This is a new series of posts from my brilliantly erudite (and opinionated!) clients. First up is the luminous Deborah Frances-White, host of the cult hit podcast, the Guilty Feminist, on why every woman should learn to do stand-up comedy:
'Every two weeks the Huff Po or someone releases an article saying that women need to be more confident. They tell us that men apply for a role when they only have half the skills needed and women don't go for a job unless they're certain they can do it. The conclusion follows that women should be more like men. I don't agree. Men applying for jobs they can't do, like President of the United State of America for example, is the reason the world is in a bit of bother right now. Men who have half the necessary skills keep crashing the economy and making disastrous decisions. How about we all apply for jobs for which we are 80 percent qualified so we are basically competent with room to grow?
If there is a trend of women lacking confidence it's because confidence is the product of our experience. If we're used to being actively excluded or tentatively included we don't barge into rooms, all guns blazing. This is why I think learning to do stand up comedy is the golden goose of confidence.
Stand up comedians are basically people who overly include themselves. They come on stage and say ''I'm so included here, I'm central to proceedings and without me no party can start.' More than that a stand up comedian decides who else is included. That's why people don't like sitting in the front row of comedy clubs. There's a chance they'll be overly-included and the piss will be taken, which will feel like exclusion. Feel-good comedians make everyone feel loved. Comics are masters of inclusion and status. They know how to get a room full of people to want to look at them.
I thoroughly recommend you try an open mic - far from your house. Never go local. Who cares what strangers think of you? Go out on stage for three minutes and find out what it takes to get people to want to look at you and start to enjoy being looked at. There's a huge power in that. Feminism needs women who want to be seen, love to be heard and are happy to confidently use their influence. Book in seven gigs as soon as possible. You'll be thrilled by the first one and disappointed with the second. You won't start to relax and enjoy it till the sixth. By number seven you'll find yourself including yourself more readily in the boardroom or staffroom. You'll also be able to throw space and attention to other women. You don't have to want to be a comedian for it to utterly change your dating life, working life and social life. Do seven gigs and little will be able to phase you for six months. If that doesn't appeal, try doing karaoke sober.'