Man vs Woman

I was just reading this interesting article on male vs female stand up comedians.

It suggests that women aren’t as good at standing up and making people laugh because they don’t grow up in the competitive environment that men do. Apparently, those of us without fallopian tubes live a life of one-upmanship all day, every day from the moment we are born. This hones our verbal gladiatorial skillz and turns the funnier of us into sharper comedians.

Is that the case? My first instinct is to dismiss it as sexist bullshit, but then I think a little more and perhaps see something in it. In addition, I wonder if it’s sexist after all.

I have two kids, a boy and a girl, and my seven-year-old son is roughly 1,000,000,000,000 times more competitive than my three-year-old daughter. She is strong-willed, smart and always stands her ground, but unlike my son, she doesn’t seek to create a contest out of every single thing from Subway Surfers and Thumb War to getting dressed and brushing teeth. I know it’s merely anecdotal, but I can see where the guy who wrote the article is coming from. My son and his friends are painfully, constantly, ridiculously competitive, while my daughter can’t see why all that guff is so important.

Which brings me to the sexism point. There’s nothing to say that being competitive is a good thing. It can certainly lead you to strive to greater efforts and achieve more than you would otherwise, but it also turns life into a somewhat pointless series of meaningless contests. Even if you compete in some of the more lucrative areas, such as sport, you’ll only compete against other men, who have the same competitive advantage as you. And has this competitive edge helped men in other areas? Women currently dominate the music charts and have no trouble winning Booker prizes (both massive competitions), while comediennes such as Tina Fey and Miranda (yes, I know she’s shit, but she’s very successful) also manage to dominate their field. So perhaps their lack of overall competitiveness allows them to concentrate on making their work good for its own sake, creating higher quality stuff that wins in the end.

So men might be more competitive, but it might not matter.

As this is pure conjecture rather than science, what are your unfounded opinions on the matter?