Down with Casual Sexism!

casual sexism

Image: DNA India

I cannot and WILL NOT tolerate sexism on my timeline.

sexist joke

If you make jokes like this which you refer to as ‘harmless’, you are nothing but privileged and sexist.

This guy’s response when I pulled him up for this post was:

“They are not meant to be sexist in anyway apart from a light hearted angle to it. Same you can notice by the number of likes I get on such posts from women. No disrespect to any gender.”

and

“Not everything on the internet needs to be taken seriously. There are bigger issues to get pissed about”

Really?

This is deeply disrespectful to my gender.

Women have to deal with enough bullshit on a regular basis, we have to deal with enough body policing, and sexual abuse, and pay inequality, and about a 1000 other things, that we don’t need your ‘harmless’ sexist jokes.

I read this article which says:

“When men bond over jokes at the expense of women, they breathe life into a host of violent crimes. For the boys and men out there who are uncomfortable with outing themselves as decent human beings by calling out basic bigotry, I’m sorry that male culture punishes you for empathy, and mistakes your sense of justice for weakness. If your bromance can’t transcend misogyny, it’s time to call it quits.”

It’s not just boys, either. There were, at last count, 3 women out of 30 likers / haha-ers. I see this all the time. Women who will make light of a matter because they can’t be bothered dealing with something or feel the pressure to just be one of the boys. (Or women who have been raised to internalise sexism – there’s plenty of those too)

I am tired of sexism for attention.

Every time you make or laugh at jokes like this, you are feeding a culture of sexism. You are giving permission to an audience to call and treat women as inferior. Violence against women is a direct result of sexism. They are not light-hearted because they have real world repercussions even if they are meant in jest.

There are few issues in the world bigger than violence against women.

If you make or laugh at jokes like this, ask yourself why. When did you learn to accept this as OK/truth/funny? Who taught you to be sexist?

Please check your privilege.

 

About the Author:

The following was submitted by SMIW reader Sheena Dabholkar aka Sheena Best and originally appeared on her Facebook timeline. Sheena is the creative director and editor at Lover. She thinks feminism is for everybody.

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  • This is so true and frequent. If you don’t laugh at such jokes, you are labelled an intellectual feminist snob without a sense of humor who takes herself too seriously. A lady colleague of mine recently got married and our boss remarked at a staff meeting that another man joins the unhappy population. Of course everyone laughed, even ladies. IT IS NOT FUNNY!!
    I cannot really enjoy item songs with women objectification lyrics, irrespective of their foot-tapping rhythm and music. It is offensive. If I justify my dislike for such songs, I am asked to lighten up and simply enjoy good music.

    • Ujwala, I had a similar experience during a familiarization trip to Gujarat recently with some travel trade colleagues. One man asked the other if he was married. Pat came the reply “Unfortunately, yes.” Everyone laughed. I didn’t understand what was funny about that. Looks like our sense of humour does go beyong belittling someone all the time. And most of the the time women are targetted. In this case, the lady in question wasn’t even there. In this case the man was actually suggesteing married is the reason for his misfortune. If he was so unhappy, he shouldn’t stay married. I wanted to tell him that, but then I kept my thoughts to myself trying to keep my sanity.

    • Soo true. I relate to this hundred percent. But how should one react in such situations? I end up internalising all the anger and hurt my own health.

    • I have seen this so often and its apalling when it is educated, young men getting married to the women of their choice making these jokes. This whole trope of women running after men to trap them/tie them down is so tiring and undermines the partnership that’s required in a marriage. I would never want to get married to someone who ‘jokes’ to his friends about his misfortune in marrying me.

  • Very well written Sheena. I totally agree sexism is internalised to such an expetnt that many women are addicted to the TV shows and soaps that suggest that women are nothing but arm candy and have a sole aim of getting a man’s attention. My own mother watches about 6 soaps on repeat mode and it is affecting my life. I am thinking of moving out. :(

  • This article is bullshit. Over reacting to unintentional internalised sexism? Even the persons who jump the gun to react to women (and men) with this condition are themselves suffering from it. Everybody suffers from some degree of internalised sexism. Do not be naive enough to think you’re any different. There is a way of using inappropriate humour which needs to be considered before chastising people. Granted, there are many people who will use humour with the intent to marginalise or punch down or hurt peoples self esteem or be arrogant about their privilige . But not all humour that is inappropriate is used in that fashion. And you cannot judge/generalise something so readily and so strongly when you don’t have enough information to judge the context, manner, audience, reception and intent of such jokes. It’s one thing to have a problem with a joke because you felt it was disrespectful but to villainise people and stick to your assumption that THEY MEAN BADLY/are abusing privilege and that WOMEN Who laugh at certain jokes are doing it because they are ‘pressurised to fit in’. Like Fuck you for making so many assumptions about people. You think women don’t have any other reason apart from ‘being pressurised’ to laugh at inappropriate jokes? You think men don’t have any other reason apart from ‘being pressurised’ to laugh at inappropriate jokes? You think the world is that black and white? Ever heard of this thing called the benefit of the doubt? Start using it to explain at least some peoples motives to yourself. The premise of this particular article is NOT about feminism or against sexism. Stop using terms like Check your privilege and internalised sexism for stuff like this. These are real world concepts that get punched in the middle and the gravity, of what these terms mean, reduces everytime people use them overeagerly and prematurely. Among many instances of jokes and interactions between men and women which are truly unpleasant examples about internalised sexism and male privilege, this particular joke on your newsfeed coming from a person who explained that he didn’t mean any harm and was being lighthearted is NOT one of them. You must be very privileged if you’re allowed to jump to conclusions about so many people around you with the littlest of information about them. And I think you should CHECK your privilige before painting the world black and white and imposing generalisations down everyones throats . And no, this is not a case of paying attention to the little details that contribute to the larger picture of violence and disrespect towards women in the world. This is like paying attention to the little details that can easily be given a benefit of the doubt or can be dealt with much more mildly instead of being blown upto a degree that, actually takes away from your cause of making people aware of sexism. And once again- everyone suffers from a certain degree of internalised sexism. Even you. That’s why you wrote this article.

    Regards,
    A FEMINIST.

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