“Women aren’t funny”, “you’re funny for a woman”, “men don’t like women who are funny” – I’m willing to bet you’ve heard at least one of these phrases before. Let’s not even entertain for a moment that they’re even slightly accurate. Not only are women all over the world incredibly funny, the fact that they’ve managed to listen to shit like that for years and not rack up a body count is solid evidence they have a pretty good sense of humour to boot.
It’s completely unfounded sexist views like “women aren’t funny” that contribute to the uneven playing field for women who want to pursue creative careers like writing, acting, or film-making, particularly when they use a comedic lens. You only have to look at this report commissioned by Channel 4 which found that on TV women tended be outnumbered 2 to 1 and that when it came to instances of sexism towards women, comedy shows were the worst culprits.
Two-time Emmy winner Stephanie Laing has worked in television for 20 years, and she’s decided to try and help the problem with her new digital network that launched this year. Called PYPO, the network is dedicated to supporting female voices in comedy.
PYPO stands for ‘Put Your Pretty On’, and it was inspired by Laing’s daughter who one day told Laing she couldn’t leave the house until she’d “put her pretty on.” Laing wrote in a post on Medium that “Slightly freaked out, and not sure where she got that from, I watched as she put her Chapstick on. I realized in that moment that it would be my job to help define “pretty” to my daughter.” Since then the phrase has become a mantra for she and her daughter: “PYPO represents “pretty” from the inside out and validation.”
To make the site happen, Laing has teamed up with Susan Paley Fisher, former CEO of Beats by Dre, as well as a whole host of content creators including award winning filmmaker Farah Abushwesha, Veep writer Georgia Pritchett, and Marie Claire executive editor Lea Goldman.
PYPO wants to encourage up-and-coming comedians and creatives by giving them a space to express themselves, saying it “believes in disruptive, witty, and honest comedy as a medium for current conversations to be explored in a smart and unapologetic way.”
The comedy on the site covers a range of media from writing to comedy shorts, to animations and illustrations and can either be original content or submissions from subscribers. Twice a month PYPO choose a topic for discussion. On a Monday subscribers receive a newsletter called PYPEline which gives the topic for the week and a host of original content based on it. Thursday brings user-generated content from subscribers who ‘PYPEdin’ on the topic that week. The following Monday continues the conversation and everything is wrapped up on the Thursday after. How you PYPE in is up to you, whether you’d like to submit a video or a personal essay and there are already plenty of contributions from women across the world.
If you want to find out more about PYPO you can visit the website here, where the topic of discussion right is the love/hate relationship. We’re happy to say we have nothing but love for PYPO – here’s to funny women finally getting the platform they deserve.