Hey, look, a video of girls drinking beer and watching sports in casual attire. A strike against gender stereotypes! Oh wait, it's a giant joke. Interesting punchline?
A sketch comedy group called Harvard Sailing Team (no relation to the actual team, apparently) sent us these videos, saying they were friends with the mastermind of the Dodge Charger parody ad. The group is made up of five women and four men, so naturally we were intrigued. But for everyone who had conflicted feelings about whether that parody video skewered gender stereotypes while also at times promoting their most cliched "boys against girls" permutations, this is for you.
"Girls Will Be Boys," above, has a counterpart, "Boys Will Be Girls," in which a group of guys talk breathlessly about how little food they've consumed (including a "gust of wind") and share their feelings.
Although the two videos were posted on the same day this week, the boys acting like girls video has been viewed thrice as often (over 9,000 times as of this writing) as its beer-slurping counterpart. Maybe subverting traditional masculinity is more shocking?
It is possible to read Sassy Gay Friend as a satire of the "sassy gay friend" stereotype, in which gay men are all extremely fabulous and do absolutely nothing with their lives but advise straight ladies. It is possible to read Sassy Gay Friend as embracing this stereotype. It is possible to deplore the broadness with which Sassy Gay Friend is acted, particularly on his catchphrase "stupid bitch," and how one skit gets a bit racially offensive. (Yes, it's "Othello." Why do you ask?) It is possible to admire Sassy Gay Friend's insight into matters of gender. It is possible to spend entirely too much time analyzing comedy skits on YouTube.
How many of the million-plus viewers of Sassy Gay Friend's videos see their message as as an empowering intervention of weepy Shakespearean heroines, warning them to put their romantic woes in perspective? And how many of them just think swishy gay people are freaking hilarious?
Likewise, it's hard to fully get behind these gender-reversal videos as some sort of subversive comedy. You could make an argument that by recontextualizing stereotypes of how men and women behave in groups, they are critiquing them — like Tina Fey simply repeating Sarah Palin's lines verbatim to mock them. But it's hard to believe that reading comments like this one, from "Boys Will Be Girls": "They're not acting like women, they're acting like gay men! Altohugh some gay men are women haha." Yeah, nothing funnier than that.
Related: Sassy Gay Friend Fixes Your Sad, Broken Life [Salon]