The other day in a mall the parking lot was in a chaos and I overheard a group of young boys saying “zarur koi ladki park kar rahi hogi” and they all burst into laughter.
How often do you come across men cracking jokes at office like “Ghar me pati se rotiyan banwati ho?” or the after party joke for married men, “Aj to bhabhi aarti utaregi teri”?
Then there are those typical husband-wife jokes massively circulated over Whatsapp which slots women as nagging and the typical body shaming jokes on fat women, blonde girls, flat chested and so on.
I am not denying that even I’ve not laughed it off with my male friends in the past, but I regret it, even more in the past few years since the conversations around gender equality and sexual harassment have come up in the open.
Humor is the spice of life. It brightens a gloomy day, it gives us the strength to laugh at our own inadequacies. It gives us the power to speak about the social and political conditions of our country in a lighthearted manner. It is an integral part of our personality and can very easily make us more affable. But the biggest challenge of being humorous is the right choice of words and to avoid hurting the sentiments of any section of the society.
Reinforcing gender stereotypes through such usage of misogynistic language is offensive. Describing women as hysterical, incompetent or body shaming her is in no way funny. We have to realize the expense at which we are trying to steal a few laughs.
Men, would you find it funny if someone in your office joked about “Ghar me biwi se rotiyan banwate ho?” No one would even laugh at it. If common sense would prevail on you then you would realize that cooking is not a gender specific role. It’s a life skill which everyone including men should learn. We are proud that these days more women are learning to drive and it’s our right to drive safely and choose the speed at which we want to drive. Cracking a joke at our speed is not even remotely funny.
Most often I have realized that the individual doesn’t realize these kind of jokes could be offensive. We have been raised and socialized for this type of behavior for long. It’s about time we stop normalizing sexist humor.
Whenever you hear such jokes just ask “Why do you say that ?” They would immediately understand that what they said was not funny.
Let’s give a cold reaction to such jokes. There is nothing worse than a joke losing its steam.
Be ready to hear comments like “ You don’t have a sense of humor”. Be ready with a comeback for all such people. Just realize that sexism is no longer a laughing matter. Be it for a woman or a man. Every time you refuse to laugh, it gets a little easier!
Hey people, I am sure there can be humor without hinting at body shaming, gender inequality and vulgarity. Let’s realize that sexism is far from being natural and we need to fight it out.