Despite the misconception that people are just joking around when they make prejudiced jokes, in actuality, joking in a discriminatory way has negative effects on the way they think about others.
Some individuals falsely believe that sexist jokes should not be taken as seriously as they are. In the article “‘It’s just a joke’: the subtle effects of offensive language,” the author Christopher John Hunt discusses how offensive humor is not usually meant to harm others, explaining, “…many people do not see the harm in such jokes or other offensive language, thinking it is all just harmless fun. It is also often pointed out that those who use offensive language typically did not mean to offend” (Hunt 1).
RELATE- and avoid argument Jokes about blondes, women in the kitchen, and women drivers are not funny – they are hostile. Many women are frequently told to harden up in order to engage in and be comfortable with casual bigotry. Also, when women are joked about in a hostile way, they often become placed in an uncertain position because it is difficult to retaliate to this humor without sounding like a bad sport.
They standardize sexism and hostility towards women in a way that most people do not even realize because these types of jokes are so omnipresent in society. Sexist jokes not only allow men, and some women, to believe that sexist behavior falls within the bounds of social acceptability, it also reveals people’s deep-rooted, and often undetected, prejudices about a woman’s place in the world. There is this deliberate blindness when it comes to admitting that sexist attitudes are doing real harm to women and the self-image of girls. Even though some say that they are just joking around when they make prejudiced jokes, the severity of how it is affecting people’s views is harmful. In Thomas E. Ford’s informative article “Psychology Behind the Unfunny Consequences of Jokes that Denigrate,” he explains the study of how sexist humor has negative effects on men and some women’s view of the female population as a whole, stating,”…
men higher in hostile sexism recommended greater funding cuts to a women’s organization at their university after watching sexist versus neutral comedy skits. Even more disturbing, other researchers found that men higher in hostile sexism expressed greater willingness to rape a woman upon exposure to sexist versus nonsexist humor” (Ford 3). Ford’s point is that he thinks people should be aware of the prevalence of disparaging humor in popular culture, and that the guise of benign amusement gives it the potential to be a powerful and widespread force that can legitimize prejudice in society. While racist and homophobic jokes are no longer tolerated the way they once were and people have become sensitized to the discrimination they represent, demeaning jokes involving women continue to get a free pass. Perhaps without realizing it, men who express themes of domination, objectification, and superiority over women in their humor have stepped onto sexist territory. It is a form of subtle, modern sexism that masks a demeaning view of women in what may be socially acceptable terms. Despite the fact that some people say prejudiced jokes should not be taken seriously, they actually have the potential to make women feel unsafe in workplaces. In the article by Rebecca Adams “Casual Sexism in The Workplace May Affect Women More Than We Realize,” she discusses how women are affected in their workplaces by sexist humor, asserting, “While overt sexual harassment can make headlines, this study suggests that daily sexist jokes and comments made by co-workers can also chip away at a woman’s well-being” (Adams 2).
Elaboration #3 (Argument): Despite the misconception that people are just joking around when they make prejudiced jokes, in actuality, joking in a discriminatory way has negative effects on the way they think about others. Although the current definition of humor is the quality of being amusing, it needs to be adjusted to exclude discrimination because it offends large amounts of people and has detrimental effect on individuals’ opinions or beliefs. By disguising expressions of prejudice in a cloak of fun and frivolity, people make disparaging humor appear harmless and trivial. However, because it can foster discrimination against targeted groups, it is anything but harmless. When humor is used to hurt, its fundamental essence is abused.
A joke is never humorous if it is at the expense of another. Having humor helps keep perspective, stay responsive to others, and resolve differences. Humor brings happiness and is the shortest distance between two people. When humor is successful, it builds trust and cooperation, but when performed incorrectly, it can negatively affect the people listening. Everyone needs to become more aware of how to add humor and when to avoid it because humor that is perceived as insensitive often leads others to shut down or become argumentative. When we each maintain our sense of humor, however, we can look for the good in others and in ourselves.