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Sexist Jokes: Ain't Nothin Funny About it!

With gender disparity, misogyny and objectification of women still thriving in the society, Bhargav Prasad talks about ‘hipster’ sexism, why sexist remarks aren’t humorous and on harmful stereotypes

Published: 10th March 2016 04:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th March 2016 04:26 AM   |  A+A-

Women are bad at driving.” That’s a known fact, right? There is no premise to prove this outrageous accusation; in fact, science has proven on multiple occasions that driving doesn’t display gender disparity. Yet another outdated stereotype, taken at face value. Why do some people, sadly mostly men, believe that one gender is bad at doing something, while the other excels at it naturally?

The most baffling fact about sexism is that it still exists. Between cracks and crevices in society, it still thrives. Objectification, misogyny, bigotry, chauvinism; the patriarchal world has thrown every single evil at women. I don’t blame them for thinking they’re bad drivers. I blame myself.

SEXIst JOKES.JPGWhen I say myself, I’m referring to my gender. I don’t represent my gender? Neither does the one bad woman driver you encountered. She might have been conditioned to think she is a bad driver, curiously enough.

There is a phenomenon in psychology: the ‘Halo’ effect. A person begins to behave a certain way, when you tell them repeatedly that they do, in fact, behave that way. Good thing you meant that sexist remark ironically, huh?

‘Hipster’ sexism: the objectification of women in a manner that is satirical, and indicative of mockery. Remember that joke your friend made about how women belong in the kitchen? Oh, he didn’t mean it. He knows that women don’t belong in the kitchen. He was just making fun of the ideology by quoting from the same ideology.

Sexism, comes with a wink and a nudge. These remarks are made by well-educated, well-read individuals, who still think sexism is funny. If you try calling them out on their sexist remarks in a social gathering, or at a workplace, you would know what you get: “Don’t you have a sense of humour? I didn’t actually mean it!”

I belong to a generation that believes in mocking earnestness. The age of irony, where everything that is remotely offensive to someone, or to an entire gender, is met with tongue-in-cheek humour; a generation that questions my sense of humour, or the lack thereof, because I can’t “take a joke.”

Coincidentally, the individuals who resort to these often believe that equality has been achieved; there is no need for ‘feminism’ to ruin their joke. Here’s a fact: we’re far from equality and we’re far from treating women as equals. We’re still at a stage where we mistake outdated stereotypes with misogynistic undertones for cultural insights.

The more I come to terms with that fact, the more I see how women have been stripped off their rights for so many years. Those basic rights that they seem to be fighting for are a privilege we take advantage of. An advantage that we mock and ridicule.

Yes, I do love a good joke; if it is one in the first place. Our remarks are not funny if they are reinforcing a harmful stereotype, especially to women. Comedy isn’t funny the second time around, and sexism is certainly not either. It’s time we came up with better ways of making fun of sexism. Laughing with the sexists is surely not one of them.

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