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Why the joke’s really on those misogynists

170730 - Open Page - Jokes (Whatsapp)  

Most of us professionals today find ourselves on WhatsApp groups with our colleagues, which more often than not turn out to be informal forums where “jokes” and supposedly interesting videos are shared. So if you, like me, is unfortunate enough to find yourself in such a forum, I request you to search for the word “wife” in the group’s conversation.

Chances are, you’ll come across a host of messages masquerading as jokes. And your colleagues will append these messages with a variety of laughing emoticons. On reading some of the messages you’ll realise there is nothing funny there. Most of them will be downgrading women; just misogynistic.

After receiving a substantial amount of such distasteful messages on my work group forum, I decided I had had enough. I thought about quitting the group but then I realised that’s the easy way out. I wrote the following message and posted it on the group. “I have a few questions. Why is the wife always depicted to be inferior/dumber to the husband in these wife-husband jokes? Why is she considered to be a housewife by default?

I think these jokes are offensive to all women . Don’t spread chauvinism through these jokes. This is a humble request. In a group of 100 only one person seconded what I had posted. I was expecting nothing more as none of the others wanted to take on their managers or seniors who had been sending these messages.

My message made no impact whatsoever and the “jokes” kept flowing in. I was told by my colleagues to not take things too seriously and have a laugh once in a while. I could only laugh at them. Most of these “jokes” are sent by married men who for some strange reason seem to be perpetually frustrated and can find an inkling of joy only by sending these messages.

These men don’t seem to care that they share their workplace with women whom they offend on a daily basis with their pathetic excuse for a joke. Some of the “jokes” make you wonder which century these men are living in and what values they were brought up on.

Most of these men have multiple degrees but they sadly remain uneducated. It amazes me that men with such low sensitivity end up becoming managers and supervisors. They fail to realise that gone are the days when the husband earned and the wife spent. They fail to realise that women have dreams and aspirations of their own that are not bound to the four walls of home.

Most importantly, they fail to realise that she is in all aspects an equal to them. It’s high time we started respecting women and in a small way we can do this by not sharing of these “jokes”.

As Ella Wheeler Wilcox so poignantly put it, “To sin by silence, when they should protest, makes cowards of men.” Let’s protest against this inequality and make sure we don’t degrade women anymore. Let’s work towards making our offices places of mutual respect and camaraderie for both men and women. Let’s turn our WhatsApp groups from being forums of useless misogynistic noise to forums for exchanging ideas and laughing at jokes that truly are funny and not offensive. Let’s not shy away from it The joke’s on them.

sribalajisetlur@gmail.com

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 7:39:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/why-the-jokes-really-on-those-misogynists/article19386437.ece

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