Portfolio Exercise 3

In his article “Why Women Aren’t Funny”, Christopher Hitchens, argues that women aren’t as funny as men; while making his argument, Hitchens lists several reasons to support his claim and utilizes several rhetorical devices to make his case more convincing.

First of all, he tries to make the audience, the general public, to empathize with him by making them recall dating stories that show how men’s sense of humor is emphasized in dating reflections while women’s are not. While appealing to the audience, Hitchens uses a casual tone to give the impression that he is one of them. Moreover, the entire article is kind of like a conversation between the author and the audience, and this adds a dynamic tone to Hitchen’s argument. While the sincere attitude of Hitchens and his constant interaction with the reader helps the establishment of Ethos, he isn’t completely successful in establishing his credibility to the audience. Other than the fact that he is man who have done some research about the topic, he doesn’t seem to have any expertise in the matter. “Women aren’t as funny as men” is a strong statement that needs some sort of psychological, sociological, or anthropological support behind it, and Hitchens doesn’t seem to have training in any of these as far as we know.

In terms of logos, while Hitchens article is quite coherent, his arguments lack support. First of all, he says that women aren’t funny because they don’t need  to be to attract the male attention. According to Hitchens, women already appeal to men as they are: even though, it isn’t explicitly stated, Hitchens refers to aesthetics in this case. However, Hitchens completely dismisses the cases where women primarily attract men with their personality instead of their looks Secondly, he claims that women are slow in understanding jokes and quick in identifying unfunny material and adds that women appreciate jokes more once they understand why it is funny. He supports this claim with a scientific research done by Stanford School of Medicine; however, he doesn’t establish a clear link between his main thesis and this secondary claim. How do these three attributes of women show that women aren’t as funny as men? Hitchens has to answer this question in order to build a stronger case. Thirdly, Hitchens says that humor is more about “filth” and dark phenomena which men are more inclined to enjoy and create. In order to support this claim, he compares the emotional states of men and women and claim that women are more vulnerable, emotional, and tender. Here he appeals to the emotions of the female readers as well which serves the Pathos. Finally, Hitchens claims that women have more of an authority in the society because of their childbearing abilities and that this adds seriousness to their character which prevents them from  enjoying the “childish”, “foolish” stuff that men appreciate.This statement is the most unique one because it praises women to prove that they have an inferior sense of humor.

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