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Typical woman November 19, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in feminism, societal commentary.
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I was ribbing a coworker at a meeting, and his response could more or less be summed up with, “Typical woman.”  I was completely expecting him to say that, and I laughed when he did.  However, one of the other people in the meeting was obviously very uncomfortable with the exchange and quickly changed the topic, redirecting us back to our original focus.

After this exchange, I was somewhat troubled because I started wondering if I had some sort of double standard: in this scenario, my coworker was obviously kidding and I know that he doesn’t really believe that.  (At least, I’m fairly certain he doesn’t.  We have a very good professional relationship.)  On the other hand, I know that if certain people did it, it would probably offend me as it would just cement my view that they have issues with women.

This left me wondering when, if ever, sexist humor is appropriate.  Is it alright as long as the woman or women present aren’t offended, or ought there be a more universally applied standard?  I know some people who feel it is never okay to make jokes like that.  Or should it be situation dependent?

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Comments»

1. my2bits - November 19, 2012

Really all that matters is your audience. If only you two heard it, probably no problem. Considering someone else who wasn’t in on the inside joke heard it and was not comfortable or perceiving it as it was intended, probably a bit of a problem. You could get your self known as believing in something you don’t when people (over)hear inside jokes. The real question is is an inside joke appropriate in a “professional” setting and I think the answer is no, unless those that hear it have no idea what you are saying. Like a joke you can communicate threw a subtle gesture no one else would notice, is ok. Something like this, in a professional setting with others in ears reach is probably not appropriate simply because of potential fallout. Im sure people have lost jobs over misunderstandings very similar to this.

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2. Magog - November 19, 2012

Work in a restaurant. Sexist humour and other habits are primary means of blowing off steam. It works because it tangibly cements a group of ‘us’, that has each others’ back while simultaneously forms a unified front against any offending outsider.

It may not be that the sexist humour has its greatest value directly, but rather that it demonstrates and validates a resilient family-type relationship.

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3. brianjhoskins - December 2, 2012

Well, women and men are different. That’s a fact of life (one we should all be thankful for and celebrate) and I think that as long as there’s no malice behind it, sexist banter between friends is acceptable and normal. And it works both ways too – I’ve heard plenty of women making light-hearted jokes about stereotypical male behaviours. It’ll be a sad day if ever we have to give up light-hearted banter for fear of causing offence. If that happens we won’t be able to joke about *anything*, and in fact we might even have to stop talking altogether because, after all, how do you know for *certain* that the next words that come out of your mouth, as well intended as I’m sure they’d be, won’t be overheard by a passer by who takes them completely out of context and then – primed by society’s obsession with equality and blame culture – becomes ‘offended’ by them?

I think we’re all going too far with this “I’m offended” stuff. There’s a place for that, sure, and people *do* cross the line with their jokes from time to time, but we can’t all spend our lives tip-toeing around each other just in case some well intended thing that we say just happens to offend someone else.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that we say something *without* good intentions, but that’s another story.

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