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Dr. Gina  Barreca

Dr. Gina Barreca

Bestselling Author and Leading Expert on Gender & Humor


Dr. Gina Barreca has appeared on 20/20, The Today Show, CNN, the BBC, NPR and Oprah to discuss gender, power, politics, and humor. Her earlier books include the bestselling They Used to Call Me Snow White But I Drifted: Women’s Strategic Use of Humor, It’s Not That I’m Bitter, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World, and Babes in Boyland: A Personal History of Coeducation in the Ivy League. Of the other six books she’s written or co-written, several have been translated into to other languages–including Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, and German.  Called “smart and funny” by People magazine and “Very, very funny. For a woman,” by Dave Barry, Gina was deemed a “feminist humor maven” by Ms. Magazine. Novelist Wally Lamb said “Barreca’s prose, in equal measures, is hilarious and humane.” Her speeches have been called “a breath of fresh air,” “a ray of sunshine in a long-term forecast of rain,” and “very funny and uplifting.” Read More >

Gina’s weekly columns from The Hartford Courant are now distributed internationally by the Tribune Co. and her work has appeared in most major publications, including The New York Times, The Independent of London, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Cosmopolitan, and The Harvard Business Review. She’s Professor of English and Feminist Theory at the University of Connecticut and winner of UConn’s highest award for excellence in teaching. Gina has delivered, often as a repeat guest, keynotes at events organized by The Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, the National Writers Workshop, the Women’s Campaign School at Yale and the National Association of Independent Schools, The Chicago Humanities Festival, Women In Federal Law Enforcement, Chautauqua and The Smithsonian–to name a few.

Her B.A. is from Dartmouth College, where she was the first woman to be named Alumni Scholar, her M.A. is from Cambridge University, where she was a Reynold’s Fellow, and her Ph.D. is from the City University of New York, where she lived close to a good delicatessen. A member of the Friars’ Club and the first female graduate of Dartmouth College invited to have her personal papers requested by the Rauner Special Collections Library, Gina can be found in the Library of Congress or in the make-up aisle of Walgreens. She grew up in Brooklyn and Long Island but now lives with her husband in Storrs, CT. Go figure. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

TEDx: Women in Comedy

Women Carry Everything They Need

Speech Topics

I’m Not Needy, I’m Wanty: How to Cherish Your Sense of Humor & Tell Your Own Story

If it’s worth crying over, it’s probably worth laughing at. Cultivating a sense of perspective allows us to see the wider and longer view of the situation, which helps us recognize that although certain situations are unnerving—or even heartbreaking—these might, one day, become the most important stories of our lives.

It’s Not That I’m Bitter

In a world where eye cream is made from placenta, Gina Barreca is the lone voice calling out “But wait, whose placenta is it?”. Gina asks the big questions: Why is there no King Charming? Why does no bra ever fit? Why do people say “cougar” like it’s a bad thing? Why do we call it a glass ceiling when it’s just a thick layer of men? Barreca packs a hilarious punch while gleefully rejecting emotional torture, embracing limitless laughter, and showing women how they can conquer the world with good friends (“It’s not that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but a girl’s best friends are diamonds”), sharp wit, great shoes, and not a single worry about VPLs.

“If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?” Questions & Thoughts for Loud, Smart Women in Turbulent Times

Is your bikini bridge the Verrazano? Do you think it’s better to stand up than to lean in?  Syndicated columnist and best-selling expert on women’s humor, Gina Barreca, talks about getting loud, getting love, getting ahead and getting the first draw (or the last shot). She offers tips, lessons and bold confessions about bad boyfriends at any age, about friends we love and ones we can’t stand anymore, about waist size and wasted time, about panic, placebos and certain kinds of not-so adorable paternalism. The world is kept lively by loud women talking and “‘If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?'” cheers and challenges those voices to come together and speak up. You think she’s kidding? Oh, boy, do you have another thing coming.

Sweet Revenge: The Wicked Delights of Getting Even

Gina Barreca explains why revenge is one of our most universal experiences–and why, no matter how slight or petty or naughty, it always tastes so sweet. You’ll meet the woman who drove her ex and his new wife into odor-madness by sewing scores of tiny shrimp into their curtains. You’ll cheer the airline employee who made sure an abusive passenger made his flight to Kansas City–and then directed his luggage to Tokyo. From killing them with kindness to going for the gut, Sweet Revenge is sure to teach some new tricks to even the truest revenge connoisseur.