Dear Male Relative, Your Sexist Joke Isn’t Funny AT ALL


You posted the above image on a WhatsApp group we have in common. I bet you thought that was funny, didn’t you? Hilarious, just like that one tweet where some guy proclaimed, “The last time I listened to Ariana Grande, I almost died, too.”

This tweet is just as vile as that one, and deserves just as much scorn.

Now, I have to wonder why you posted this on a group where the male to female ratio is 1:1 and the dumb jerk to regular people ratio is 1: 5. And since there are exactly six people on the group, I don’t think it’s too difficult to figure out who that one person is.

Empathy is a challenge for you, so I’ll make it easy and tell you how seeing that makes me feel. It makes me mad. It sparks my rage, and sorrow, too, because the gender wage gap is my reality, and the reality of half the world’s population. There are people working to lessen it, and there are  people who are inadvertently helping by ensuring their own judgements are free of stereotype. And yet, change is slow.

As a woman who will shortly entry the workforce, this is not funny at all. As a person who believes in equality, it is appalling to see the underprivileged being mocked for their lack of privilege, by someone with privilege.

This is not about a joke having crossed a line. This is about who has the right to make a joke like that. A poor person can point and laugh at his poverty to other poor people. Here, everyone recognises the humourlessness of the situation because they’re dealing with it. It wouldn’t be okay for someone who wasn’t poor to joke about poverty. You may have the skull of a coconut, but surely this analogy is quite transparent?

I know that you aren’t sexist. I know that because you grew up around me, and it’s abudnantly clear that I am in no way inferior to you. I know that because you have seen the women in our family treated on par with the men. Perhaps the lack of discrimination in your sphere of existence lessens the seriousness of problems such as this one.

Whatever it is, this kind of joke is incredibly hurtful. It rubs salt on an already throbbing wound. It’s only a testament to how long we have known each other that any respect I have for you has only taken a massive hit rather than become virtually nonexistent.

I had no intention of making this a series, but I guess sexism isn’t going to stop doing it’s thing in my life any more than it will in anyone else’s. I was cushioned against its impact for many, many years, but evidentally, not any more.


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