10 years ago by

Self deprecation…

“I’d never join a club that would allow a person like me to become a member.”
– Woody Allen, quoting Groucho Marx in Annie Hall

…It’s definitely one of the most charming traits about a person.

The art of self-deprecation is not only proof of humility and an ability to objectively perceive one’s self, but on top of that, it’s a wonderful way to make people at ease.

Oh, and I should add this: It’s one of the best ways to survive in the fashion world.

Are there support groups for women growing out bad haircuts? I’d like to join.
Some women dress for men. Others dress for women. Me, I dress for the gays.
– Lauren Santo Domingo

That’s why I have role-models like Woody Allen, Françoise Sagan, or Nora Ephron. They crack me up and get me in just the right way because for me, self-deprecation is like saying that you’re no better than anyone else… So it’s pretty much just speaking the truth.

“When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.” – Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck

For me, it all started when I was fairly young (around 18 years old or so… Before I turned 18, I had the same intensity, passion, and misguided profundity that say, someone like a Dana Brody has. But then I realized that you have to grow a sense of humor quickly when life throws hardships your way), I also understood that we all have embarrassing moments in life and it’d be such a shame if we weren’t able to talk about them.

“[…]It didn’t refrain this condescension that, thank God, any family keeps about their youngest, even more so when they are a little mild stutter, trumpet Nietzsche like you’d do with the day’s news, and take a very intense look at any rhyme, which was my case.” – Françoise Sagan, La petite robe noire

It’s one of the things I love most about Scott. He has the most surprising self-deprecating humor. I’ll have to make a video of him imitating himself hunting for looks in the streets. It’ll be worth it. In the same way, Jon Hamm is pretty irresistible:

“Amy Poehler and myself got together and decided that we’ve lost enough Emmys that we deserve the right to throw a losers party.” – Jon Hamm on The Jimmy Kimmel Show

There’s nothing more attractive than a man who can admit his own faults and then laugh at them, don’t you think?

But there’s a fine line between self-deprecation and self-flagellation, and it often gets pretty blurry.

“I look as young as a person can look given how old I am.” – Nora Ephron, I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections

I realize that when I talk about myself (okay, which is most of the time) I tell you about my worries (All my little worries, that is; I keep my big worries to myself or at least try to spare you while I figure them out and then come out ready to laugh at myself again)(pain + time = humor, they say) and yet still, it sometimes happens that some of you tell me to stop self-flagellating and get back to loving myself a little. I mean, here, let me give you an example:

“My life as a very low maintenance woman has been going on way too long. By now, I’m living a dude life. No, not even that. Dudes take better care of themselves than this. My life as, uhhhh, a cell phone maybe (???) (I was looking for something an idea to illustrate my low maintenancy and my phone just happened to be in front of me), okay, no.?Even my cell-phone has updates more often that I do.”

When I read through these types of comments, I think “but noooo, of course I love myself! But that doesn’t stop me from poking fun at my faults!” – and at the same time, I understand where it comes from because self-deprecation and self-flagellation have some blurred boundaries and the only way to tell them apart is sense of humor.

And humor doesn’t always translate from one person to another.

“My ability to turn good news into anxiety is rivaled only by my ability to turn anxiety into chin acne.” – Tina Fey

For a few months now, one of the Twitter accounts that has had me rolling is Fat Amy, an insecure girl who hates school, loves to do nothing, and deploys a wealth of irony in every tweet.

“i wish my thighs were as small as my self esteem” – Fat Amy

It’s a parody account inspired by Fat Amy from the movie Pitch Perfect – she calls herself Fat Amy because “I call myself that so twig bitches like you don’t do it behind my back.” (which is to say that Fat Amy is not Rebel Wilson but the account has been “approved,” which is a little like receiving an Oscar in the cyber world)(if you didn’t understand the last sentence, don’t worry : me neither), so for all I know, maybe it’s some 80 year old guy in his basement but I don’t care. The important thing is that it cracks me up.

“2014 is so close i can almost taste the lips i will not be kissing on new years eve” – Fat Amy

The thing is that sometimes, she goes a little too far and I want to grab her in my arms and comfort her. It comes down to the fact that when she talks about those moments where she feels dumb, ugly, or undesirable – we all know what she’s talking about. We all have been there. And it’s not always funny in the moment. Sometimes I just want to jump in and ask hey, why don’t you tell us about what you like about yourself?

You doing okay, Fat Amy? You want to go get some coffee or something?
(Yes, I’m actually speaking directly to a parody account on Twitter as if she was my friend)

And even if I know that it’s just a joke, sometimes I think that maybe it really is some teenager who’s suffering and trying to send us a message… And then I pull myself together and remind myself that it’s just someone with a killer sense of humor.

On this note, let’s wrap up with a quote from Nora…“When you slip on a banana peel, people laugh at you. But when you tell people you slipped on a banana peel, it’s your laugh.”

So what do you think of all this? Are you able to laugh at yourself? Do you think you can sometimes too easily cross over from self-deprecation to self-flagellation? Or can we just laugh at everything?


Add yours
  • L’auto-dérision, un de mes chevaux de bataille!

  • The forst quote is my favorite, so funny and feels so true sometimes!
    I like that you can laugh about yourself, because you never forget to use humour and it sounds genuine.
    Maybe soon you can do a non-humourous post on what you really like about yourself, no jokes, no puns… I bet it would’nt be that easy for you, you’re so humble! It would be great inspiration for all the girls no so sure about themselves… yours truly included! Haha
    Xoxo! Cory

  • i like a sincere display of self mockery. but not a fake one…

  • the first quote is actually by groucho marx…

  • ** Mais il y a aussi et surtout dans l’auto-dérision beaucoup d’auto-satisfaction.. Paradoxalement

  • Oui c’est juste. C’est comme une sorte de fausse modestie.

  • Absolument, merci de le rappeler. Sans parler du fait que c’est une forme d’humour et que l’humour est toujours une forme de séduction, c’est aussi une tournure d’esprit (très pratiquée par les Français) extrêmement narcissique où sous prétexte de ne pas se mettre en valeur, on se met en tout cas au centre. Les gens qui en abusent me fatiguent. J’apprécie davantage la grande simplicité qui consiste à être capable de reconnaitre ses qualités… Ça, ça demande beaucoup de modestie je trouve.

  • I think as we get older increases the self-deprecation but I also think that are types of people who are able to laugh at themselves in a natural and spontaneous way. I love it but sadly I am not one of them! The illustration is awesome, the reflection on the glass is wonderful!

  • Le rire sauve. Pratiquement de tout. Et apprendre à rire des situations difficiles (jamais fastoche quand vous avez un peu souffert) c ‘est déjà un premier travail d’acceptation de la situation.
    bisous le studio !

  • Lu un article très intéressant dans le FT daté du 10 Novembre (Why it is very clever to pretend to be stupid, par Lucy Kellaway – si si, il y a un rapport!). Une des phrases clefs: “So long as there is no doubt about the status and superiority of the person using it, self-deprecation is one of the most effective tools there is. ” et la chute: “Only when it is clear to everyone that a woman’s skill is beyond doubt will it be time for her to start telling everyone that she is useless.”

  • This post made me laugh, but it got me thinking. There are also the type of people who are so self-depricating that they cannot take the slightest compliment…ever. I have a friend like that now and it irritates the daylights out of me. On the other hand, my husband is in a very high-level position, projects a terrific amount of self-confidence to those around him professionally, but around me, he is indeed very Jon Hamm-ish. However, if I compliment him, he says “thank you”. It’s odd, but being thanked for a compliment makes the giver of that compliment feel some satisfaction, don’t you think?

  • Sujet très intéressant… Non, on ne peut pas passer son temps à se moquer de soi-même parce que cela dénote d’une certaine souffrance et aussi parce que c’est renvoyer tous ses problèmes à la face des autres… En même temps, ne pas savoir se moquer de soi-même montre un vrai manque d’humilité… Peut-être que tout est dans le dosage? (là, je n’ai pas de vraie réponse à apporter)

  • Non on ne peut pas rire de tout, mais tout (ou presque) peut être marrant! Perso j’ai beaucoup d’auto-dérision mais je fais attention à ne pas m’auto-flageller car je suis consciente que ce que je vis est une passade et que par ma force de caractère j’arriverai à m’en sortir ou je dois apprendre à vivre avec (oui là je parle de défauts). Je pense que se moquer de soi-même c’est faire preuve d’une grande intelligence et ne pas (trop) se prendre au sérieux permet de mieux appréhender les situations difficiles et d’affronter la vie! En tout cas Fat Amy a un nouveau follower :) Smoochies :)

  • Oh god, this made me laugh a lot!! :))

  • I always thought I was great at being able to laugh at myself… but my husband and last boss often point out that what I thought was charming self-deprecation was in fact self-flagellation and was doing me no good, whatsoever! So I’ve been working on that…

    This article just came out that says that for women, self-deprecation at the office is essentially self-sabotage, so even more reason to focus on laughing at myself at the right times, but not all the time!

  • I like this quote from that article:

    “Self-deprecation that demands a contradiction is never okay. It boils down to neediness, which is always tiresome.”

  • Thank you, Rita. Wise insights.

  • I had a boyfriend who said to me, “I would never join a club that would have me as a member.” I think Groucho Marx may have said it first. Anyway what he was saying was if he was a woman he would not date himself. It meant he did not understand why I was dating him, why any woman would date him. Needless to say we broke up soon after conversation. I think laughing at yourself is key, self-deprecation is fine but it can lead to or even hint at self-loathing, a sign of too much insecurity or even be an odd form of being a tad boastful. The world does a lot of judging I think we need to laugh at and love ourselves, judge ourselves and each other less. Love.

  • Garance, I don’t think that what you are describing so well (love your posts) is humility. I actually think it’s the opposite.

    Self-centered self-pity.

    Humility means you think of others more, and this self-pity is all about oneself! It’s : Look at me! Pay attention to my problems! Laugh at my failings! See how witty I can be? it’s really the opposite of humility. as a writer put it, Humility is not about thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

  • Totally agree and well said. Your posts are about you and it’s totally self-centered and egocentric, it has nothing to do with humility. Humility is all about others as Susanne puts it.

    J’aime beaucoup ton blog et c’est tres loin d’etre de l’autoderision, c’est le contraire. Ce poste fait un peu philisophie de comptoir ….

  • Hello,

    Je suis fan :p

    A , Laëti

  • J’adore, ces citations me font tendrement sourire.
    Mafalda ?

  • I really really enjoy a good dose of wry or self-depreciating humor. I really do. I often downplay compliments or trivialize my successes in this way. Unfortunately, I’m starting to notice that I am too non-confrontational and too eager to self-depreciate a lot of times. I think that I’m a very sensitive person who is hyper-aware of other peoples’ feelings, and somewhere in that , I’ve become addicted to making people feel comfortable in my presence by not intimidating them. I think being able to have a humorous attitude about yourself is super healthy in one way (it makes you relatable, etc.), but there’s a point when you’ve got to be confident with a straight face and occasionally, be comfortable talking about your accomplishments with excitement. My work in progress…


  • J’aime beaucoup l’auto-dérision si elle n’est pas permanente, et si elle s’accompagne de moments de franche confiance en soi, voire d’auto-satisfaction.
    Autrement dit, on doit être capable de penser et dire, “aujourd’hui j’ai été la reine des courges et je l’admets avec beaucoup d’humour, mais comme hier j’ai été aussi brillante que Duras/Toni Morrison/De Beauvoir-barrez les mentions inutiles, eh bien ça compense”.

    S’il n’y a que de l’auto-dérision, ou pire, si la personne ne relève, même avec humour, que ses défauts et ses manquements, là j’ai peur, parce que parfois, ça finit mal. Faut faire gaffe aux Fat Amy non virtuelles, et les emmener boire un café oui, c’est une bonne idée.

  • Tout ‘a fait! I think One just have to be balance. If one doesn’t do it so often as to make sound tiring is ok and as long as you know in your heart the self-deprecating you are doing is genuine and not fake. <3

  • I always keep going around and around in my head over silly things I said or did and feel a bit embarrassed about, even though other people might nog even have noticed.

    I can get stuck in that cycle and often the only way to get out of it is to share it with friends or my boyfriend and have a big laugh about it, then it’s out of my system.
    Wish I could accomplish that on my own, you know, putting things in perspective like that.

    I feel shows like Girls and movies like Frances Ha or any Woody Allen movie are quite cathartic that way. Maybe part of their success too?

  • L’autodérision: cela dépend d’ou, comment, et qui l’utilise et selon cela peut-être très drole et juste ou par contre pénible et une façon de s’attirer l’attention..

  • je suis d’accord que la frontière entre l’autodérision et l’autoflagellation est très floue, quelqu’un qui se moque de lui même à longueur de journée est forcément quelqu’un qui a peu d’estime pour sa personne et je suppose que ça cache un malaise profond.
    j’ai tendance de me tourner en dérision assez souvent car je me dis ce que les autres pensent vraiment de moi, vaut mieux le dire et en rire mais je n’accepte pas que quelqu’un d’autre fasse ces remarques en tt cas pas devant moi, la je me défend et ça devient de l’attaque directe.

    Bref, je dirais qu’il faut pas sombrer dans les excès, trop d’autodérisions tue l’autodérision.

  • Zoe Royall November, 13 2013, 10:29 / Reply

    It’s easy to laugh at the things that aren’t deal-killers to your own self esteem. Once you have accepted something in yourself – and maybe you are even a little proud of it? – you can laugh at yourself without people wanting to give you a hug. When you are in the middle of it – still in pain and still struggling with whatever it is you are trying to make a laugh out of, that is when it becomes or appears to be self flagellation, I think. People can sense the difference. Of course, when you are laughing through pain with your very best besties, that is always different. Laughing through pain with those in your closest circle is so cathartic.

  • Am I able to laugh at myself? usually in retrospect I am. But laughing at myself is definitely a tactic I wish i had used when I was a self-conscious teenager. If I had consciously made a habit of laughing at myself , I would have been able to giggle to myself when flashbacks of my mistakes and embarrassments pop into my mind instead of cringing. Besides, it’s an excuse to laugh more. we all love that.

  • I would say at maybe 19-20 years old I realized I was never going to look like all my friends or have amazing hair or be skinny. But at that time I realized other qualities, I dress well, I’m good at Math, I can comfort my mom when she’s having a hard time and so on. And also growing up in a third world country I realized how insignificant these issues are compare to people who have REAL problems. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think I’m better than anyone else, I just realized that my life is not so bad it could be a lot worse. I do have my moments but everyday I allow myself some me time and try not to be so into myself.
    Self deprecation is a good way to let people know that you don’t take yourself too seriously but I think you shouldn’t push it. In a way if you are aware of the things that are wrong with you and you can laugh about them then no one can use them against you.


  • Self-deprecation is vital to being a good teacher. If you can’t laugh at yourself, your students will gladly do it for you. I often tell new teacher to be okay with screwing up now and again…we all do.

    I’ve had students correct me while I’m talking, and I’m great at passing it off as “Well, this is what I get for trying to make a PowerPoint at 2am. See what I mean about not waiting until the last minute to do stuff? Don’t be like me – be better than me!” :-)

    Life is full of moments where we make asses of ourselves – it’s what makes us endearing to others…as long as we can keep our heads up and find the humor in it, of course.

  • J’ai adoré cet article ! Super ! Je tenais à le dire ;)

  • Love your blog!
    I’m posting looks from Los Angeles and accessories:

  • On peut rire de tout de tous de soi même mais pas avec tout le monde (je crois que je me suis inspirée de Desproges)

  • Vraiment J ai adoré !!! Mais pour moi : Humility YES
    mais “D ont be defeatist Dear ! It s very middle class !”

  • Jane with the noisy terrier November, 13 2013, 11:46 / Reply

    Oohh, once again you’ve created a fascinating forum for discussion. You realize that you have the smartest women in the world reading and commenting on your blog, don’t you? And that says a lot about the quality of the posts you create. I’ve always been very self-deprecating (although I will readily accept a compliment) and don’t take myself too seriously. However, I have stopped making sarcastic comments about my body — it just wasn’t healthy. Yes, my figure is far from ideal and Gisele Bundchen is not losing any sleep over it. But why should I draw attention to faults that other people, men in particular, may not have even noticed? Instead, I’ll laugh at myself when I burn the muffins, drop the potted plant, let the noisy terrier spin me around. But on the whole, I want to be viewed as a kind person, to others and especially to myself.

  • Love this sentiment about being kind to everyone inc. yourself. Fantastic perspective overall, you sound like you’d be a great friend to have for sure.

  • Le Chat dit: “on ne peut pas rire de tout, sauf si c’est drôle” c’est assez juste je trouve.
    Pour ma part j’ai un niveau zéro de l’autodérision… pas que je veux pas mais je crois que je suis pas assez lucide pour me rendre compte de la vie en général… exemple Alex à la FW: je vois une super fille avec un rouge à lèvre qui tue tout, subitement je réalise que c’est Alex. Donc… c’est là que je crie ALEX!!! moment de solitude, bien que j’étais super content d’échanger trois mots avec elle (trois mots c’est pas loin d’être l’ensemble de mon vocabulaire anglais, je l’ai juste pas invité à boire une bière…). J’ai remis ça avec toi et par chance lundi soir j’ai évité de le refaire avec Florence Foresti. C’est pas que j’ai envie de me la péter en disant que j’ai dis salut à bidu, j’ai réalisé que je fonctionne juste comme un enfant. D’ailleur depuis le défilé Galliano j’ai mes clés autour du coup… Si tu à l’adresse d’un bon psy à Paris je prend ;)

    PS: Alex at the next fashion week you take a bier with me?

  • I love self-deprecating humor and I love joking about myself, but sometimes I fear that I shouldn’t do it with everyone, because not only does it make a teeny bit vulnerable, I think some people don’t understand. They might start to see me as some pathetic non-elegant weirdo. So maybe I should just be poise, quiet and held back as they are. That’s not me, but I don’t like to feel like a weirdo either.

  • I agree that it’s a very charming trait! I suppose if done too often, that’s where the line can be crossed…or depending on the subject itself– but I always gravitate towards that kind of humor. Fantastic illustration.

  • L’auto-derision, c’est comme le reste : a petites doses.

  • Savoir rire de soi est tellement important et l’une des choses que j’applique au quotidien ! Ça rend une personne tellement plus vrai et naturel.

  • Le rire est outil très efficace pour communiquer ou pour se protéger. Par contre, ce n’est pas parce qu’une personne n’utilise pas l’autodérision qu’elle en devient fausse, on est tous différent :)

  • Hello Garance :)
    Je crois que je fais partie de ces commentaires que tu évoques :) …
    Je pense que l’auto-dérision est intéressante lorsqu’elle est faite de temps en temps, lorsque ça devient fréquent on tombe dans l’autoflagellation. La différence entre les deux? ce qui fait que l’on glisse subtilement (ou non) de l’une (autodérision) à l’autre (autoflagellation), c’est la fréquence, la répétition.
    C’est en ça qu’il faut être prudent et ne pas tomber dans la “maltraitance” du soi :)


  • Je me moque très souvent de moi-même, surtout quand je n’arrive à faire pas quelque chose : ça me détend de me dire des phrases comme “Si l’humanité avait eu ma lenteur, on n’aurait pas encore inventé le feu.” Surtout quand il y a des gens autour de nous avec qui on peut partagé notre désarroi heureux, c’est encore mieux. Et puis, quand il s’agit de rire de nous, je ne pense pas qu’il y ai de limite. On ne fait de mal à personne, même pas à soi-même, puisque cela nous fait rire !

    Couleur Spleen.

  • * “surtout quand je n’arrive pas à faire quelque chose”; ça va de soi.


  • La limite entre autodérision et autoflagellation est effectivement mince, et malheureusement pratiquant trop la première (et non pas juste pour m’entendre dire que je suis géniale mais par vrai manque de confiance en moi), même quand je fais de l’autodérision, mon entourage ne comprend plus…
    Maintenant oui c’est une vraie souffrance et de voir des personnes qu’on imagine avoir “tout”, en souffrir aussi est…pas rassurant, mais nous fait voir les choses autrement sur la question (= finalement on a tous ces phases et qu’il ne faut peut être pas s’y attarder tant que ça et attendre que tout soit parfait…puisqu’au fond ça fait parti d’une “normalité”).

  • Les phrases que tu as cité m’ont bien fait rire, c’est vrai que ça fait du bien de ne pas se prendre au sérieux parfois et rire de ses défauts!

  • The need to demonstrate modesty… Isn’t that in itself arrogance?

  • It seems to me that self-deprecation has often become the pretty wrapping paper for career focussed and driven people trying to convey that aaaactuaallly they are ‘just like everybody else’…

  • I find that I can laugh at myself only since I’m at peace with myself, I know what I am and what I’m not and I don’t wanna be someone else, even though I ‘m far, very far from perfect. I think only then you can really and honestly laugh at yourself. Being able to distance yourself from your feelings and trying to see yourself from an other angel can be quite funny and if you stop to be harsh and demanding with yourself and others life is so much more fun… well now I gotta stop before sounding like my yoga teacher :-D xxx

  • Personnellement, je trouve que l’auto-dérision est souvent une forme de complaisance très tordue, subtile, qui peut être très agaçante, voire insultante, voire obscène.
    En fait, plus ça va plus je trouve chic d’être fier de soi même, d’assumer son narcissisme, et ses défauts, de revendiquer qui on est, au lieu de demander le beurre (l’admiration d’autrui) et l’argent du beurre (ne susciter ni envie ni jalousie). Autrement dit, l’auto-dérision c’est bien, mais attention à ce que ça ne devienne pas un tic !

  • Excellente description de Dana Brody! Elle est tellmt agaçante ac sa voix et son air faussement rebelle!
    Elle peut pas élargir sa palette d’expression qd elle joue? Pcq sa voix nasillarde et son regard de chien battu, je n’en peux plus!!
    Oui l’autodérision n’a aucune limite à mon goût! J’adooooore! Et puis peut-on vraiment parler d’autoflagellation lorsqu’on poste publiquement ses mots d’esprit sur la toile? Nous savons que c’est un moyen facile de divertir le lecteur!
    Heureusemt qu’on ne prend pas au pied de la lettre tout ce que tu postes, sinon le blog aurait déjà été créé!!!

  • I love self-deprecation, and it’s a trait I always look for in guys (and girls for that matter). I think it’s what distinguishes the fine line between humility and lacking confidence. You can still be sure of yourself and be self deprecating — or, rather, I feel like people who are self deprecating are more sure of themselves because of it.

    It does however feel like a very French/Parisien thing to me, though. I know there’s the stereotype of the self-deprecating Jew (really love me some Woody Allen, too), but in general I feel like in America if you’re not positive and outwardly confident and self-reassuring, you’ll get gentle reproaches from everyone around you. Now, on the other hand, it feels like the Parisien culture I’ve moved into 3 months ago is the exact opposite…

  • Nice post, I think a bit of healthy self-deprecation we want in life!!
    Passa a trovarmi VeryFP

  • Every day. I have learned from a very young age, like you, that being too serious, too profound, too unable to laugh at life is no fun for yourself or anyone. One of my mantras is “no pride, no shame” meaning that I don’t ever want to be so proud that I am afraid to try something new (and possibly look foolish doing it), and also I want to live as honest and open a life as I can. So I don’t do things I’m ashamed of (or at least I try very hard not to). And I will poke fun at myself way more than I ever would at anyone else. For most of us, few things in life are really SO bad that a little humor can’t improve the situation. And for the really bad things…well, there’s a time and a place for dark humor too…better to laugh than to cry about it, most of the time.

  • Having a great sense of humor about oneself is necessary however i find it detrimental to women to feel the need to do so.Confidence is sexy and while i don’t think i am perfect i doubt anyone needs to be reminded of my faults, i don’t. Isn’t it also a bit insulting to lower oneself to make yourself relatable ? I prefer elevating – i’m great, you’re great.

  • I love people who are self deprecating and don’t take themselves too seriously. I found this often in your writing and love it, it’s part of your charm and your humor, so keep it !!!

  • C’est drôle, Marge Simpson vient tout juste de dire la même chose dans l’épisode que je viens de regarder! Je ris avec moi même et de moi même constamment: non seulement je suis la personne la plus drôle que je connaisse, mais je suis aussi la seule qui y croit! L’important c’est de rire le plus possible, et rire de soi-même c’est pas se moquer de soi ca fait du bien!

  • OUI, On peut rire de tout, je pense meme qu’il FAUT rire de tout. et je partage a 200% ton point de vue sur les gens qui ont un sens de l’autoderision, pour moi c’est la qualité des gens biens.
    Bise à toi Garance & au studio!

  • I love when the big sister in you comes out (“You doing okay, Fat Amy? You want to go get some coffee or something?”). As a big sister myself, I can relate. I get like that too, worried about people I follow as if we’re friends. :)

    I’ve got to say, that I’m not as big of a fan of self-depreciation. I love people who are honest about themselves, including being honest about their faults in ways that are witty and relate-able, like Anne Lamott. In my experience, a good number of people who habitually self-depreciate are hunting for affirmation or masking their arrogance. The ugliest arrogance, in my opinion, is the kind that hides behind false humility (ironically, these people tend to think they’re better than other people because they’re “more humble”). It’s both sad and tiresome to be around people who habitually bring themselves down to try to get you to make them feel better. Like you said, there is a fine line between self-depreciation and self-flagellation.

    Personally, I’m more of a sucker for mock-arrogance. The kind of pomposity that’s hilarious and couldn’t possibly be serious. It’s another way of keeping yourself down to earth by being willing to be a joke. I agree 100% that it’s good to learn to laugh at yourself and let others laugh with you.

    It bugs me a little how most women, when you’re simply honest about your imperfections and maybe a little witty about them, imply that you’re insecure. That happens to me a lot. Like if it comes up in conversation that I gained 10 pounds this summer from weddings and bachelorette parties, every woman around me has to insist that I look great even though I never implied that I didn’t. I think that we, as women, need to get better at letting each other be human: somewhat insecure, mostly happy, and slightly flawed.

  • norazilla November, 14 2013, 1:40 / Reply

    “and c’mon, aren’t my physical imperfections less noticeable when you’re laughing at what I say?”

  • Of course !
    When I do or say something really stupid/silly ‘en publique’ I always comment ; I’m a natural blonde, obviously the brunette dye hasn’t done it’s job yet !

  • I Love self-deprecating humour!! Tina Fey’s book was awesome for that. I think it’s very North-American humour. But I’ve learned to be careful- as with humour in general, it doesn’t always translate to other cultures…I teach English in Russia, and love to use humour to put my students at ease and encourage them to talk and laugh and open up…but they don’t always get this type of humour! I’ve received many a blank stare, and who knows? They might start wondering why they’re paying a self-proclaimed flawed woman to teach them!

  • Evidement on peut rire de tout mais surtout de soi ! Et c’est si rare l’auto dérision …

  • Fantastique! Trop beau et intelligent ton sens del’humeur! Merci!

  • Tout le monde pratique l’autodérision dans notre famille, au moins les situations sont tout de suite moins dramatiques, cela permet une distance, la vie est plus douce, et en plus on en rit !!!

  • Pierre Desproges disait ” on peut rire de tout mais pas avec tout le monde”…

  • Emanuelle November, 14 2013, 4:42 / Reply

    Deux citations de Pierre Desproges
    “On peut rire de tout, mais pas avec tout le monde”
    “Plus cancéreux que moi tu meurs”
    Baci from Switzerland

  • C’est quand vos enfants (surtout les ados) reprennent les commentaires négatifs que vous faites sur vous même à leur compte que vous savez que vous êtes allé trop loin ! Quand vous dites “tu ne parles pas comme ça de ta mère” et qu’ils repondent les yeux grans ouverts d’étonnement: “mais c’est toi qui le dis”… C’est que vous vous dépreciez trop. J’ai lu quelquepart que pour qu’un couple marche il faut 5 reproches pour un compliment (ce qui me fait dire à mon Cher et Tendre qu’il a un certain passif a épurer, mais c’est un autre débat)… Il faut s’appliquer le même ratio : 5 auto-dérisions pour 1 commentaire positif ! Mais sinon l’humour est une arme absolue et il faut se l’applique à soi-même… avec dicernement !

  • Comme il me parle, ton post !
    Déjà parce qu’il me rappelle le “testament” de ma psy (non, elle n’est pas morte dans d’atroces souffrances, c’est juste que j’ai déménagé de ville et que je la voyais donc pour la dernière fois) qui m’a dit quand j’avais 20 ans “et oh, ne perdez JAMAIS votre sens de l’humour, ça vous sauvera !”

    Oui, quand au fond du gouffre j’arrivais à faire RIRE ma psy en lui racontant mes misères, c’est vrai que j’avais l’impression que mes misères étaient plus légères.

    Après, j’ai arrêté de voir une psy et j’ai ouvert un blog. JE PLAISANTE, mon blog n’a pas cette fonction cathartique !

    Mais ceci dit, l’auto-dérision sur un blog, c’est particulier. Je l’ai beaucoup pratiqué au départ, en racontant les trucs horribles que me faisaient vivre mes filles, les Mini-Monstres… Ca m’a aidé, je pense, mais à un moment, je me suis dit aussi qu’il fallait faire gaffe de ne pas se faire bouffer par l’humour !

    Je veux dire, quelquefois, on peut y croire soi-même, quand tout le monde semble croire que ce qu’on écrit est la réalité… J’ai d’ailleurs fait pas mal de mise au point, autant pour les lecteurs que pour moi : “le blog, c’est pas la vraie vie, c’est la vie en pire, parce que c’est plus rigolo à lire”

    Et maintenant… je trouve ça compliqué, ce que je veux atteindre par le blog, c’est “provoquer des émotions”, et parfois c’est le rire, parfois la tristesse (autre histoire ; là non plus, ce n’est pas “tout à fait vrai” et je ne suis pas sûre que ce soit compris…)

  • Mais c’est ça qui plait ici, cette autodérision !! Je pense que nous avons les mêmes références…pour moi tu n’es jamais dans la détestation de toi mais juste dans l’humour et la distance nécessaire, qui permet de s’amuser des autres et surtout de soi (éminemment nécessaire dans le milieu de la mode !). C’est vrai que l’humour ne passe pas toujours comme on veut à l’écrit ( forcement il n’y a pas la gestuelle qui va avec). Pour moi, l’humour sauve de tout ! Des engueulades avec son mari, de ses problèmes d’ego, de frics, de la maladie aussi…il permet de tout désarmorcer. En revanche, il ne doit pas être forcé. Le mec qui fait le guignol 24/24 parce qu’il a besoin d’exister, c’est juste pathétique !
    Le compliment qui me fait le plus plaisir concernant mon blog, est celui d’être drôle !! :-))
    Ne change rien !

  • La vie est tellement compliqué, si on n’a pas d’autodérision, on est foutus!
    Perso, je ris de tout quand il s’agit de moi-même, tant que je sens que la personne en face de moi n’est pas malveillante, ça ne me pose aucun souci.

  • j’ai ouvert mon blog pour me moquer de moi (on m’app Pierre Richard) et pour me soigner ds le même temps de ma depression, et tu sais quoi?
    ben ça marche!!!
    ah et puis faut dire que je suis Corse et que les Corses ont bcp d’autodérision vu que c’est presque tout ce qu’ils ont finalement sur leur petite île ;)

  • L’autodérision est la défense des personnes sensibles… Contrairement à l’ironie, elle n’est jamais blessante. Mais s’aimer vraiment, c’est aussi se dire : “pas la peine te faire si petite, tu n’es pas si grande” !

  • C’est tellement vrai ce que tu dis Garance ! Je crois que l’autodérision est une qualité (c’est une qualité je crois!) importante à avoir. La vie est moche si on se prend trop au sérieux tout le temps ! En plus, c’est nul pour les gens qui nous entourent ! Tout le monde aime un peu d’humour ! Je pense que l’autodérision est un signe qu’on s’aime… ça peut parraître flou mais comme, on est assez à l’aise avec nos petits défauts pour en rire au lieu de s’acharner dessus de manière interminable… ça dépend des gens mais bon… Bref. Je suis une adepte de l’autodérision et je trouve que ça aide pas mal mon humeur ! Se prendre trop au sérieux, à la longue, ça doit être nuisible !

  • No limit là-dessus for sure.
    L’auto dérision est une hygiène de vie, me répétait un professeur au lycée

  • “Behind every joke there is an underlaying true”.
    I agree with that!
    But i also think one must laugh at everything, including death, like that usual joke at a funeral, because laugh is life!

  • L’auto-dérision, oui, à condition de ne pas se prendre à son propre jeu ! Parfois ça devient tellement constant avec mes proches, ma famille, mes amis, parce que j’aime rire avec eux, même si c’est de moi, qu’après coup, quand je suis seule, j’y repense et je me dis “Mais je suis trop nulle en fait”. Et là, d’un coup, c’est moins sympa !

  • My natural humor’s always been all about snarky self-deprecation but lately I’ve been finding that I don’t want to put myself down for the sake of other people’s laughs. I’ve found that self-deprecation, for myself, is a defense mechanism that flares up as a result of wanting to be liked and an easy method for making myself seem like a fun, humorous person.

  • C’est marrant que tu fasses un post sur ce sujet car depuis que je te lis, cad au moins 5 ans, je dis et me répète ” c’est ça qui la rend accessible et humaine ” c’est cette autodérison qui te caractèrise.
    D’origine sarde, j’en connais un rayon car nous ne nous épargnons pas dans les moments de rigolades en familles, tout le monde y passe et je peux te dire que oui, ça fait du bien et comme tu dis mettre son égo de côté est un exercice qui nous rend aimable ( sens littéral ).
    Quand à l’autoflagellation, je pense que cela appartient aux personnes qui s’auto dérisionnent ( oh j’ai inventé un verbe là ?) et non pas à nous d’en donner l’interprétation. Les interprétations n ‘étant que la projection de nos propres concepts….Donc tant pis pour ceux qui aiment se faire du mal, au moins ils ont assez d’humour pour prendre ça à la légère.

  • Garance – you must know that everyone loves your blog because you are human – as human as we all are, with all our self perceived failings and insecurities. You offer glamour, information and entertainment wrapped up in acheivable goals (apart from some of the clothes – I only dream….). I read your blog and dream – and then carry out as much as possible in my everyday life. Thank you for just being you.


  • Personnellement ça m’arrive très, très souvent de ne pas vouloir raconter mes problèmes à mes amis tant que je ne suis pas capable d’en rire… C’est problématique quand ils insistent, mais ils font avec :D

  • Very interesting thoughts!
    I am very self-deprecating, and have been ever since I was a teenager. I’ve always found it very relieving to be able to laugh at myself. But recently I’ve noticed that self-deprecation can turn into cynicism and pessimism and that it might even keep you from making a neccessary change in your life: If I can laugh at anything, I can get used to any crappy situation and be okay with it, and if I can always laugh at myself, I might not always be able to respect myself as much as I should.
    And I would like to add something else on this topic: I’ve noticed that there are some people who just don’t get self-irony and self-deprecation. They are not less intelligent, just different. (Though I pity them a little.)

  • when travelling i had my heart broken (as much as it can break when you’ve known someone for 15 days) for the first time. in short he kissed/did way more than that with another girl. i got so drunk (apparently) cried (dont remember) woke up the next morning and had a nosebleed.
    it has now officially become my funny story.

  • My husband and my sister are just like that , self deprecatting. They are hillaroius and togheter they get on each other’s nerves and all ends in lots of laughs. I could never do that and I feel left out. I admire so much both of them for that kind of “I don’t care what others think of me and I can perceive myself and aceppt who I am.” Actually I’m quite jealous.

  • I think that it all depends on the subject. When you do something foolish, its very important to be able to poke fun at yourself for it, but being self depreciating about yourself is a different story, if you get my drift. You always want to be able to laugh at the silly things you do, but you don’t want to put yourself down. Say you take a tumble on your bike, “So clearly my equilibrium forgot to show up for work today” has a very different ring than “god I’m so clumsy, I never do anything right!” I think it’s especially hard for women because we feel the need to make others comfortable, and that is easily achieved by relating through shortcomings (“god I feel fat today”, for example) but in doing so we lessen ourselves.


  • Love yourself, laugh at yourself, and most of all know we women are created in the image of God. That’s pretty cool.

  • I think self depreciation humour is super different in the US and in Europe, no? I think in Britain there is almost an expectation of it, especially if you’re successful. For example: Got a promotion and have to give your team a speech as new leader? You better make clear that while you’re delighted you’re also pretty sure you got to be manager so that all the much more talented people can get on with the important work. Promise to do your best not to burn the office down.

    I moved to NY from London and after a few weeks realised my new colleagues took my self depreciating jokes to mean I had a self esteem issue. Note to self, upon seeing a picture of cottage cheese on the deli’s wall do NOT whisper to your colleague, ‘Oh no, they have a picture of my thighs in a swimsuit after I eat this sandwich and inhale these delicious crips’. They will not think it fun. They will give you directions to their soul cycling class…

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