Gina Barreca has appeared, often as a repeat guest, on 20/20, The Today Show, CNN, the BBC, NPR and, yes, on 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. Her latest books are part of a series she’s editing on FAST WOMEN for Woodhall Press; these including FAST FUNNY WOMEN: 75 Essays of Flash Nonfiction (2021), FAST FIERCE WOMEN (2022), and FAST FALLEN WOMEN ( forthcoming in 2023). Of the other seven books she’s written or co-written, several have been translated into to other languages–including Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese 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.”
Gina’s 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; her blog for Psychology Today has well over 7.5 million views. Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, Gina’s also the winner of UConn’s highest award for excellence in teaching. She’s delivered keynotes at events organized by national organizations in the U.S. and abroad, including Women In Federal Law Enforcement, Chautauqua, The Smithsonian, Women in Science, the American Payroll Association, the National Association of Independent Schools, the AFL-CIO, The Chicago Humanities Festival, and the National Speaker’s Association, to name a few.
Her B.A. is from Dartmouth College, where she was the first woman to be named Alumni Scholar and the first alumna to have her personal papers requested by the Rauner Special Collections Library at the College. Her M.A. is from NewHall/Murry Edwards College at Cambridge University, where she was a Reynold’s Fellow. Her Ph.D. is from the City University of New York, where she lived close to a very good delicatessen. A member of the Friars’ Club, holder of a number of honorary degrees, and honored by the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, 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.
Gina delights in working with groups to address their particular concerns and needs, often adapting her work to make certain every event is both successful and memorable. Laughter is essential in terms of being able to cope with the stresses and pressure of everyday life. Humor helps to establish and reinforce a shared sense of community; it enhances a sense of self-esteem within a new or established community; humor helps everyone to deal effectively with change.
Being able to find and use your own humor, as well as being able to understand how others’ humor operates, indicates a useful ability to envision a situation from a number of perspectives. It also demonstrates an attractively creative, inventive, and flexible approach to complex situations, difficult decisions, and nearly impossible tasks–in other words, humor helps us handle what we do all the time.
We enrich our lives when we’re able to create and deal with humor –although we also need to develop skills which help us deal those moments when the humor initiated by others (especially those in more powerful positions) seems to be mean-spirited or inappropriate.
Laughing together is as close as you can get to another person without giving that person a hug. And sometimes not only is laughing together more appropriate: it lasts longer, feels better and can change everything.
Gina’s talk was the highlight of entire fall lineup and certainly the most attended. Her huge audience was immensely entertained. People left raving that it had been a fabulous, wonderful evening.
—Mary McLaughlin, The Smithsonian Associates, Washington, D.C.
There isn’t a tougher audience anywhere than a ballroom full of 1,700 professional speakers, many of whom are humorists. Gina Barreca provoked, entertained and stretched our thinking…and made us all raving fans.
—Ian Percy, National Speakers Association and member of the Speakers Hall of Fame.
Gina Barreca hosted our annual Authors’ Festival program for over five years, and the audience adored her. She’s brilliant, witty, irreverent and downright funny.
—Chris Painter, Literary Sojourn; Steamboat Springs, CO
People are still talking about Dr. Barreca. She was a huge hit because of her interesting stories, willingness to share personal experiences and insights, and her outrageous sense of humor. She was the centerpiece of the conference and set the tone which was fun, relaxing, and energizing. I recall one member telling me: ‘Gina Barreca was worth the trip.’ That about sums it up.
—Kerry G. Parker, CAE, Executive Director, Women’s Dermatologic Society (WDS)
Each year, our lucky students at the Women’s Campaign School at Yale experience the passion, the brilliance, the FORCE, the amazing one woman show that is Gina! Our women, from both sides of the political aisle, as well as from other parts of the world, immerse themselves fully in the sisterhood that only Gina’s unique, personal style can create. In a matter of hours with Gina, all are laughing, thinking, connecting into one fabulous community of extraordinary women. That is the magic of Gina power!
—Patricia Russo, Executive Director, Women’s Campaign School at Yale
Gina’s Friends will help women who cannot afford to obtain life-saving diagnostic tests.
When generous and caring individuals make a major gift to support something they care about, wonderful things happen. Gina Barreca and her husband, Michael Meyer, have expressed their desire to make a real difference in the lives of others by establishing a fund at the Windham Hospital Foundation: Gina’s Friends.
Gina’s Friends will help women who cannot afford to obtain life-saving diagnostic tests because they fall through the cracks of state and/or federal healthcare programs, they lack adequate insurance or have no insurance at all. Women of all ages benefit from programs offered in schools, clinics, hospital-based programs, outpatient services, and community settings. We help women to access the care they need, learn about preventive measures to keep them and their babies healthy, bring peer groups together to gain support and understanding, and inspire women to take steps to improve their health status and live longer, healthier lives.
If you want to count yourself among those generous individuals who want to help ensure that all women have access to quality healthcare, click here to make a gift to Gina’s Friends.