. section on provocative therapy.)

After a discussion of the feminist views of humor, and the feminist metaphoric, follows a section of satire and insight humor about antipatriarchal feminism, followed by humor arranged by type regarding antipatriarchal feminism-such as allegory, contradiction, irony, etc. humor.

2. The Prevalent Definition of Patriarchy

"Patriarchy" is a root metaphor expanded into a worldview and philosophy of life. According to this view: All men oppress all women all of the time. (Kate Millett 1971; 1977:24-25) This is referred to here as antipatriarchal feminism [AF]. (See Shibles 1991b "Myth of Patriarchy" and next section.)

"Males rule females," "sexual domination." (Kate Millett 1971:24-25)

"Our society…is a patriarchy.…In every avenue of power within the society…is entirely in the male hands." (Kate Millett 1971:25 in Kramarae & Treichler 1985:323)

All men are rapists and that's all they are. (Marilyn French in Farrell 1993:309) Dworkin (1983:147-194) All men are trying to kill all women.

The use of all-fallacy statements and false-cause statements comprise some of the most basic metaphors of the feminists. One formula of the "x is y" form is: All x (societies, logic, knowledge, language, disciplines, writing) is male." Ironically and humorously, then, even woman is male.

"We continue to Name [sic.] patriarchy as the perverted paradigm and source of others' social evils." (Mary Daly 1984:xii) [See (1978:30-31) full attack on men-called the seven deadly sins.]

Mary Daly's (1984:465) index indicates that "patriarchy, as perverted paradigm" occurs throughout her book. In her 1978 book "patriarchal" occurs thirteen times before the preface even begins.

"Patriarchy-that is, institutionalized male supremacy." (French 1992:16)

All knowledge, beliefs, institutions, society , language, etc. are male, e.g. good and bad are male and so themselves "bad." (Mary Daly 1978:12) Synonyms of "patriarchy" are: male, dominate, oppress, victimize, hate, etc.

"A system of male authority which oppresses women through its social, political and economic institutions." (Humm 1990:159)

"Women are The Enemy [sic.] against whom all patriarchal wars are waged." (Mary Daly 1978:31)

"A universal and historical form of oppression." (Zillah Eisenstein 1979:17 in Kramarae & Treichler 1985:323-324)

"The universal political structure which privileges men at the expense of women; the social system which feminism is determined to destroy. The term is frequently used by contemporary feminists, who are not always in agreement as to what they mean by it." (Lisa Tuttle 1986:242)

"The prevailing religion of the entire planet, and its essential message is necrophilia." (Mary Daly 1978:39, in Kramarae & Treichler 1985:323)

"On the radical feminist view, contemporary society is a patriarchy…a total system of domination." (Jaggar 1983)

"Patriarchy began and spread as a war against women." (French 1992:14. cf. S. Johnson 1989:148.)

"For radical feminism, patriarchy still exists as a universal, pan-cultural fact, a description of all human societies, and an explanation of why each society is what it is in all its aspects." (Jean Elshtain 1981:213.)

"Radical feminism posits that patriarchy is the poisoned well from which all maladies and miseries flow." (Sonia Johnson 1989:148)

"The male-dominant model of antifeminism is virtually everywhere." (Dworkin 1983:210)

On the antipatriarchal feminist [AF] view, the solutions to all of the problems of the world are made simple. The simple metaphor is expanded into an elaborate system. We may simply deduce from the basic definition to generate its structure and theory as follows:

1. Genderize everything.

2. Analyze everything as male.

3. Evaluate everything male as bad. That is, treat "patriarchy" as a pejorative term.

4. Negativize everything. See everything in terms of victimization, enslavement, being oppressed, sexual harassment and rape.

5. Blame the problems of the world on men.

6. Raise consciousness about this view so as to become angry and enraged.

7. The next stage is to punish, enforce political correctness, get retribution, and take down the patriarchal society, the university, reason and all other institutions because all are male, in order and establish a women-centered gynocracy.


3. Patriarchy is a Myth: Critique of the Term "Patriarchy"

The next move of this critique is this. To show that the word "patriarchy" is both an unscientific term as well as a value term. It is stated that it is an abusive term and "reverse sexism." (Farrell 1993:16, and PK:83) This has already been shown this in "The Myth of Patriarchy" (Shibles 1991b). Now, a remarkable thing happened recently. A number of feminist books appeared which fairly and impressively provide devastating criticism of the politically powerful, antipatriarchal feminists. These are books by Christine Sommers, Daphne Patai & Noretta Koertge [PK], René Denfeld, Petra Kelly, Camille Paglia, Nadine Strossen, Ellen Klein and Katie Roiphe. These are courageous books as they dare to go against the vast feminist establishment in academia.

To use the word "patriarchy" is to give a distortion of our society, and it is a dogmatic view." Elshtain 1981:216.

"There is no consensus on any of these questions and contemporary feminists use 'patriarchy' in a variety of senses. Some have argued that the problems with the concept are so great that it should be abandoned." (Pateman 1988) in "Patriarchal Confusions")

Ellen Klein (1996:19) wrote, "The case against traditional science and philosophy of science, that they are essentially male-biased, has not been made."

The philosopher, John Wilson (1980), has criticized the AF feminists for being antihumanistic, and using methods of force and coercion.

Suppose you as a woman were told, "You and all women oppress all men." Or that primary school teachers and nurses are matriarchal and therefore oppress all men institutionally and personally. It would be a gross insult.

Roiphe (1993:46) wrote of the paranoic AF "belief that men are out to get women in general."

"The presumption [is] that men are collectively engaged in keeping women down." (Sommers 1994:21)

AF is a "simplistic understanding of nature." (Elshtain 1981:212)

4. Woman's Studies is Antipatriarchal Feminism

AF is especially represented especially by Andrea Dworkin, Catherine MacKinnon, Susan Faludi, Marilyn French, Monique Wittig, Gloria Allred, Andrea Nye, Alison Jaggar, Charlene Spretnack, Heilbrun, Susan McClary, Susan Harding, Adrienne Rich, Ann Ferguson. "Radical feminism is feminism." (MacKinnon 1989:117)

It is often denied that Women's Studies is radical. But the issue is now clear. Inasmuch as its ideology and readings use the word "patriarchy," it is radical but, moreover, is anitpatriarchal feminism. Its readings do contain the word directly or indirectly (e.g. through paraphrase) in virtually every book, article and lecture. The above-mentioned authors are standard in Women's Studies reading lists. Women's Studies cannot escape the criticism that what they do is basically promote the principles of anitpatriarchal feminism .

There is much equivocation in regard to the word "feminism." It is easy to equivocate. I will make it less easy to do so, less easy to taint humanistic feminism with AF. The humanistic feminism vs. antipatriarchal feminism distinction sorts out feminism better than "radical feminism," because anything can be radical. Radical may sometimes be the right thing to be. Philosophers' criticisms are often appropriately radical.

"The feminist persuasions prevailing in the U.S. Colleges and Universities today often lead to consequences deeply subversive of the best academic traditions." (PK:184)

Students are taught to hate. (PK:185)

"I am a feminist who does not like what feminism has become." (Sommers 1994:18)

"Women's Studies programs [have] a strong resemblance to religious sects." (PK:190. cf. Roiphe 1993:150)

Denfeld (1995:305-306) wrote that in a typical Women's Studies class students are taught "that not only are they supposed to reject 'masculine' forms of reasoning such as objectivity, but that their grade depends on it. They write radically subjective unacademic journals consisting of dreams, doodles, poetry, or anything at all, but especially of their acts of rebellion showing how they oppose a patriarchal society. The national Women's Studies Association has held this syllabus (of a Rutgers course) to be a "model syllabus." (ibid. 306)

"What we did not know was how widespread and deeply rooted these failures were [of Women's Studies], nor how serious their adverse affects." (PK:194:xv)

English literature and literary criticism is turned in to Antipatriarchal ideology. Every course is "oppression studies." (Kimball 1990:16)

All knowledge is patriarchal, so the student does not need to learn anything but feminist studies. (PK:142)

"It is not the function of a university to sponsor them [AF]." (PK:214)

"Nothing we have seen in our investigations of Women's Studies suggests that the higher stages of identity development, involving synthesis and integration, are anywhere on the horizon." (PK:194)

"The majority of Women's Studies classes…are unscholarly, intolerant of dissent, and…a waste of time." (Sommers 1994:90)

Women's Studies is gynocentric and man-hating. (Sommers 1994:275)

"Women's Studies does not promote, indeed does not stand for, open inquiry, critical exploitation of multiple perspectives (even threatening ones)." (PK:1994:xvii)

"Feminism in the academy should abandon its simplistic and debased notion of the 'political'…and return to professional practices consistent with the principles of liberal education." (PK:211)

In the university one purpose of Women's Studies is the political goal to eliminate stereotype perspectives, and the classes are to be conducted in a non-sexist manner free from sexual harassment. The feminist use of the term "patriarchy" throughout the literature shows that Women's Studies instead promotes sexism and stereotype. (cf. Sommers 1994:ch. 5 "The Feminist Classroom")

Student statement on introductory course in Women's Studies: "The class made one think of a skit on Monty Python which involves a quiz show, except that the answer to every question is 'pork.' And whatever the quiz show host asks-for example, 'What's the capital of Pennsylvania?'-the answer is 'pork.' In the class I took, the answer was always 'men'…'Who's responsible for everything that we endure?' 'Men.'" (PK:83)

"All data as conforming the theory of patriarchal oppression." (Sommers 1994:96)

5. Emotional Dysfunction and Emotional Abuse

Antipatriarchal feminists, have advocated the use of anger, rage and blame, yet undermine humor and positive emotions. This position appears to lack a substantial basis in contemporary theories of emotion. Consciousness raising is to show that "all women resent women's states," are victims and men are to blame, and so women should be raised to anger and hatred. (MacKinnon 1989:85-86) In therapy, the patient often sees oneself as a victim and has a "victim mentality" or "victim roll." (Opfermentalität, Opferrolle) (Höfner & Schachtner (1995:43-45) It is stated that whoever defines oneself onesidedly as a victim, opens themselves up for future disaster (Gerade wer sich einseitig als Opfer definiert, stellt aktiv die Weichen für weitere Desaster) Denfeld (1995:204-205) states, "Consciousness-raising is experiencing a major revival in feminist circles, incites women to become angry" and is a "method for feminists to indoctrinate women into current feminist ideology."

It is argued against this view that the cognitive-emotive theory, also called the Rational Emotive Theory (RET), would be one of the best theories of emotion to help advance an enlightened and humanistic feminism. Janet Wolf (1976:3) wrote: I believe there is no therapy system around which better suits the requirements of a truly feminist therapy than cognitive behavior therapy, and in particular, rational-emotive therapy, RET. According to this theory, negative emotions, e.g. anger, revenge, blame are abusive and forms of irrational thinking. Professing Feminism states that Women's Studies is "dysfunctional." (PK:31) It is not AF women alone, but men and women by their own admission state that they have negative emotions about 75% of the time. Education at every level should teach about emotion-otherwise we will remain emotionally dysfunctional and emotionally illiterate. It is by insisting that we begin to teach such theories of emotion in the schools that a humanistic revolution can begin.

In therapy, philosophical counseling, and philosophical psychology today, one of the most prominent and sound models is rational-emotive therapy. This theory appears to be absent from feminist literature and practice, yet may be seen to be of significant value. Concern has instead been focused on encouraging anger and consciousness raising," etc.

Kaplow (1973) wrote in "Getting Angry": The emotion which accompanies the first steps toward liberation is, for most women, anger[38]…furious, above all, at men [39]. A woman in our society is denied the forthright expression of her healthy anger. On the cognitive theory, there is no healthy anger.

Kearon wrote: Give 'hating someone' a chance…Let it be of a robust variety. (Koedt 1973:80)

Kaufman & Blakely (1980:17) state that feminists value their anger and they encourage women to become angry.

Tavris (1982) says that anger works.

Women's Studies is pro anger, blame, revenge, violence. (cf. PK:94-95)

"All indications are that the new crop of young feminist ideologues coming out of our nation's colleges are even angrier, more resentful, and more indifferent to the truth than their mentors." (Sommers 1994:18)

"Sex is power, nothing else." (Dworkin in BC:56)

"Women are making themselves and men…miserable."(Charen in Hinding 1986:222)

"To generate and cultivate anger in a classroom setting strikes us as irresponsible." (PK:184)

Students are taught to hate. (PK:185)

AF is a punitive and hateful approach. (Roiphe 1993:85ff., esp. 99)

"Being a feminist has nothing to do with resenting men." (Sommers 1994:8)

"Resentment is not a wholesome passion….It is not an ethical passion." Sommers 1994:43.

In summary, it is argued that RET therapists and philosophical psychologists have come harmoniously together in practice and theory on the RET cognitive theory of emotion. Its basic principles have been presented earlier in this book. It contrasts with the prevailing feminist statements about anger, blame and humor. It was suggested that the cognitive theory might be of significant use in helping women as well as men, to achieve their goals in an effective, healthful and humanistic way. Education at every level should teach about emotion-otherwise we will remain emotionally dysfunctional and emotionally illiterate.

6. Anti Reason of Antipatriarchal Feminism (Irrationality Power)

Reason and logic are patriarchal. (Nye 1990)

Logic is a weapon of oppression. (Nye in PK:152)

"Logic was made for men by men." (Nye 1990:177)

"Logic is not thought at all." (Nye 1990:179)

"According to the dictates of logic I have committed fallacy after fallacy." (Nye 1990:174)

AF is anti reason and logic. (Sommers 1994:65, BC:122, cf. Nye)

Daly (1987:216. cf. BC:122) believes logic and reason are just ways of men to oppress women. She calls it "phallocentrism."

Male "argument" becomes feminine "argufemt" (Goldfield 1983. cf. 94)

Woman "un-thinks" (de-pense) (Hélène Cixous 1981:252) (dépenser = "waste energy")

Scientific inquiry is rape. Science is "marital rape, the husband as scientist forcing nature to his wishes." (BC:147. Sandra Harding, Philosophy, Univ. of Delaware.)

"Feminists' wholesale dismissal of science." (PK:141)

Patai & Koertge (1994) show that AF and Women's Studies are opposed to open inquiry and so do not belong in the university.

"The goal of Women's Studies is to wipe out the present universities." (PK:149)

Not only do the logical fallacies supposedly not apply to women, the DSM classification of mental disorders does not apply to women either. (Susie Sympson in Snyder 2000:167-182) (172) I would also object to the DSM classifications, but not for the same reasons.

7. Indoctrination by Antipatriarchal Feminism

Any criticism of antipatriarchal feminism is regarded as "backlash." (Faludi 1991:xviii, xxii; BC:16)

Women's Studies indoctrinates antipatriarchal feminism and is immune to criticism. (Sommers 1994:96, 108)

"Women's Studies programs [have] a strong resemblance to religious sects." (PK:190)

AF is "Rigid orthodoxy." (Roiphe 1993:5)

Women's Studies is "politicized education by means of indoctrination." (PK:215)

"Academic feminists have done more harm than good with respect to the education of students, particularly our female students." (Ellen Klein 1996:199) She argues that Women's Studies is basically indoctrination and politics, and not taught as an academic discipline.

8. Self-Victimization as Essential to Antipatriarchal Feminism (Moan Mentality)

"Under patriarchy every woman is victim, past, present and future." (BC:17, Dworkin 1976:20)

It is praiseworthy to seek goals or correct injustices, but to be dysfunctional while doing it is a double and self-abuse. AF needs education, therapy, deprogramming and gentle help one lead a genuinely caring and humanistic life.

Berger (1997:49) notes that fools were historically represented as born loosers and victims.

"What is distressing is the repeated evocation in feminist discourse of images of female helplessness and victimization." (Elshtain 1981:225)

"It is her entire conceptual framework-her kind of rhetoric, her kind of interpretation-that transforms perfectly stable women into…sobbing victims." (Roiphe 1993:46)

Victimization is "wallowing." (Friedan in Roiphe 1993:44)

"infantalizes women" (Roiphe 1993:65)

"Unshakable conviction that all women are victims." (PK:185)

"Learned helplessness." (PK:107)

9. The Creation of a Feminist Metaphoric (See analysis below)

M and F form the major variables which are then related by diverse connectives such as M or F, M and F, MRF (R = oppresses, hates, etc., almost always a negative term), M = F, M and not F ("patriarchy"), not M and F (gynocracy), not M and not F (non-gender approach), etc. The rules of transformation create a kind of calculus of gender by means of which to generate arguments and theories. These rules of combination may be spoken of in terms of rhetorical devices and in terms of the "Metaphorical Method." (Shibles 1995b, 2002) The analysis is presented in a following section.

Cixous (1981) came to write the following which presents substitutions for F and a separation of F and M: "A woman is never far from mother: there is always within her at least a little of that good mother's milk. She writes in white ink." (251) This generates a significant form of insight humor.

10. Negativism (of Antipatriarchal Feminism (cf., Harassment and Self-Victimization)

The feminist ideologue...sees revelations of monstrosity in the most familiar and seemingly innocuous phenomena. (Sommers 1994:27)

Rape, male, patriarchy, and sexual harassment are used metaphorically as negative value terms to apply to anything the AF desires to reject.

"Men hate women." (French 1992:48)

Feminists often use vulgar words such as c**t, and f**k. (Roiphe 1993:150)

AF fits the anxiety syndrome: The attitude that if something can go wrong it will.

Feminist power is "no saying." (Mary Daly 1978)

Ironically and humorously, if negative is a male word, women cannot think of themselves as being negative.

11. Sexual Harassment and Antipatriarchal Feminism (Double-Bind)

Never take 'yes' for an answer.

If you feel that you are harassed, you are. (Roiphe 1993:91)

If you think you are an elephant, you are.

Continuum theories collapse the definition of sexual harassment to include giving flowers, hand holding, casual glances, asking for a date, door opening, giving compliments, shaking hands, having a thought or fantasy about someone, conversing, flattery, flirtation, going for a walk with a student, asking someone for coffee, smiling at someone. Many of these have caused actual, legal sexual harassment charges to be filed. Also, the definition of "rape" is collapsed to include sexual harassment. (cf. Reilly 1994) Loud music is rape, okra is rape, words are rape, looks are rape, smoke is rape, medicine is rape, etc.

Smith College Office of Student Affairs brochure says that only men can be guilty of sexism. (BC:85)

Lorena Babbitt is praised for cutting off male genitals. (BC:14)

It is prosecutable sexual harassment if the following occurs:

jokes and innuendos (if not liked)

a woman has even given signed consent for an intimacy. (Dworkin BC156)

unsolicited suggestive looks (BC164) (BC:52 Columbia Women's Handbook)

On the other hand, insufficient contact is said to create a biased classroom (ignore texts which say one should look at the person one talks to) (BC:51, 52; Barnard/Columbia Woman's Handbook 1992:Ch. 8) [Roiphe (1993:102) "People have the right to leer at whomever they want to leer at."]

unwelcome invitations (Andrea Parrot in BC175)

ask for a date

thinking about sex ("conceptual rape" BC:27)

a gift if it is decided that it is unwanted

every word in the language is masculine and so oppressive (Nye, Dworkin, MacKinnon, etc.)

food play (BC:58 University of Maryland-College Park)

"I call it rape whenever a woman feels violated." (MacKinnon in BC143)

you can feel raped even if you are of no gender or not capable of having sex

display affection

asking a woman to coffee or failing to do so (BC:25)

candlelight dinner (Jaggar in BC19)

social touching

smiling at someone

sex is rape (MacKinnon in Roiphe 1993:81) (Ironically and humorously, then, masturbation is self-rape.)

aesthetic appreciation ("You are dressed up for the job interview today." "Nice shoes.")

"mental groping"


attention is unwanted

decide a day later that you did not like the experience


arm touching

sex with a woman with multiple personality disorders. (BC:31) May, humorously, result in a class action suit.

you accidently brush up against her


unwelcome verbal conduct

lip licking (BC:93 University of Maryland-College Park)

even if consensual

dancing too close even if consensual (BC:36)

giving flowers (treats woman as victim before the kill. Dworkin 1988:14; BC:58)

hugging (BC:36)

if permission is not obtained for every single move in a romantic encounter. (e.g. "May I touch your hand?")

quoting a love poem (BC:42)

opening a door for a woman [BC:42-43; M. Frye in Rothenberg (1988:41)]

have a conversation with a woman (BC:32; Langelan 1993:249)

love notes and compliments (BC:95)

is harassment even if not directed toward an individual

to say "tender loving care." (University of Maryland-College Park, BC:132)

there is foreplay ("foreplay harassment") (BC:60)

to request permission for sex may be verbal rape (Antioch Rules in BC:179)

it is recommended that each tape the other on a date. (BC:30, 169)

woman says "yes." Yes is not yes because women are powerless. (Susan Estrich in BC:189)

The "yes" of a woman is "no" because of the metaphor of patriarchy which supposedly makes women always of less power. Thus, no is no and yes is no. This is symptomatic of the AF philosophy of life. It also means that any verbal agreement or signed contract with a AF is invalid and thus her presence in the workplace is problematic and dangerous for an employer.

Patai & Koertge say that sexual harassment is stretched to qualify any and every woman as a victim. It is thus called an "accordian" concept. (PK:78, 129) This is also called, "definitional stretching." (BC:37-38)

The criterion of sexual harassment includes terms such as: "unwanted," "unwelcome," and "made me feel uncomfortable." The criterion for the charge can be subjective, and be made even if consent was given, and presupposes that one can know in advance what is unwanted. This is humorous. But the irony is that even if the sexual attention is wanted, it can be regarded as sexual harassment.

Roiphe (1993:91) points out that "uncomfortable" is not an acceptable term.

Roiphe (1993:91) states, that for the AF if you subjectively feel harassed, you are.

In sum, what starts out as an attack on sexual harassment of men turns out to be the sexual harassment of feminists, that is, reversal humor.

12. Self-Seeking Separatism of Antipatriarchal Feminism

The goal of Women's Studies is: women first. It is self-serving. (PK:50)

AE is "Gynocentrism." (Sommers 1994:50)

"Reject whatever is tainted with patriarchy and replace it with something embodying gynocentric values." (PK:184)

Even mathematics becomes feminist: "Feminist algebra." (Klein 1996:203.)

disservice to women, the university, and the society. Inasmuch as it adopts humanistic feminism, it has a positive reason for its existence. It may even change its name in the future to "Humanistic Studies." However, AF as it is requires deprogramming and therapy. The AF movement is not to be blamed here because it is symptomatic of the lack of critical thinking in our education, the failure to teach, at every level, about ethical theories and about emotions in the schools. Power is denying men access to females. (Mary Daly 1978:xii)


13. Goal of AF is to Replace Present Society with a Woman's Society (Gynocracy)

"We're developing a whole reconstruction of the world from the perspective of women, with the keyword being 'women centeredness.'" (Alison Jaggar in Sommers 1994:50)

"Women must wage a total war against every aspect of patriarchal society." (Critiqued by Elshtain 1987:237)

Fight academia. Instead, celebrate spinning, a Department of Spinning. Daly recommends un-philosophy, un-ethical, a university of reversals. (Mary Daly 1978:xiii)

"Metapatriarchal" is post patriarchal and the transformation of women into a woman's world. (Mary Daly 1978:7)

The goal is a revolution from all knowledge because it is patriarchal. [PK:116.]

"Reject whatever is tainted with patriarchy and replace it with something embodying gynecentric values." (PK:184)

Ann Ferguson replaced androgyny with gynandry (1989:231, BC:5)

14. Summary of Antipatriarchal Feminism Model

How would a Women's Studies AF major or minor fit into our businesses and society-or even an ideal society?

Because it is not generally understood, radical feminism is first defined in terms of the concept of patriarchy. Feminists themselves now characterize radical feminism as involving sexism, the superiority of women over men, and the goal to establish a separate world without men, a gynocracy. Radical feminism is then contrasted with humanism and seen to be antihumanistic. Feminists themselves further claim that Women's Studies in universities and colleges is basically radical feminism. Thus, ironically, such studies which are supported for the purpose of ending sexism are, in fact, creating it. It is an example of ironical black humor. One solution is to establish Women's Studies on the philosophies of the feminists who are moving toward what I term humanistic feminism.

In summary, inasmuch as Women's Studies subscribes to AF it is anti-humanistic and does a disservice to women, the university, and the society. Inasmuch as it adopts humanistic feminism, it has a positive reason for its existence. It may even change its name in the future to "Humanistic Studies." However, AF as it is requires deprogramming and therapy. The AF movement is not to be blamed here because it is symptomatic of the lack of critical thinking in our education, the failure to teach, at every level, about ethical theories and about emotions in the schools.


B. Humanist Feminists

Antipatriarchal Feminism is virtually the only model in feminist philosophy and Women's Studies in spite of claims to diversity. It is like basic christianity is to its various demoninations. There are variations within the model such as socialist feminism, radical feminism, existentialist feminism, equal rights feminism, etc. A few feminists hold views which are opposed to antipatriarchal feminism and hold some views almost identical with those of the humanists. The main women writers offering the strongest criticisms of the antipatriarchal model and Women's Studies are Sommers (1994), Patai & Koertge (1994), Roipe (1993), Denfeld (1995), and Ellen Klein (1996) We may add to the list other writers who sometimes touch on humanistic ideas, such as: Mary Warren, Janet Richards, Jean Elshtain, Petra Kelly, Camille Paglia, Nadine Strossen, and one of the earliest to move somewhat toward humanism, Betty Friedan. It appears to be along these lines that the Women's Freedom Network was recently established. One thing is clear: Humanistic feminism is the reverse of and has little in common with AF. "AF is antihumanistic." (Elshtain 1994:24) The chart below shows that clearly.

Professing Feminism speaks of "Humanistic feminism." (PK:210)

"Human politics." The Second Stage is not separatistic, but includes both men and women. (Friedan 1981:324, 339)

"We have somehow to transcend…the rage of our own 'no,' to get to the second stage…so we can live a new 'yes' to life and love." (Friedan in Hinding 1986:239)

Gloria Steinem (1994:246) spoke of holism, respect of humankind and the ecobalance of life.

"The more feminism continues revising its theories and practices to include those of other disadvantaged groups the more it can draw on the principled pluralism of pragmatic theory, which does not advocate an artificial balancing of competing interest groups." (Haddock 1993:2) Admittedly, humanistic feminism is a distinctly minority view and opposed by antipatriarchal feminists and the Women's Studies approach. Among the general public, as well as philosophers, humanism is practically unknown or one only heard that religion is against it whatever it is.

The following chart compares humanism, antipatriarchal feminism with humanistic feminism. Religion is added to the comparison because it is claimed by Sommers (1994) and others that AF is like a religion. (Shibles 1978, 1989d, 1995ij, 1998b)


RELIGIOUS OR FEMINISM (AF) (If subtract af influence)

SIMILAR VIEW or WOMEN'S STUDIES (e.g. Women's Freedom Network)

self-serving self-serving altruistic

dogma, fixed belief dogma, fixed belief open-inquiry

anti vulgar language pro vulgar language anti vulgar language

pro-enculturation pro-enculturation (AF) anti-enculturation

pro-indoctrination pro-indoctrination anti-indoctrination

metaphysical metaphysical/mystical? open

pro-power pro-power anti-power

sexist (often) sexist anti-sexist

appeal to authority authority appeal to reason

theism mystical/female god? open choice

obedience obedience choice, intelligent decision making

only heterosexuality anti-heterosexuality choose sexual lifestyle

absolute values absolute consequentialism

essences essences contextual

absolute truth absolute contingent

anti-democratic anti-democratic democratic

dysfunctional dysfunctional emotionally functional

cf. Phil. of Rel.)

ethics based on fear of ethics based on fear of ethics based on understanding

punishment and authority punishment and authority and inquiry

belief/faith belief/faith evidence

creationism woman' evolution evolutionism/open

goal: serve God, religion serve AF/some women humankind

divine law women's AF law human law

anti-humanism anti-humanism humanistic

separate separate integrate people

unkind (anti-humanistic) unkind kind

love of God (most religions) too negative to love (not PF word) love of all humans

supernatural supernatural? natural/open

absolute ethics absolute ethics no absolute ethics

anxiety syndrome anxiety syndrome no anxiety

blame blame men no blame

demand conformity demand conformity no conformity demanded

enemies enemies no enemies

fixation on sex fixation on sex/rape no fixation on sex/rape

gender bias gender bias no gender bias

idiological policing idiological policing, p.c. no idiological policing

negativization negativization no negativization

orthodoxy orthodoxy no orthodoxy

prejudice prejudice no prejudice

revenge, retaliation revenge, retaliation no revenge, retaliation

severe punishment severe punishment no severe punishment

soul and spirits spirits/open open

use of violence use of violence no use of violence

victim mentality victim mentality no victim mentality

abusive abusive not abusive

not all is gender based all is gender based not all is gender based

much is political all is political not all is political

pro-male anti-male not anti-male

distort statistics distort statistics not distort statistics

militant (but "just war") militant not militant

punitive punitive not punitive

repressive repressive not repressive

resentful resentful not resentful

seek domination seek domination not seek domination

sexist sexist not sexist

sexually harassive sexually harassive not sexually harassive

use force use force not use force

legally abusive legally abusive not use law abusively

use verbal abuse/threats stress verbal abuse/threats not use verbal abuse/threats

subjective methods subjective methods objectivity

indoctrination indoctrination open

censorship; closed censorship; fixed belief censorship; closed, fixed belief

political correctness

closed university closed university open university

church above state or people state above people or church people above state or church

stress negative emotions negative emotions positive emotions

or female jouissance

anti-abortion even if it saves. pro-abortion (esp. for males) pro-abortion, choice

mother or all humans or choice

anti-choice anti-choice pro-choice

anti-freedom anti-freedom pro-freedom

anti-humor anti-humor pro-humor

anti-nonabusive pornog. anti-nonabusive pornography pro-nonabusive pornography

anti-nonabusive prostitution anti-nonabusive prostitution pro-nonabusive prostitution

anti-science anti-science pro-science

anti-sexuality anti-sexuality pro-sexuality

training/indoctrination PF only public, neutral education

anti-rational anti-rational rational

visions, miracles, dogma self-righteousness scientific method

no self criticism little self criticism self criticism

dependent on God self-victimization, self- and socially dependent


intolerant intolerant tolerance

like Women's Studies like Women's Studies unlike Women's Studies

welfare of soul, God, relig. welfare of AF, some women welfare of humans

men over women women, anti-men women & men

C. ANTIPatriarchal feminism, women's studies ON ANGER

As was seen, AF may be characterized as believing the following: All men oppress all women all of the time. Patriarchy is "a system of male authority which oppresses women through its social, political, and economic institutions" (Maggie Humm 1990:159) "For radical feminism, patriarchy still exists as a universal, pan-cultural fact, a description of all human societies, and an explanation of why each society is what it is in all its aspects." (Jean Elshtain 1981:213) "Radical feminism posits that patriarchy is the poisoned well from which all maladies and miseries flow." (Sonia Johnson 1989:148),

Richards ( 1980:9) notes that feminists are "full of anger." And Kaplan et al. (1983:29) write, "As a group of feminine therapists…the authors of this paper are firmly committed to…counterbalance the prevailing cultural disapproval of feminine anger. Women's anger, we are unambivalently convinced, needs to be recognized, validated, and confirmed." In addition, in contrast to rational-emotive theory, they regard emotion as a "feeling." (29)

A noted criticism of the AF view is that of Janet Wolf (1976:3) who wrote: "I believe there is no therapy system around which better suits the requirements of a truly feminist therapy than cognitive behavior therapy, and in particular, rational-emotive therapy." On the specific subject of feminism and anger, Ellis (1977:178) objects to therapists who are obsessed with having the patient get in touch with their angry feelings, such as consciousness raisers do. He states, "Feminist women tend to…fill themselves with overwhelming hostility against males." (196) "Even downtrodden individuals, such as minority groups or women…need not give vent to their anger [but instead replace it with action and] determined opposition." (156-157) Anger takes the place of rational, effective, and humanistic action. These views may be contrasted with those presented in AF literature and practice which at present characteristically encourages anger and rage in women. Women also play power games here. Some purposely refuse to laugh at a men's jokes in order to give themselves power over them.

Wolfe (1976:5) points out that anger is unnecessary, counterproductive, and generates still more anger until one becomes enraged. If women encourage anger, it contradicts their claim to be nurturing. In summary, it is argued that rational-emotive therapists and philosophical psychologists have come harmoniously together in practice and theory on emotion. Its basic principles may be presented in order to analyze emotion and show they contrast with the prevailing AF feminist and numerous other statements about anger, blame and humor. It was suggested that the cognitive theory may be of significant use in helping women as well as men, to achieve their goals in an effective, healthful, and humanistic way. Education at every level should teach about emotion-otherwise we will remain emotionally dysfunctional as well as emotionally illiterate.

D. ANTIPatriarchal feminism AND women's studies ON HUMOR

Women's humor should not be identified with feminist's humor. (Walker 1988:12)

Humor is sexual harassment.

1. Defense of Women as Having Humor

Psychology has participated in the social construction of women as a deviant and deficient group, with neither the wit to create humor nor the ability to appreciate it. (Mary Crawford in Barreca 1992:23-37)

The prevailing view in the literature is that women have no or little humor. Schopenhauer, Bergson and Freud, for example, presented such a view. (cf. Sochen 1991) There is now a vast, feminist literature attempting to describe and defend the view that women have a sense of humor. (The literature speaks of them having a "sense of humor." The phrase is pseudo-psychological so I would replace it with merely with "humor.") Often feminist writers agree that women do not have humor and blame this fact on men. Barreca says that women writers are humorous, "it is just hard to see that they are." (1992:4) Nor does this qualification help their argument.

The antipatriarchal arguments predictably state that men are to blame for repressing women's humor. It is claimed that humor is defined and determined by males and that that standard should not be used to judge women's humor. Men have supposedly unfairly declared what is to be funny. Humor research is said to have been mainly male-slanted, done by and regarding males. Though for questionable reasons, their conclusion is right: women do indeed have humor. Virtually everyone has at least some large or small degree of humor. Germans and Japanese were also falsely accused of having no sense of humor. (Wells 1997:156)

2. Antipatriarchal Theory of Humor

The issue is very simple: Humor requires acceptance of faults. Because antipatriarchal feminists are negative and not accepting, there can be no humor. (Kaufman & Blakely 1980:13) They can laugh at (ridicule), but not laugh with. Kate Clinton says she is not positive but a fumerist: "I fume and make light." (Denise Marshall in Barreca 1988:172)

The theory is: Humor is male. Humor is oppressive. Humor is phallic. Humor is rape. "Feminist humor is based on the perception that societies have generally been organized as systems of oppression and exploitation" of females. (Kaufman & Blakely 1980:12)

As argued earlier, on the AF view women need not be logical or rational, so accordingly we find Nancy Walker feeling no need to define humor: "The use of the terms 'humor,' 'wit,' and 'comic' inevitably brings up the thorny issue of definition, which I intend to sidestep here as neatly as I can." (1988:xi)

One could also deduce Nancy Walker's views on humor from the antipatriarchal model: women are not allowed by men to have humor, women are "victims" (1988:120) and their humor is based on victimized frustration and anguish (xii), woman's humor is and should be used to revolt against a patriarchal society. Women's humor is biting (143), angry, jubilant, radical, and subversive of males and a male society. (150)

Barreca's (1992:7) anthology on women and humor also deduces from the antipatriarchal model. She be-moans that women's humor experience is devalued by men, "Men use humor to shame women" (10), and so women should and do use humor to revolt against the ruling patriarchal society by breaking cultural and social rules, being unconventional, anarchic and revolting. Her view that humor can be cathartic release (6) is ad hoc as she has given no theory of emotion to argue for such a position and the cognitive theory of emotion would rather assert that emotions are not the kinds of things that can be released at all.

Jaye Berman (Women's Studies 15, 1-3) in her review of Barreca (1988) states clearly that the articles in the book support the antipatrichal model rather than adequately, academically, or fairly deal with humor theory. (252, 253) In fact, the analysis of humor is neglected in order to present a political message, a message which attacks males. (253) She characterizes the views of the book as "male humor bad, female humor/good." (254) It is not clear, however, why puns and nonsense should not also be regarded as being patriarchal. Ironically, one could not even have "feminist" or "vaginal" humor, because these are also patriarchal terms. A simple enough formula which anyone can easily adopt and follow. However, in one isolated article one writer does state that women's humor is often selfish, self-aggrandizing, morally evasive, etc. (254)

Barreca (1988) deduces strictly from the patriarchal model as shown by the following:

Women take metaphors literally and use comedy "as a vengeance" "in a way that reflects their 'engendered' position as speakers of the necessary patriarchal discourse." (249) She, like Kristeva, does not accept language as it is patriarchal, "the language of the father." (253) Thus, women are to use nonsense and puns to refuse the patriarchal symbolic order which women are supposedly not allowed into. (253-254) "Logocentrism is limited to phallocentrism." (255) In sum, men are to blame for not allowing women to have humor, women are victims, the language is phallic, and all women can do is reject language and humor and utter nonsense in revolt. "All laughter is allied with the monstrous." Barreca 1988:253) In short, humor is male and so should be rejected.

Mary Daly's humor is "venomous." (Barreca 1992:7) Feminists "use a scornful wit...But good-natured at a minimum." (Mindess 1971:198)

Judy Little (in Sochen 1991:19ff.) takes the antipatriarchal position that humor is male dominated, patriarchal, "infected from male language," and so must be deconstructed. We must therefore "humor the sentence to make it unsay what it seems to say." (31) This follows the rhetoric of Luce Irigaray (1991), and Hélène Cixous. Thus, Let x = y, becomes "Let sex equal why." (Brooke-Rose Amalgamemnon)

Feminists have denied heterosexual sex. Now they are not in the mood for humor as well. But even bold humor is acceptable by non-feminists even in the emergency room. (du Pré 1998:87) Davies (in Bennett 1991:215-235) holds that jokes where someone is the butt are not necessarily disguised serious statements of hostility. Provine (2000:3) says "Woman laugh at men more than men laugh at women." I am not sure how he can know this.

Feminism takes the negative side instead of emotion: overserious, judgmental, blaming, uptight, hateful, angry, vengeful, etc. Life is tragic for them. Even humor must be killed. It becomes revenge and ridicule neither of which are humor. [cf. Stillman (1981) Getting Back at Dad.] "Schizophrenics and paranoid individuals interpret laughter as an attack or mocking gesture." (Haig 1988:151)

Because, on the patriarchal model, even woman is male, humor must be self-deprecation humor, but this step has not in the main been taken. Because on the victim model they see humor as not being allowed for women, women are said to have to use only self-deprecation humor. (Merrill in Barreca 1988:273)

In summary, women's humor is analyzed in strict and rigid adherence to the antipatriarchal model. It is basically a political position and captivation by a monolithic model or metaphor. Like Marxism, the position of each writer can be easily deduced in advance. No analysis of humor as emotion is given, nor is there a genuine attempt to understand or classify humor in general.

3. Women's Special Female Form of ?Humor? (Egocentric Humor)

Women's own humor. Women own humor.

Women are said to have their own form of "humor." It is for this reason that we must put ?humor? in question marks. But the question mark is also male. We can use *humor* but this is also male. There is no way out. Women's humor is said by feminists to be more personal, social, kind and positive than that of males, who are said to have mainly aggressive humor. Men are said to tell quick, cutting jokes, women sympathetic, socializing stories. Men's humor is supposedly more sexual than that of women. They also use humor as a strategy to express their anger toward a patriarchal society and to revolt, but in general do it in a way which does not alienate. It may contain self-deprecation.

Walker makes the important point that women's humor should not be identified with feminist's humor. (1988:12) Nevertheless, the major account of women's humor is from the point of view of feminist philosophy. Women's humor is a new egoism stressing the self, I, me, "yes to self." (1988:160) It is a humor of storytelling rather than mere male joke telling. (xii) This sounds humanistically promising until one remembers that, for Walker, women's humor is basically angry and subversive: "The comic is revolutionary." (1988:150-151)

"The client is considered her own best expert regarding her experiences and feelings." (Susie Sympson in Snyder 2000:167-182) (175) The reason for any problems one has will be traced back to patriarchy. (179) Jaye Berman says that in Barreca (1988) it is not successfully shown that there is a special form of women's humor. Lisa Merrill (Barreca 1988:271-280) regards comedy itself as a female form. (267)

Men supposedly cannot speak of women's humor, only women can. But, we note that somehow women do allow themselves to speak of men's humor without being men. I am not sure how this is possible. Most gynecologists are male. You do not have to have measles in order to treat measles. Women more than men also raise and teach male children at home and at school and so have influence on the way men think. To think that men cannot know about women's humor is a genetic fallacy and a sexist position. It would be a cruel joke to think that a female physician cannot treat male patients because she is female. Understandably, a male may not often be treated by a gynecologist or obstetrician.

Warren (1991) in her introduction to her book on humor states that "Men may even find some of the material offensive." There is certainly vulgar language in the book including attacks on the Pope. Most of the humor in the book is trivial or of low standard.

4. Antipatriarchal Feminist Use of Humor as Protest

Because feminists are not friendly toward men they cannot have the acceptance needed to appreciate humor other than their own.

Use humor to break taboos (Barreca 1991:201)

Kaufman & Blakely (1980:12) see AF humor as ridicule of the social system, revolution, reform, and anti-stereotype. Ironically, they seriously stereotype men. Feminist humor exposes male illogic. (15)

Use humor to subvert. (Sochen 1991)

Regenia Gagnier (in Barreca 1988:135-148) sees the use of humor for anarchy and disruption of the social order.

Juhasz, et al. (1993) see Emily Dickinson as an anti-culture poetess of subversion, breaking rules, and as basically fitting into the antipatriarchal mold. She does, however, have other traits such as that of encouraging play and fun. Dickinson is certainly not so narrow as to fit into such a model as antipatriarchy easily and is much more deep and open to ideas than that. Dickinson may be best characterized as having philosophical insight and humor in her poetry, especially regarding the notion of death. (Dickinson 1979)

Naomi Weisstein (1973), pleads for "a woman's culture with...its fighting humor....We must create our own humor....The fixed charming smiles are over." Following the antipatriarchal model, she regards male humor as being bad, and women as victims of men's humor. Lisa Merrill (in Barreca 1988:280) has the same view.

The humor is based on attack and ridicule of the social system and female oppression. (Kaufman & Blakely 1980) But one does not use sexism to end sexism, hatred to end hatred, overseriousness to end humor.

In conclusion, the AF use of humor to revolt or protest is not a philosophically critical or humanistic revolt, but one based on irrationality, sexism and self-seeking power.

5. Antipatriarchal Feminist Use of Humor as Power

The comic is revolutionary. (Walker 1988:150-151)

Sex is power, nothing else. (Dworkin in BC:56)

Humor is used as a weapon of power. Instead of appreciating humor it is used as a tool to control and manipulate. Even humor is used in a negative way. Nothing escapes the feminist, just as nothing escaped the notice of a censoring religion. AF refuse to laugh at humor from males in order to embarrass and punish them: "Go ahead, try to make me laugh." "That's not funny." "No, I do not want to hear your joke." It is power not to laugh, just as it is a negative power to be unkind. If women do not grant acceptance of humor they only make themselves look humorless and cannot complain when they are accused of having no humor or being unhumanistic. They would turn male into female humor, into F/F humor, that is, only female to female humor. Women can only laugh with other women. But we also see that women are even often bitter toward one another. We could thus say that feminist humor is women un-laughing with women.

Farrell (1993) notes that for feminists, sexual harassment and so humor are power tools which can even bring down the president. (302-303)

Humor is for women a subversive weapon to totally remove male domination and the patriarchy. (Walker 1988:61) She calls for women's solidarity for full liberation from the male oppressors. (in Solchen 1991:57-81)

Ellmann in Thinking about Women (1968) "recommends exploiting the sexual stereotypes for all they are worth for our political purposes." (Moi 1985:39)

Humor is male power. (Susan Purdie 1933:7) She takes a feminist deconstructionist approach.

Higgins (2000:89) sees humor as a strategy of provocation and gender insight, but she opposes rigidly held, political correctness and self-righteousness.

The power feminists are left with are: anger power, blame power, abusive power, sexism power, revenge power, irrationality power, victim power, hate power, selfishness power, anti-sex power, harassment power, and anti-humor power.

6. Anti-Male Humor and Humor Denial

All laughter is allied with the monstrous. (Barreca 1988:253)

In opposition to the above account, Christina Sommers (1994:24) states, Being a feminist has nothing to do with resenting men.

Feminists have humor denial and are censoring and patrolling humor behavior. This is part of "political correctness" which censors all behavior not in accord with feminism. One rule seems to be: Only women are allowed to make jokes about: beauty, women, children, house cleaning, women's clothes, women's hair, cereal, dusting, cooking, etc.

Virginia Woolf is presented as a radical, victimized, antipatriarchal feminist who criticizes the male establishment in all of her work. (Denise Marshall in Barreca 1988:172)

Kaufman & Blakely 1980:13ff.) speak of women's "bitterness and the antimale feelings." She relates the resulting feminist humor: the phrase "male chauvinist pig" is an insult to the pig.

Regenia Gagnier (in Barreca 1988:135-148) holds that men constrain women's humor, and that humor theorists are male.

Sommers says that Women's Studies is trying to make the university illiberal, anti-intellectual and humorless. (1994:52)

Farrell (1993) notes that for feminists, a joke is illegal if a woman does not like it and a bare assertion can stand up in court without factual evidence. (288) If, as for Dworkin (BC:99; 1983:211), love is legalized rape, we can imagine what humor will be for the feminists: Humor is rape and should be illegal. Humor is the rape of language. (cf. Susan Purdie 1933:55) All laughter is allied with the monstrous. (Barreca 1988:253)

Mary Crawford (in Barreca 1992:23-37) after presenting the antipatrichal victim model of humor, goes on to stereotype both men and women: Men: self-preservation, self-aggrandizement, pro-hierarchical order, interrupting, dominating, competitive; while women are: intimate, healing, supportive, and mainly use narrative humor from their own experience. Basically, men have bad humor, women good. This is not surprising.

Mindess (1971:198) writes of the feminist's "diatribes against the chauvinistic male."

Bergman (1986) notes that many feminist jokes radically stereotype men and are sexist.

Barreca's (1996) collection of women's humor is mainly anti-male humor.

AF are against both anti-males and are anti-male humor. It is one and the same to them. They do not wish to make the distinction. All humor is male so feminists must be against humor.

AF present pro-vibrator humor as replacement for the male. (Barreca 1991:187)

"Vulgarity, crudity and cruelty have become acceptable forms for women." (Sochen 1991:14)

7. Humanistic Humor Instead of Antipatriarchal Humor

On the other hand, the more humanistic feminist literature is of special interest in that it is beginning to suggest that women use humor humanistically, positively and imaginatively to create new norms of humor for society. (cf. Section B on humanistic feminists. This book has argued that ridicule, put-down and aggression is the opposite of humor and that the more we know about the types and uses of humor the more we will be able to create humanistic, aesthetic and insight humor. This will be of benefit to both men and women. Sommers (1994:24) notes that antipatriarchal feminists are anti-humanistic.

There are, however, a few voices which deviate from the AF model on humor:

"If the woman's movement is going to survive, it has to gather the courage to laugh at itself." (Barreca 1991:186) Humor allows us to explore our ideas and feelings. Black humor and humor about death is acceptable. (201) Humor allows us to take a risk with joyful abandon and this is a kind of power. (202) It is risky because the other may not laugh. It was noted above that the antipatriarchal feminist abuses by reacting negatively to male humor attempts. Nevertheless, Barreca (1991:202) writes, "If they don't laugh it's not a mistake, but a beginning."

In spite of presenting a typical anti-humanistic, antipatriarchal view, Regenia Gagnier (in Barreca 1988:135-148) holds that humor may be used by women to explore difference, critical action, and for "imaginative engagement." (140) Kaufman & Blakely (1980:16) wrote, "Feminists will die of depression...without our humor. By joking we rehumanize, recivilize ourselves...become once again capable of living and loving."

If women are to use humor at all or protest and to learn from it they will first have to have the acceptance which humor requires, and then use humanistic and insight humor. Certainly sexist humor of women and men may be argued against, but we may then also argue against the anger shown especially by AF.


1. Introduction

The following is a description of the metaphors in feminism and shows how humor naturally arises out of these metaphors. It is an example of philosophical analysis and philosophical counseling, but at the same time is the working out of insight humor. It also illustrates satire and expansion of a metaphor humor.

Each philosophy and theory may be seen to consist of a number of central models or metaphors. This is true, as well, of feminism. One of the major models in feminism is that of reducing society, knowledge, science and nearly every aspect of our lives to gender studies. This means that they are reduced to the concepts of male (M) and female (F) and their relationships. This is especially true of antipatriarchal feminism according to which all major problems are caused by "patriarchy," the alleged oppression of all women by all men.

M and F form the major variables which are then related by diverse connectives such as M or F, M and F, MRF (R = oppresses, hates, etc., almost always a negative term), M = F, M and not F (patriarchy), not M and F (gynocracy), not M and not F (deep ecology), etc.

The rules of transformation create a kind of calculus of gender by means of which to generate arguments and theories. Thus, M/F functions in some ways like truth/falsity (T/F) in symbolic logics. Criticisms of the philosophy of logic would also apply to the philosophy of gender studies in terms of a M/F metaphoric.

These rules of combination may be spoken of in terms of rhetorical devices and in terms of the "Metaphorical Method." This method involves finding root models and metaphors, in this case of feminism, examining how they work or can be expanded and developed. As with Wittgenstein (1968), language today is widely given epistemological primacy. The feminist writer, Donovan (1985:153) agrees, "Reality is constructed through language." (cf. McMillan 1982:60) Metaphor mainly characterizes language, or as Robert Frost states, "Thinking…is metaphorical." (Shibles 1971b:110) We also act out and live metaphors. (cf. Johnson and Lakoff 1980) Roiphe (1993:46) states, "It is her entire conceptual framework-her kind of rhetoric, her kind of interpretation-that transforms perfectly stable women into" antipatriarchal feminists.

The metaphorical method involves observing the types and methods of metaphor such as: reversals, oxymora (combinations of opposites), neologisms, juxtapositions, deviations, puns, analogy, imagery, category-mistakes, tension metaphors, humor, irony, taking metaphors literally, etc. The last type is alternately referred to as the "metaphor-to-myth" fallacy (Sarbin 1964), or being captivated by a model or picture. (Wittgenstein 1968) The metaphorical method, in brief, is an examination of rhetoric, and so of thought. It overlaps with the methods of ordinary language philosophy, informal logic and the study of psychological defense mechanisms which also reveal the way in which language can captivate us.

The new AF feminist formulae, the new female metaphorics, are characterized in the literature in the following words: "Rhetorical metaphors…in a literary war." (Barber 1976:29) "The rhetoric of sexual politics." (Frieden in Eisenstein 1983:137) "The radical feminist movement…its eyes inflamed by rhetoric, it has become increasingly blind to the needs of its constituents. It has become its own worst enemy." (Barber 1976:xiv) The approach here is to be neither pro- nor anti-feminism, but to understand it, and explore its various possibilities.

It may be deduced from the above approach that to define is to take a model or metaphor. It is perspectival, a "seeing-as." To take a definition as absolute or literally, is to commit the metaphor-to-myth fallacy. Thus, everything is definable and there are no absolute definitions. To claim that a term is indefinable in the sense that we cannot find its literal or absolute definition, is unacceptable. F. Scott-Maxwell commits this fallacy when she states, "Femininity cannot be clearly defined." (Warren 1980:42) Kristeva (1980) and the deconstructionists commit this fallacy in supposing that because we can find no literal definition we can find no definition at all. The metaphorical method avoids both absolute definition as well as dogmatic essentialism.

What is meant by the basic terms, M (male) and F (female)? The following are some traits often ascribed by AF to each gender: Female = emotional, peaceful, holistic, intuitive, submissive, creative, subjective, altruistic, timid, dependent, having a maternal instinct, loving, considerate, listens, delicate, expressive, having female ideas, impressionistic, and having the need to behave like a female. Male = rational, logical, aggressive, dominant, uncreative, objective, not altruistic, courageous, independent, warrior virtues, cannot love, has fragmented thinking, does not listen, coarse, impersonal, has male ideas, and must play male roles.

Feminists hold two contradictory positions regarding these traits. One group believes that there really are significantly different traits of each gender (whether necessary or not). Recent feminists (e.g. Mary Daly and Dworkin) hold almost a biological determinism that "anatomy is destiny." (Eisenstein 1983:141) They stress sex differences and celebrate them. Firestone, for example, maintains "Men can't love." (Ruth 1980:273) Men's language is said to be aggressive and alienated. (Nye 1987a) Ironically, her own verbal and written language is characteristically strident, aggressive, and angry. Nye (1988:229) wrote, "The philosophies of men are theories of men's activities, activities which from the beginning exclude women; the goal of male theorizing is to rationalize the inconsistencies and destructiveness of these activities." The model of sex differences is even expanded to include "male ideas" and "female ideas." Are there any such things?

Other feminists see no basic gender differences besides biological sex differences. (Warren 1980:135; Barber 1976:35) Basow (1986) found no basic sex differences regarding dependence (73), creativity (151), degree of emotion (57), aggression (66-68), dominance (71), altruism (65), etc. (For an analysis of altruism, see Shibles 1992a) She believes there is no such thing as "maternal instinct" in women. (64) Zimmerman (1987:41) noting how the traits ascribed to women are so positive, asks: "But can such positive 'good' characteristics belong only to one sex?" Basow (1986:291) concludes that differences between individuals is greater than between genders: "Individual differences abound and are much greater than sex differences for nearly all measurable behaviors and attributes." "We must transcend sex roles entirely." (289)

Looking for general psychological gender differences is said to be counterproductive, unfruitful, and does not help the individual person. (Williams in Warren 1980:485) Steinman holds that we have no acceptable critical analysis of the concepts of "masculine" and "feminine." (Warren 1980:444-445) Some of the consequences of the denial of fixed personality traits are: a) One can now choose whichever traits or roles one wishes to develop. "Polyandrogynism" is the view that one can develop or learn any roles, male or female. (Basow 1986:289) An essentialist or deterministic view would deny hope for change. b) Androgyny, in its meaning that one can develop some masculine and some feminine characteristics, becomes groundless, as such traits are denied. (Warren 1980:16-28)

The transcendence of the stereotypes of gender differences leads us to an emphatic consideration of the traits all peoples and individuals instead of the divisiveness of a battle "between the sexes" (M vs. F). This is the concern of humanism rather than of feminism. Humanism, as represented, for example, by the work of the philosopher, John Dewey, transcends gender. However, men and women are biologically different and they may both also choose to celebrate this or other differences, but not at the expense of one another. Different role behaviors may be developed for the mutual satisfaction of all the members of society. This also is the goal of a humanistic approach.

2. M/F Models

A model will be presented to show several kinds of juxtapositions, metonymies, substitutions, reversals, oxymora (contradictions), and other rhetorical moves regarding the metaphor "male (M)/female (F)." For example, for "male" may be substituted: masculine, male sex, male gender, chauvinist, man, male roles, phallic, oppressor, aggressor, warrior, father, strength, hunter, bull, thrust, muscle, etc. For "female": feminine, feminist, female sex, female gender, woman, female role, roundness, receptor; witch, whole, weaver (Daly 1978); delicate. Sartre even used such metaphors as "slime," "hole," and the "Other" for females. (Warren 1980:413-414)

The diversity of meaning invites equivocation, but also interesting comparison. The oxymoron, "man is woman," may give the insight that "a male" may act in a feminine (cultural role) way. Men can be culturally feminine. (Warren 1980:181) One may be a masculine feminist/female (F). Thus, we may expand the metaphor M/F where M and F have different meanings (indicated by numbers): M1, 2, 3,…/F1, 2, 3,….Each meaning may be compared with the others in the same or other class. The relationship is then specified: M1, 2, 3…(Relation) F1, 2, 3, e.g. males play the role of being delicate.

M and F often refer to undefined or vaguely defined abstractions. Whether defined or not, individuals may only partially participate in the definition of the class. The distinction between value-, stipulative- and descriptive definitions must also be distinguished.

In addition, "male" and "female" words may be juxtaposed with other terms such as is the present practice in feminism, to yield: Heretical feminism (Davis and Stone in Warren 1980:441), the female principle (Donovan 1985:144), women's epistemology (Donovan 1985:173), maternal thinking (Donovan 1985:175), metaphysical feminism (Eisenstein 1981:134-135), existential feminism (de Beauvoir, Buytendijk), witchology (Daly 1978), feminist ethics (Daly 1978:12), socialist feminism (See Warren 1980:386.), feminist therapy. All disciplines can be referred to as M or F from masculine gardening to feminist plumbing, feminist mathematics, and feminist cow-milking.

For M/F we may substitute man/woman. But these are not identities. Because men are males does not mean that males are men. Because women are females does not mean females are women.
M man; F woman. M/F are given biological traits. Men/women are not traits given by birth, but are earned and learned. A female is not a woman by birth anymore than she is French or German, kind or unkind by birth. In terms of reversal metaphor and humor, males may be more kind, gentle, and womanly than are females. And this is often the case. In short, the quality, woman, is earned, not merely something one is born with.

Logic will be examined as an example of metaphorical expansion. We can generate the terms: female gender logic, feminine logic, gender logic, delicate logic, egoistic logic, creative logic, emotive logic, mother logic, etc. And this is what is, in fact, found. Donovan (1985:181) speaks of a "feminist logic." Feminists claim that women (F) have a different logic than male (M) logic. A new logic must be developed for women. To reject all M is to reject all that is masculine including male logic and knowledge. The formula is, "All knowledge and institutions are M, and exclude F, therefore all M (institutions and previous knowledge) must be rejected."

F logic is beyond criticism (M) because criticism is male. F logic can, on the other hand, criticize M knowledge. Thus F logic can commit all of the informal and formal logical fallacies without harm. It is beyond M logic. "Masculinism distorts conceptualization." (Ruth 1980:10)

Bowles & Klein (1983:19) speak of reinventing logic. Nye (1987b:676) as an antipatriarchal feminist speaks of the "feminine denial of logic," and states that reason and logic are patriarchal weapons of oppression: "Logic was made for men by men"; "Logic is not thought at all." (Nye 1990:177, 179) She holds that the informal logical fallacies (circularity, ad hominem, etc.) do not apply to her or women at all (Ibid. 174). The feminist criticism of symbolic and formal logic is an incidental, but positive and much needed outcome of this position. (cf. Nye 1987a) Attacks on formal logic may be found especially by humanists (Dewey 1964, Schiller 1912), and ordinary language philosophers (Ryle 1960 and Wittgenstein 1968; see also the journal, Informal Logic). Logic needs to be made more relevant, humanistic and include emotion. There is recent, dramatically increased interest in informal logic, as well as in metaphor and rhetoric. The above feminist criticism of formal logic is, therefore, in some ways, a positive contribution by certain feminists. Their criticism of informal logic (e.g. circularity, ad hominem fallacy is itself an example of reduction to absurdity humor.

On the other hand, some feel that it is arrogant, an "all fallacy" and ad hominem to attack, subvert, and revise all knowledge because it is "male," or written by a male. (Bowles & Klein 1983:233) Sommers (1994) and Patai & Koertge (1994:152) attack antipatriarchal feminism for being anti-reason and anti-logic.

There is a refusal to argue logically, opposition to theory (15), hostility to quantitative research (20), that women have "right brain" knowledge, impressionistic knowledge, holistic, non-dualistic, and non-sequential knowledge. Their logic is extra rational, nourishing, unconscious, and "vegetarian." (Donovan 1985:167-168) "Vegetarian logic" is being captivated by a metaphor humor, "taking things literally" humor, and reduction to absurdity humor. One could similarly speak of broccoli, string bean, carrot, or banana logic. The AF philosophy becomes a joke. For Cixous (1981:252) the position becomes metaphorical. She says woman "un-thinks" (de-pense). This is to pun on "think" (pense) as dépenser ("waste energy").

Women supposedly know better than men: the contingent, the logic of the moment, the concrete, and the everyday world. Feminist logic is said to be mystical, relativistic, beyond language and inexpressible. (Donovan 1985:181) This allows much possibility for self-righteousness and prejudice as in the expression, "I just know what is right." If F logic is intuitive, then feminist theory is itself intuitive and does not have or require proof. It is perhaps like religious "insights" (Daly's alchemy gnosticism). Women's intuition is supposedly a fine attunement to the emotions of those around them. (J. Miller in Warren 1980:329)

One consequence of this view is that if all knowledge is M and so irrational, then feminists would not be irrational, because men are. Only M can be mistaken. That is, mistakes are male (M). The formula requires opposition to "M" knowledge of whatever sort. Zimmerman (1987:41) asks, "Does feminism pretend to provide a nondistorted, impartial way of interpreting experience?" To do so would be to commit the metaphor-to-myth fallacy.

As with logic, science and objectivity must be abandoned. (Keohane 1982:117) Ruth (1980:22) speaks of the "masculinist God of Science." Marion Namenwirth states, "Patriarchal science needs a coronary bypass and feminism is providing it." (In Bleier 1986:38) The philosopher Sandra Harding says that scientific inquiry is rape. Science is "marital rape, the husband as scientist forcing nature to his wishes." (Beard & Cerf 1995:147) Patai & Koertge (1994:141) speak of "feminists' wholesale dismissal of science."

Although supporting the dualism of M/F, antipatriarchal feminists often attack dualisms as being male. Some, therefore, reject the dualism of reason-emotion while maintaining the dualistic analogy, M : logic :: F : emotion (read as, M is to logic, as F is to emotion) (Nye 1987b). Other dualisms are: God-creation, mind-body, humanity-nature (Warren 1980:124-126, 402), M : F :: Man : Other. Compare de Beauvoir and Sartre on Other Woman as the negative image of man. Woman as not-male, woman as shadow of man. F = non M, as opposed to F M. "Women's reality is fluid, uncategorizable, beyond the either-or, sado-masochistic dichotomizing that characterizes phallic logic." (Donovan 1985:116) This may be contrasted with Basow (1986:49): "In research focusing directly on analytic ability, few gender differences have been found."

Some consequences of the opposition to dualism are or would be: (a) If there is no M/F dualism, then F may include all M (M = F), and so F too would be oppressive. Women would oppress women and men. (b) It is dualistic to be anti-dualistic. (c) Feminists would have to stop using dualisms or either-or fallacies such as: M/F, love-hate, beautiful-terrible, seductive and dangerous (Ruth 1980:55), wife or career, capitalism or socialism, heterosexual or homosexual, reason or intuition, housework or job, patriarchy or matriarchy. (d) Opposites may be combined in metaphor (oxymoron) yielding insight, tension, paradox, contradiction, and a way to break down dualisms, e.g. neutral gender, female males, etc.

Thus, we may say M = F. For example, as the clitoris is said to be an organ homologous to the penis, heterosexuality becomes a form of homosexuality. M = F in terms of androgyny, or equality of the sexes. (e) The stylistic and mythopoeic development of a richly figurative language. We can now begin to understand how Cixous (1981) came to write the following which presents substitutions for F and a separation of F and M: "A woman is never far from mother: there is always within her at least a little of that good mother's milk. She writes in white ink." (251) "The act of writing is equivalent to masculine masturbation (and so the woman who writes cuts herself out a paper penis)." (253)

As the M/F model predicts, we find that for antipatriarchal feminists who reject everything M, F-love becomes "F loves only F," or lesbianism. It is expressed by the French word, jouissance meaning woman's pleasure, woman's erotic, or the love of woman for woman. It grounds a female countersociety. F-F relations are also called "bonding" or "mother daughter" relationships, thus we find increased literature on this subject. "F not M" also leads to the superiority of women over men and so to sexism and a gynocracy. This is expressed in the following:

"The continued collusion of any woman with any man is an event that retards the progress of woman supremacy." (Johnson 1973:276)

"I want dominance for women." (Altbach 1984:339, cf. Eisenstein 1983:134-5)

"Women should dominate all public institutions." (Chesler in Warren 1980:96-7)

As a result of these sorts of statements the question is asked in Keohane (1982:45), "Does not [Antipatriarchal] feminism become an inverted sexism?" But Barrett (1980) opposes such separatism. The formula, F vs. M, or F over M, leads to a new sexism, man hating, and reverse discrimination. As mentioned earlier, a heuristic model may be created to explore diverse possible combinations of M and F which may be summarized as follows:

1. M = F. Androgyny, literally "man woman," flexibility of sex roles (Ruth 1980:155; Heilbrun 1973). Here we have equality, oxymoron, rejection of differences, identity dialectic, process, metaphor of "x is y" type, humanism.

2. M or F. Dualism, either-or fallacy, antipatriarchal Women's Studies, antipatriarchal feminism, sexism, ignores gradations. "M or F" is like black or white, or in formal logic "either true or false."

3. M and F. Cooperation, liberal feminism, men's and women's studies, humanism.

4. M not F. Male supremacy, exclusion, rejection, sexism, homosexuality, women are to become like men.

5. F not M. Female superiority, exclusion, rejection, revolt, revolution, antipatriarchal feminism, lesbian feminism, men to become like women. "We shall…be men to ourselves." (Barber 1976:4)

6. M (verb) F. (e.g. men oppress women. Verb is negative for AF.)

7. F (verb) M. (e.g. women support and love men. Verb is positive, though positive verbs are not used by antipatriarchal feminists.)

8. M (preposition) F. (e.g. M over F, M under F, M by F, M in F, F beside M, etc.)

9. F (preposition) M. (Reverse of above.)

10. M F. Learned or unlearned differences between M and F. Stereotypes. Chosen or well-founded differences lead to humanism. Arbitrary, stipulative differences, such as those of antipatriarchal feminism, lead to sexism.

11. One M to one F. (Monogamy. Serial monogamy.) This reverses to: One F or M to many (Anti-marriage, free love, open marriage).

12. M?F. Honest, open, humanistic research into gender differences. This is not part of Women's Studies (Patai & Koertge 1994, Roiphe 1993, Sommers 1994).

Other grammatical and rhetorical possibilities are too numerous to mention, but the above schematic can show the views which have been and will be held, and the directions the movement is now taking. In the above model, time, context, and quantity must be specified. Thus, serial marriage may approach promiscuity, affirmative action redresses past injustice. Should only women serve in the military in the future as long as men have in the past? How many, when and how long have individual women and men been liberal, Marxist, metaphysical, antipatriarchal, victim, anti-humanistic, etc., feminists?

The above M/F chart should accordingly be changed to, e.g. (quantity or degree) M = (quantity or degree) F, at time t in context (specified) x. "=" must be clarified as well as M and F. That this is seldom done only indicates that the models M = F, etc., are used as root metaphors to be expanded in many directions. (See later analysis of equality.) If we are conscious that these are only metaphors, we may use them to gain insight. If we treat them essentialistically as literal or true, we commit the metaphor-to-myth fallacy.

Word and grammar deviation create new possibilities such as are illustrated by puns and neologisms: malfunctioning = male-functioning (Daly 1978:xi), gynocide instead of genocide (Cixous 1981:258), herstory for history (Lakoff in Warren 1980:264; Bowles & Klein 1983:11), "I dream in female" (Donovan 1985:167), "Woman for woman" (Cixous 1981:252), "Sex is everywhere" (Firestone in Warren 1980:147), "Exorcise patriarchal words" (Daly), "gynergy" is "women's energy" (Daly), "gynomorphic language" (Daly), "Think with your body," "gyn/ecological metaethics" (Daly 1978:13), "metapatriarchal" (Daly 1978:7). Good and evil are "phallocratic" (Daly 1978:12, 13), God is a verb, not a noun (Daly 1978); John Dewey also held this last view.), "Ecology" for feminists is "gynecology," "cosmic orgasm" (Barber 1976:5), "Society is phallic" (cf. Freud), "Society must be made mother," "Everything is gender" (e.g. language is gender), "Sex is war," "War is sex"; "Castrate" old linguistic forms (Daly); Women's "second coming" (Daly), "phallic morality" (Daly), "The future is just the birth canal of the present" (Sonia Johnson 1988). "Grammar" is "grandmother" and "W-omen" are predictable, possible future neologisms. One could add "antimale" for animal. As an example of substitution metaphor, Goldfield (1983) in The Efemcipated English Handbook, substitutes "fem" for "men" and "man" wherever these letters appear together: Manhattan > Femhattan, egomania > egofemia, argument > argufemt, manifesto > femifesto, many > femy, mental > femtal, comment > comfemt, manage > femage, mend > femd, kleptomania > kleptofemia, manhole > femhole (92).

Reversals are used in: God becomes female. Men envy female sex organs (reversal of Freudian view; Warren 1980:268). Negative words are given positive meanings. The following become desirable and good terms: hag (hagology), crone, lesbian, spinster, witch (witchology). The woman now "spooks" (casts spells), "sparks" (communicates) and "spins" (creates worlds) (Daly 1978:373).

The metaphor-to-myth fallacy is committed when one takes one's model literally or is captivated by it. A recent example is by the antipatriarchal feminist McClary (1991) who interprets music in terms of the notion of "patriarchy." She views all music in terms of sexuality and proposes to deconstruct, for example, classical and absolute music by "removing that fig leaf" (55). Classical music is said to show masculine transcendence and feminine evil. She speaks of the "sexual probing of Beethoven," music as "seduction, the ejaculatory quality of many…moments of" Carmen, and Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony is said to be "oppressively patriarchal." She wrote, "The point of recapitulation in the first movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony unleashes one of the most horrifyingly violent episodes in the history of music." (128) Musical terms are taken literally in terms of her political, antipatriarchal sexual agenda such that, for example, musical "thrust" is heard as male sexual violence. (130)

We have a picture of the complete rejection of the male and anything male (M) including language. Regarding language, women can now supposedly only "shout nonsense" to men, speak in figurative language and exterminate them metaphorically. "If the grammar of language is itself reflective of male thought, then nothing women can say or write in existing language can ever be truly feminist." (Nye 1988:3) But one cannot get out of language. We are all caught in the linguocentric predicament even more than we are caught by our sexuality. Metaphor and neologisms are an attempt to present the unexpected, to shock, surprise the reader, deconstruct, break down old categories, and destroy the language. In a sense, it is women deconstructing women. Metaphors have shock value because they are deviations or even contradictions and are logically absurd. One reason why Nye says that fallacies like contradiction do not apply to women is perhaps so that she can resolve her contradictory problem of how the antipatriarchal feminist can reject (male) language yet use this language to do so. But this is probably unlikely.

We can see how these metaphors can transform and constitute thought. We can understand how the feminist may come to see herself as woman on the cross, or with one leg pulled out from under her and the other still in the air. Spretnak accordingly writes, "All is one" (unifying metaphor) (1986:41), and states, "God is earth" (sinking, deification, and deviation types of metaphor). Woman may be seen as an extension of man or vice versa, men as extensions of their jobs, women as mere housewives, gender as everywhere (Donovan 1985:147), the world as masculine (feminine), M/F as a master/slave relationship, marriage/heterosexuality as abuse, education as male punishment, knowledge as rape, public reality as M and so requiring destruction. (Daly 1978)

Helene Deutsche's theory is "more 'Freudian' [M] than that of Freud himself" (Warren 1980:117), all sexuality is assault, women are in a new time and space and refuse to be caught in the past (Ruth 1980:24), man's oppression of nature is like man's oppression of women (ecofeminism in K. Warren 1987:4); the present religions are male so must be rejected in the woman's movement. (Daly, Gilman, Reather, Stone, cf. Warren 1980) There is to be no hierarchy (M) and no leader (M) (anti-leader leaders) (Basow 1986:297); justice is M, therefore justice too must be rejected (Zimmerman 1987:35) This view deals a blow to the equality feminists who seek fair treatment for women. (cf. critique of equality below.)

The above rhetoric should show that feminists cannot be simplistically classified. Their views range as do the possible metaphors and combinations of M/F. Consequently, some feminists reject classification of feminists. (Ruth 1980:453) On the other hand, this may lead to relativism and reverse essentialism. To classify, like to define, as has been said earlier, is merely to find a model or metaphor. Nothing is unclassifiable. The classifications of feminism usually given are: liberal, Freudian, Jungian, Marxist, existentialist, spiritual, Antipatriarchal, and socialist (combination of Marxist and Antipatriarchal). These are root metaphors which are nevertheless useful for pragmatic classification. As was seen earlier, most Women's Studies programs have been characterized as teaching antipatriarchal feminism.

Feminist theorizing often turns out to be debates as to which discipline has the best M/F theory, for example, politics, economics, biology, theology, poetry, psychology, philosophy, etc. Are M/F differences innate, learned, functional or pragmatic, essentialistic, determined, etc.? Some define liberal (not patriarchal) feminism metaphorically as equality. (Feminism is equality, or F = equality.) "The term 'feminism' refers to the moral or political commitment or movement to achieve equality for women" (F = M) (Warren 1980:151). "Equality" is an ambiguous term and can bring about unfairness. It is often taken to mean identity. But two things cannot be one (identical). The adoption of this meaning led women to seek to do exactly what men do: to earn exactly the same amount of money, have the same high-paying (but not low-paying) jobs, contribute to the killing of over a million people in the Gulf War, have fifty-fifty settlements regardless of fairness in case of divorce, to take on characteristics of men such as aggression; to smoke like men, to be "clones of men." (Eisenstein 1983:138) Some held that marriage cannot be an equal partnership unless women earn money, preferably as much as the men. (Warren 1980:349) There were moves made to become a uni-sex. Borgese believes that in an ideal society, everyone will be female for the first half of their lives, and male the second half. (Warren 1980:384-385) This feminist view easily lends itself to humor, or a reduction to the absurd. But if equality means identity, and no two things can be identical, there can be no equality (Maren-Grisebach 1982:27)

And to establish a limited, mechanical or "blind" equality can exercise great unfairness. Consider the following: (a) Everyone is given rewards whether or not they need it or worked for it (non-distributive justice). (b) Certainly men and women are not in equal circumstances if men must serve in the military and women not, if men are the main supporters and women are not, or if women give birth and men do not. Men and women are not in equal circumstances. (Nor are any two men or women in equal circumstances.) Each has a number of different cultural powers, rights and responsibilities at any particular time. (cf. Shibles 1991b)

It would seem that equality should rather be defined as "fairness,"which is then given a naturalistic and consequentialistic interpretation. It can be unfair to treat different people in different circumstances equally. Even "equal pay for equal work" can exercise an unfairness. A fair equality would involve a consideration of the context and comparison of one's total situation ("holism" of which some feminists speak). Gale Baker (1987:65) states, "It is my concern that…we not let the notion of equality overshadow our concern for more basic issues of social justice. Equality should not be the primary or determinate factor in feminist political decision-making." James Fishkin (1979:5-7) wrote in this regard, "'Equality' can bring about tyranny." The European Greens (Die Grünen) leader, Petra Kelly (1980) gives an enlightened view of equality when she argues that women should not try to become equal to men if it means accepting anti-humanistic male jobs and militant values of men: "It cannot be emancipation to stand beside men in the various national armies and learn to shoot and learn to kill…or learn how to operate a nuclear reactor." (2) "I do not wish to stand equally beside men." (49) (See also McMillan 1982:1-15, 115 ff.)

Many women did not vote for the equal rights amendment because it would mean they would be drafted as men are. Carolyn Bird wrote, "The draft is unfair to the whole male sex. Women are not drafted, and they should be." (Safilios-Rothschild 1972:173) If mechanical equality were sought, should affirmative action accordingly require women alone to serve in the military until as many women have been killed as men? Blind equality is like blind affirmative action. The latter may lead to reverse discrimination. (Gross 1977) A wounded veteran may today find that a woman is hired instead of him. If a balance of equalities is sought, it would take into consideration the total circumstances of men and women to harmonize differences, rights and responsibilities in a fair way. "Sisyphean equality" ("the rock of Sisyphus rolls up one hill only to roll down another") is the view that there are endless numbers of groups and classifications of people that could be cited as candidates for affirmative action. (Rae 1981:141; see also 134, 139) regarding balanced equalities versus blind equality). Equality, in one sense, can be inequality in another. In another sense of equality we find Elizabeth Fee (in Bleier 1986:43) identifying as follows thereby generating a synonymic model:

mind = M nature = F

mind body

rational emotional

active passive

objective subjective

powerful powerless

scientific unscientific

Although she establishes the M/F model as male domination and "patriarchy" (M control F), she nevertheless holds that the feminist must not be separatistic (F, not M) or (F/F), but rather be concerned with all of humanity, with "human liberation." (M and F) (54)

3. Summary

Feminist philosophy and Women's Studies are based on the antipatriarchal metaphor which is taken literally. It has been critiqued by the use of humor, such as, satire, insight humor, reduction to absurdity, contradiction, informal fallacies, metaphor to myth or literalist fallacy, substitution, metaphor, etc. The antipatriarchal feminist [AF] views of humor were also examined. They were found to be predictable on the basis of the AF model: Humor is male, so should be rejected. Accordingly, a woman's humor should be developed which is pro-power, pro-revolt, and anti-male. Antipatriarchal feminists, have advocated the use of anger, rage and blame, yet undermine humor and positive emotions. (Shibles 1991a) They would turn M/F humor into F/F humor, that is only female to female humor. This position appears to lack a substantial basis in contemporary theories of emotion.

AF humor is the opposite of humanistic humor. Feminists who oppose Women's Studies and AF present views more consistent with humanistic humor. Those who have opposed the F/F model to try to turn antipatriarchal feminism into humanistic feminism, have tended to be critical feminist philosophers. In terms of basic, root metaphors, antipatriarchal feminism has little in common with humanistic feminism. (Shibles 1995bcgij)

A few isolated statements by AF feminists also break away from the AF paradigm moving toward a more accepting and humanistic view of humor. It has also been seen how the expansion of a metaphor or model, such as AF, can generate humor.

This section concentrated on the critique of the literature and theory. The next sections illustrate aspects of feminist humor by means of specific examples of humor.

F. Satire and Insight Humor About Antipatriarchal Feminists: Light Bulb Jokes.

Many of the jokes will not be understood unless one is familiar with the subject and/or the criticisms of the subject or belief system. Antipatriarchal feminist jokes require a background of the critical literature on the subject such as the one given above. Those who have outrageous views in any area of knowledge, including philosophers, lawyers, scientists, religious people, etc. will have to tolerate and deal with the reductions to absurdity of their views.

LIGHT BULB JOKES (Insight Humor and Satire)

The formulation is: How many antipatrarchal feminists or Women's Studies professors does it take to screw in a light bulb? (Alternate formulation: How many antipatriarchal feminists or Women's Studies professors does it take to change a light bulb?)

Example: How many does it take to screw in a light bulb? Answer: None. Male light bulbs can never change.


A bulb is a phallic symbol and should be smashed with a hammer.

A group of angry feminists to march and "take back the night."

A group to claim that light bulbs were created by men to oppress women and so should be discarded.

A women's group-to redefine darkness as politically incorrect.

AC/DC are not PC. (Politically Correct)

AC/DC are patriarchal. Let's just put it on a monthly cycle.

Ah, an empty light socket. A good way to teach men cunnilingus.

All lights must be turned off. They are part of a patriarchal society.

All women should be encouraged to move up the ladder.

Call Kate Clinton. She says she is a fumerist: "I fume and make light." (Denise Marshall in Barreca 1988:172)

Changing light bulbs is against out will.

Electric power, sex power, what's the difference? All is gender.

Electricity is shocking to all women.

Enough to form a fight for the right to light movement.

Equal rights for equal lights.

Good, and we will not stop until the last light of the patriarchical society has been extinguished.

I can do it myself.

I light up my life.

If you just leave us alone we will screw ourselves.

I'll do it, but I'll fake it.

Impossible. There are no female light bulbs.

It would have to be a woman. Men just fumble around with their fingers up there.

Light bulbs want to be regarded as objects of illumination, not merely as glass objects.

Light humor is created by men and so it is not funny.

Many, to try to break the glass ceiling.

No specific number, but females are preferred.

None, they can't figure out which outfit to wear in order to do it.

None. ""Light bulb" is clearly a thinly disguised innuendo referring to "little breasts."

None. All light bulbs oppress all women all the time. (cf. Similar statement made about men by Kate Millett in Sexual Politics 1970.)

None. The "turning of the screw" is clearly a thinly disguised inuendo referring to The Taming of the Shrew.

None. They get a man to do it, then criticize him for making them dependent on him.

None. To screw a male bulb into a female socket is rape.

None. You must be joking.

Oh, I thought that was a dildo!

One, but she won't glow.

One feminist and one man to make it frosted.

One feminist can screw up everything.

One feminist to do all the twisting movements, but actually just fake it.

One man, and a woman to say, "I could have done it better."

One man, but she will hate him for it.

One not to replace it, but to empower it.

One to change a "his" bulb to a "her" bulb.

One to dial: ATA-GIRL.

One to do it, six to claim sexual harassment.

One to engender a change in the bulb.

One to scold it until it turns red.

One to transvest the light.

One, but first the filament must be redefined as filawomant.

One. She just holds the bulb and waits for the world revolve around her.

One-with a female bulb. (Oxymoron)

Screw is a sexist term. We prefer the term "gender empowerment."

"Screw the light bulb."

Sex demeans women especially in light bulbs.

That's not funny!

The light bulb does not need changing. It is the system which has to change.

They always do it in the dark to prevent voyeurism.

They prefer to use a candle.

This is clearly unwanted darkness abuse.

Three and a half. I don't know why, it is just women's intuition.

Too-many times a day.

Two to do it and many to say that is better than with a man.

Two women who can really spark.

Two, a man to put his finger in the socket, and woman to sing, "You light up my life."

Two, but possibly more. Light is sexually transmitted.

Two. A man to take her to dinner, and then if he asks, she may let him screw it in. If the light goes on, she will pay for half of the dinner.

Two. One to hold it and one to hammer it in.

Two. One man to do the work and the woman to just lie there.

Two-the same way you screw in tulips.

Update the light? "Up-date" is clearly an innuendo for rape.

We are strong, we are proud, we are women loving women in light bulbs.

We don't screw, we unscrew.

Who wants to know?

Why fix it? It will just go out again next time I use my vibrator.

Why impose our values? If it wishes to be a bulb of no light, we should respect its uniqueness and difference.

Women can screw in light bulbs just like men can.

Women don't do lights. Where have you been?

Women no longer feel that they should change light bulbs.

For more light bulb jokes turn this on.



Mary Daly's books are allegorical (1978, 1984), e.g. "The Metapatriarchal Journey of Exorcism and Extasy [ecstasy]." (Intro. 1978)


Women tend to be the butt of sex jokes.

Women own/women's own humor.

No sex with a woman with multiple personality disorders. (BC:31) May result in class action suit.

"All right ladies, I want each of you back in his cell right now." (Beard & Cerf 1995:125)

"We had to go deep inside ourselves." (Mary Daly 1978:xv)

Feminists have holesome humor.

There are some things which only happen to women, period.


Feminists do not want to be sex objects, then they proceed to genderize everything.

In regard to sex, no is no, and yes is no.


Anti-academic. Instead celebrate spinning. (woman's work) (Mary Daly 1978:xiii)


False cause fallacy

Meat eating disempowers women and causes wife beating.


Men can't speak of women's humor, only women can. But women can speak of men's humor.

Having Women's Studies teach anti-sexism is like letting a rabbit deliver a head of lettuce.

Insight Humor

Therapist > the rapist


Women's Studies > Women's Stud

AF never take yes for an answer.

Sex is rape (MacKinnon in Roiphe 1993:81) Ironically, then masturbation is self-rape. Therefore, AF encourages women to rape themselves.

Sexism and sexual harassment are defined so broadly that feminists themselves are seen to be sexist and sexually harassing. Women generally have long been criticized for withholding sex from men and in this sense harassing them.

For the feminists all x (societies, logic, knowledge, language, disciplines, writing) are male. Ironically, then, even woman is male.

The antipatriarchal feminist, Nancy Walker, dedicated her book against male humor to her father. (1988)

Language Deviation


"Man f**ks woman, subject, verb, object." (MacKinnon 1989:124) (Author's *)

Rhyme and Alliteration

"Pit of patriarchal possession." (Mary Daly 1978:2)

"Fire of female fury." (Mary Daly 19788)

There once was a woman from Spain, who had three minutes pleasure and nine months pain.

Language Pronunciation

Lesbianism: Mouse to mouse resuscitation.

Barreca (1991) says that when a woman laughs she is "breaking through a barrier."

Women are said to have their own form of woman to woman *humor*. It is for this reason that we must put humor in asterisk (pronounced: ass to kiss).


Regina Barreca's book title: They Used to Call Me Snow White-But I Drifted: Women's Strategic Use of Humor 1991.

Sex is colonization. (Cheryl Clarke in BC:26)

Feminist theory as "clitoral hermeneutics." (Sommers 1994:50)

"Ejaculatory quality of many...moments of Carmen." (McClary 1991:67)

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is seen as rape (BC11-12; McClary 1991:128)

"Belly dancing is like Jello on a plate." (Teacher who said this was fired for "metaphorical harassment." BC102)

Humor is the rape of language. (cf. Susan Purdie 1993:55)

Feminists refer to male writers as "literary sperm salesmen." (BC:93)

Woman is a hole in the middle; feminist is a gender "gap."


"Let x = y" > "Let sex equal why." (Brooke-Rose Amalgamemnon)

Reduction to Absurdity

"Feminist algebra." (Klein 1996:203)

Feminism: "victimization competition" (BC104)

Women can claim rape if the man does not call the next day. (Farrell 1993:311)

All music is concerned with sex and gender. (McClary 1991:54)


Behind every woman there's a man trying to stop her. (Stillion & White 1987)

Feminist humor is women un-laughing with women.

Love: The mythic celebration of female negation." (BC:94; Dworkin 1976:105)
Reading antipatriarchal feminist theory causes rape.

Reading antipatriarchal feminist theory causes sexism.

Sexual harassment. A woman's refusal to have sex with a man. (Should be punishable)

Men fake emotions when talking to women.

Penis is a dildo substitute. (BC:40)

Feminist harassment.

"It's been nice chatting with you, Loretta, and remember me to the little man." (New Woman in Sochen 1991:45)

"Cunning bunch of runts." [Barreca (1992:3) quotes this, but says it is not funny.]


Adam was a rough draft. (Judith Stillion 1987)

Why are women bad at parking. Because they are used to men telling them 6" is really 10."

"Dis-spell the language of phallocracy; which keeps us under the spell of brokenness." (Mary Daly 1978:4)

Democracy > phallocracy (Mary Daly 1978:4)

Male functioning > malfunctioning (Mary Daly 1978)

Patriarchy: All men oppress all women all the time. (Kate Millett 1971; also circular humor, all-fallacy, ridicule.) (Men must be really incredible to be able do such a task. Ordinarily one can only manage to oppress a few at a time.)


Therapist: Which do you find worse, Ms. Dworkin, the premenstrual or the postmenstrual syndrome?

Woman's Guide to Exercise: Around the Block in 80 Days.

Judith Viorst (1972) Yes, Married: A Saga of Love and Complaint.


Democracy > Hagocracy (Mary Daly 1978:3)

Chronology > Crone-ology (Mary Daly 1978:xv)

Woman in mirror: "I think I'll become a persecuted minority today."


Why are cucumbers better than men?

More consistent.

Average cucumber is at least 6" long.

They stay hard for a week.

They don't get too excited.

They won't tell you size doesn't count.

They are easy to pick up.

You can fondle them in the market for firmness.

You won't have to check in as "Mrs. Cucumber."

You can go to the movie with it and see the movie.

It will never leave you for another cucumber.

Why beer is better than women?

Beer goes down easy.

It doesn't talk of respect.

It doesn't mind if you take the top off.

It doesn't expect foreplay.

A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle. (Attributed to Flo Kennedy Kaufman & Blakely 1980:16) Gloria Steinem (is said to have quoted it, but Ironically she now married.) One may also render this insightfully as: A woman without a man is like being sel-fish and without a bicycle.

"Having a sense of humor about sex is like having a sense of humor about death." (Barreca 1991:200)


"My life is filled with cereal." (Phyllis McGinley in Walker 1988:155)


Wow! My haircut made me look like a man. I'd better be careful or I might rape myself.

It used to be that women were not in the mood for sex. Now they are not in the mood for humor.

Maybe the feminists are right. I bought my daughter a football and she put it in a blanket in a baby carriage and fed it with a baby bottle.

Substitution (of man for woman) (cf. Goldfield 1983 The Efemcipated English Handbook.)

acumen > acufem

argument > argufemt

boisterous > girlsterous

chronology > Crone-ology (Mary Daly 1978:xv)

comments > comfemnts

cunning language > cunnilingus

development > developfemt

dormant > dorfemt

egomaniac > egofemiac

female > fe fi fo fum

female > fee

female > fefem

fragment > fragfemt

human > hufem

hymn > hern

instrumental > instrufemtal

judgment > judgfemt

mandated > womandated

mangy > femgy

manifests > femifests

manipulate > femipulate

manner > femner

manuscript > femuscript

menial > femial

mention > femtion

mentor > femtor

nymphomania > nymphofemia

person > perdaughter

the > tshe

therapist > the rapist

woman > wo

woman > womb

woman > wofem

[Ironically, none of these substitutions can work for the feminist, because even "fem-" and "female" and "woman" are, on their views, patriarchal terms.]

Vice Humor

Mary Daly (1978) Acknowledgment reads: " I thank myself."

By glamour witches could cause the male "member" to disappear. (Mary Daly 1978:4)

S.C.U.M. means Society for Cutting Up Men.

"What does a woman do if she sees a man running zigzag thru her garden?" "Keep shooting." (Emma Jan. 1996)

"The traditional flowers of courtship are the traditional flowers of the grave, delivered to the victim before the kill." (Dworkin 1988:14)

Purposely burn dinner as war against males. (Nancy Walker 1988:139)

Feminists are joining the military so they can kill men legally.

"Why on earth shouldn't we want everything?" (Barreca 1991:198)

"I'm a feminist. Not the fun kind." Andrea Dworkin (Barreca 1991:178)

"If she wants to serve him anything it's a dead rat with a bomb in its belly...Burning dinner is not an incompetence, but war." (M. Piercy in Baker 1986:397-398)

What a horrible man. I'll get revenge against him. How? I'll marry him.


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Shibles, Warren. See also other entries in main humor book bibliography.

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or continue to Chapter 10a on

Insight Humor: Humor About Religion

and Insight Humor Against War.