Jokes that objectify women


8 comments posted
Yep, those jokes just aren't funny.

Well said. Very well said. Thank you.

le lyons's picture
Posted by le lyons (not verified) on 5 March 2006 - 3:33pm
Limits of gender-based humor?

The current canard is that you can only make jokes about straight white males unless you happen to be of the group that the joke is to be about. Still, I think that you're going to see gender-based humor around for as long as stand-up comics yuk it up on cruise ships and open mic nights.

Still, I'm curious, where is the limit on gender-based humor before it turns offensive? Obviously, making jokes about "and it must've been that time of the month for her!" is way out of line. But what if, for example, a male comic makes jokes about being unable to divine what his wife wants? Or the male gender not understanding what women want out of a relationship? Is there a dividing line in there? Or is all of that unacceptable?

Not long ago, I saw a comedian (Mike Birbiglia, IIRC), and he joked about the "white people" impersonation that some black comedians used. He asked, "Does anybody actually talk that way?" Was that good humor? Bad humor? Or what? I honestly wasn't sure then, and I'm not sure now.

Oh, and by the way. How many Centauri does it take to change a light bulb?

And ... one (true!) story. This past Christmas, my girlfriend, who is at school right now, mentioned she needed some new pots and pans. So, I bought her the pots and pans. To ensure that I wasn't the guy who bought his girlfriend pots and pans for Christmas, I also decided to get the "romantic" gift -- perfume.

On Christmas day, she kept the pots and pans and returned the perfume ...


pennywit's picture
Posted by pennywit on 5 March 2006 - 3:42pm
Why it matters in this case

The newspaper is a conveyance of information. What's more, it's in a medium that is threatened and challenged by the disruptive blogging medium.

The newspaper presents this new phenomenon, Blogher, as a man-hating militant feminist fantasy replete with sexualized imagery that both points up the sexual anxiety men have expressed feeling due to liberated women, as well as the "they just need a good fuck" kind of undercurrent.

Oh, but it's all a joke. Never mind! I didn't realize they said....

We didn't mean to imply that women forming their own blogging network is threatening or ridiculous or just a bunch of pouty, busty bimbos flouncing around in miniskirts and heels!

Come on, girls -- ladies! Can't you take a joke?

(They didn't say it. But tell me it's not in the cover art for the cover story.)

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 5 March 2006 - 5:30pm
Viewpoints ...

Hmm ... it struck me as a sort of pastiche/satire on men's fears that women are out to take over everything.


pennywit's picture
Posted by pennywit on 5 March 2006 - 5:45pm
But to the main point

If a black group, such as the NAACP, were to have formed a black blog group, and Uncle Tom images were put as the cover of an otherwise positive article, would you say it was "a sort of pastiche/satire on whitie's fears that blacks are out to take over everything."

If Jewish people had put together a Jewish blog, and there was an upbeat article about this, but the editors used a poster from the film "Triumph of the Will," would we laugh it off as "a sort of pastiche/satire on Nazi fears that Zionists are out to take over everything."

No, of course not. You and I would be outraged.

You are right that men have a great deal of insecurity about minorities who would stand up to them and possibly topple men's power. Being able to laugh at blacks, Jews, and women, is a way from WASP males to release the tension they feel after a hard day of ruling the world.

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 5 March 2006 - 6:04pm

Honestly, I'm not sure if I, personally, would be outraged or not. Images like that really don't do much to me any more, possibly because on more than one occasion, I've been at a media outlet, scrambling to make sure we didn't publish a potentially offensive image, cutline, or what have you.


pennywit's picture
Posted by pennywit on 5 March 2006 - 6:18pm
Fireman in a crowded theater

Free speech does not mean we can ask a fireman why he wears red suspenders in a crowded theater.

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 5 March 2006 - 5:46pm
Beauty is Truth: Dissection of a Joke

Personally I belive as long as what is said is true, one cannot particularly take offense to it. The source of who speaks the truth is irrelevant, though the methods may be uncouth.

The facts are never 'sexist.' Whether those facts are desirable or not. That is, if one objectively tests a point, and the Genders do not come up equal on said point, that does not necessarily make the tester sexist.

The most offensive jokes are those which are based on an untrue stereotype, or which proceed from a hateful or derrogatory perspective.

Example Joke: A man says to another man, "I find it unfair that women get to bear children, while men get to pee standing up."

This is the opener of the joke. This joke has several glaring imperfections right from the start. Firstly, not all women have the opportunity, or the desire to bear children, unfortunately, or fortunately for them as the case may be. Certainly there are some women who can indeed urinate whilst standing.

Indeed not all men urinate whilst standing either: Their physical or psychological circumstances may render them unable to urinate from a standing position. There may be certain cultural, or cleanliness taboos associated with the standing male urinater. Or he simply may not wish to do so.

Nevertheless, the paradigm of the masculine standing peer, and the feminine ability to bear children is a generalized perception based on fact.

Whether you find it offensive that one draws attention to this paradigm is fully within your prerogative as the audience.

Then comes the punchline.

"Yeah, It's so unfair, because peeing standing up is so cool!"

This is the potential comedic element of the Joke. It uses the principle of inversion to create a comedic effect. The exact opposite occurs from what is expected. The joke begins by seeding the thought that the man is talking about a woman's ability to bear children being superior to a man's ability to pee standing up.

The punchline utterly destroys this perception, rendering null the view of this man as a somewhat enlightened individual, that feels slightly inadequate to the beauty of childbirth.

Instead replacing that perception with the inverse, he sees no worth in that ability, as opposed to his own worth, this man is transformed into the epitome of a sexist.

The potential offensiveness of this joke is dependant on context and tone of the teller. If the teller is a man, speaking predominantly to men. A man may think this is an assertion that men are just as useful in the world as women. A woman might feel well within her right to find it offensive.

This same woman, if she heard the joke told by a woman, with a lighthearted smile, amongst other women, may find it quite hilarious indeed. While a man transplanted from the previous example might find it insulting and emasculating, drawing on his own percieved inferiority to the feminine gender.

Thus, by disecting the joke into it's bit parts, and overanalyzing it. I have ruined any potential humor that might be derived from it, thus relegating it to the 'cheesy joke' section of the universe. Reserved for Chicken/Road jokes and other inane observations.

Or, I could have simply told it, and you could have laughed.

Doobie's picture
Posted by Doobie (not verified) on 5 March 2006 - 7:57pm