- Darshan Mondkar
Often you come across a sexist joke (usually a “wife joke”) being made amongst your friends, and while there are a lot of Haha reacts to it, you also come across some woman who decides to voice out her opinion against that joke.
More than often the most common response to her angst is: “Hey it’s just a joke take it sportingly” I find such casual dismissal of an objection quite disturbing.
Firstly, if you are making a joke which is punching down on the oppressed, rather than punching up to the oppressor, is it really a joke? 5-6 tough guys picking up on a teeny weeny dude who can’t fight back cannot possibly be funny, at least not for me.
So why exactly do we expect the women to take such jokes “sportingly” after having been at the receiving end of constant and systematic gender based abuse for centuries? Why do we consider such jokes as “cool” and to be taken in the stride? Can we say the same thing about “jokes” on homosexuals? On transgenders? Why do we try and preach to the one who has been offended to take a joke in their stride instead of telling the joke maker to “Cut it out”?
Me, having the privilege of being born a Man, perhaps would be able to laugh off a joke about men, we have hardly been oppressed as a gender community, I can easily take one on the chin. But am I right to expect the same genial attitude from a woman, who is a part of the community which has been the victim of constant abuse through ages. I am really in awe of the women who are able to laugh off a sexist joke (hopefully they are not doing so, just to fit in) but I can definitely understand those women who take a stand against this and I admire them more than the former.
As for the men advising women to take such jokes lightly…… You are like those bystanders who advise the teeny weeny guy to take his bullying lightly. This is not directed at any single person but at both Men and Women as a whole. If you really want to be funny, try making jokes on the oppressors. We have many of them. Just be careful about going on morning walks after that.
( Darshan Mondkar is an author and activist)