No, It’s Not “Just a Joke”, It’s Subtle Sexism

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Image Credits: Feminism In India

How many times have you come across men at family functions joking about their wives being whiny and useless? How many times have you heard men at the workplace or college crack jokes about their female counterparts? These “comedians” may not only be young students but teachers and professors as well, both male and female. “Come on man! She’s a girl, what more did you expect?” is often heard by many women. It’s called sexism, but we often ignore it. On the internet, the ‘crazy girlfriend’ and ‘terrible wife’ memes have been spreading like fire, without a single person confronting them. And Indian men at family gatherings are the epitome of sexist unfunny jokesters. They joke about their wives being chatterboxes, useless, irrational, confounding, careless moms, and difficult to deal with. They create a sick sense of humor about how women have it all easy while they struggle with work.

The WhatsApp forwards in India has reached a whole new level of bigotry. Indian men and women somehow seem to be obsessed with these husband-wife jokes and marriage jokes that are completely inclined at degrading women and glorifying sexism. These jokes always revolve around anti-feminism, objectification of women, gender stereotypes, and women’s inferiority. There are even Facebook and Instagram pages, WhatsApp groups, and websites dedicated to such humor which are doing quite well in terms of popularity among both, men and women. Let us look at some of these ‘funny’ jokes and everything that’s wrong with them. (The below jokes are taken from the website that has a section called ‘sexist jokes’)

Q: Is Google male or female?

A: Female because doesn’t let you finish a sentence before making a suggestion.

How many times have women buried their sentences, opinions, and voices into mansplaining?

How did the medical community come up with the term “PMS”? “Mad Cow Disease” was already taken.

Okay so now period pains make us mad cows! But mind you, it’s ‘just a joke!

How do you know when a woman is about to say something smart? When she starts her sentence with, “A man once told me…”

A man once told me women are not humorous. And this is the humor you bring to the table?

Q: When can women make you a millionaire? A: When you’re a billionaire.

Of course, women are gold diggers. But does ‘dahej’ count in this?

A man driving a car hits a woman. Whose fault, is it? The man. Why was he driving in the kitchen?

Decades of struggle for getting the right to drive just to come across this joke! Cool. Also, a woman’s place is in the kitchen.

Everyone says the world would be better off if it was run by women. Sure, maybe there wouldn’t be violence and territorial conquests fueled by male testosterone. But instead, we’d have a bunch of jealous countries that aren’t talking to each other.

How silly of me to think that men aren’t devoid of the natural human emotion of jealousy? God, when does the sexism stop?

PMS jokes aren’t funny. Period.

Which civilized creature in the world thought this joke would be funny?

Women are like roads. The more curves they have, the more dangerous they are.

Yes, please judge us on the type of bodies we have.

They say that married men live the longest. It’s ironic since they’re the ones most willing to die.

They must be tired after torturing their wives.

Q: What’s the difference between a wife and a mistress?

A: About fifty pounds.

Fat wives aren’t worthy of love.

How do you get a dishwasher to dig a hole? Give the woman a shovel!

Seriously? A dishwasher?

Marriage is like a workshop where the husband works and the wife shops.

I wish this was true!

The husband was throwing knives at his wife’s photo and missing the target. All of a sudden, she called to ask what he was doing. His reply was “I am missing you”. 

Was this joke supposed to be funny or disturbing?

Why does it matter?

The best response most people will have to these jokes is that “it’s just a harmless joke, what so big about it?”. Excuse me, you might not realize it but your joke is spreading sexist ideologies, stereotyping women, normalizing misogyny and sometimes even abuse, harming many women around you, and also insulting thousands of women who are going through it. These jokes have a well-planned specific target, which is to justify gender-related prejudices and bias, paint a poor picture of women, convince everyone that men are more intellectual and capable, and also convey that men are, and always will be, dominant over women. This is blatant sexism. They indicate that our worth is merely dependent on our appearance. They depict women as opportunists, hypocrites, and manipulators and encourage male chauvinism. And hence, this needs to stop.

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