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Do Tell: How Do You Respond to Sexist Jokes?

Over the years, I've gone from being the woman who uneasily laughs when a man tells a sexist joke to being the person who rolls her eyes and says, "You know, I don't find that funny, and it makes me pretty uncomfortable."

At the risk of being called a "humorless feminist" (I mean, if it were funny, I would laugh!), I think it's important for women to be honest if a joke makes them uneasy. It may also teach that person that you're not going to be a party to your own denigration, and the jokester may spare the next woman his "humor."

According to sociology and psychology professors at the University of Granada, sexist jokes have serious repercussions. They found that when men listened to sexist jokes, they were more likely to be tolerant when presented with cases of violence against women. It makes sense — being comfortable with putting women down could desensitize someone to more tangible forms of harm against women.

Whether these findings seem convincing or not, how do you respond to sexist jokes? Has your response evolved over the years?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
dikke-kus dikke-kus 8 years
You know I usually laugh but I can get pissed and throw a few back at the men. Like the only reason they have tongues is because of a certain sexual act they can perform. Ha ha ha.
Chicagomarie Chicagomarie 8 years
I normally launch into a diatribe and explain why those jokes are sexist, not funny, and hurtful. I try to stay as rational as possible since a "hissy PMSing- chick" (their words) is not going to help the situation with the kind of men that say these offensive jokes.
sexypirate719 sexypirate719 8 years
I'll laugh if its funny, but there are lines that should never be crossed in my opinion. When I was in high school, in history class, a male classmate said "Wanna hear something funny?" The whole class waited in suspense. Then he said, "Women's rights!" No one laughed, with the exception of the jokester's idiot friends. Not one girl laughed. I know it sounds prudish, but I didn't find it funny or intelligent at all.
ELLEHUDSON ELLEHUDSON 8 years
If it is funny.. Laugh. If it is not funny.. Do not laugh.
MissSushi MissSushi 8 years
I take it as it comes for the most part, it really depends on the joke and how awful it is. My husband LOVES jokes, of all colors and varieties, and i usually hate them to be honest. I'm not a prude because you're a pervert/asshole/showboat, it just isn't funny most of the time. I'm really good at bland stares and very obviously ignoring it, because most people want the reaction, good or bad for the shock factor. Some people just honestly like telling jokes of all flavors, but most of the people firing off these kinds of jokes tend to display that behavior towards other things. Ive worked in several large crowd type jobs (call centers, etc) and i see it ALL the time.
staple-salad staple-salad 8 years
I usually laugh hysterically and up the ante with another/better sexist joke. They are jokes and the only thing about them that I get offended by are people that take them seriously and don't realize they are jokes. I have a friend who will tell the most offensive jokes he can come up with. Rape, race, abortion, sex, religion... no limits to what he'll joke about. But he's always funny. Why? Because he's joking. He jokes about everything equally and all he wants is to see people's reactions (and judging by his material and delivery, is really good at producing the reaction he wants... like, could have a VERY sucessful Baron Cohen-esque career at it). For the record though, I'm a liberal blonde working on computer science-related degree who can bake a mean cake, but fail at food that comes in a box, gets lost constantly, has no street smarts to save her life, lives in a constant state of confusing, and most feminists probably hate me.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
if its a funny joke i will laugh, if not I wont, I dont get offended by them and will tell a few myself.
sham28 sham28 8 years
I only hear blonde jokes and I kind of chuckle but they're usually pretty stupid.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Truthfully, a man has never told me a sexist joke. Perhaps they know better to say that stuff to me. Or perhaps I'm the type that doesn't attract sexist men.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
If it's funny and nonoffensive I laugh. If not I roll my eyes and think up a burn.
cg130 cg130 8 years
I'm with you, Tres. I'm not comfortable with it, and I don't think it's anymore acceptable than making a racist joke. It's not a case of me being humourless or wanting to impose my views upon another person, it's about equality.
psychobabble psychobabble 8 years
ditto on the awkward laugh, or I just change the subject. Coincidentally, I had a patient (I'm a nurse) compliment me on my professionalism, confidence, and nursing skill yesterday. Only in the same breath he told me how sexy I was and asked if my husband told me that enough. Gotta love that combo! I just looked at him and said "Thanks for the concern but my marriage is just fine, let's get back to discussing your new medications." Oh well. Nurses put up with comments like this all the time (I'm sure that other professions have this issue as well), if it were common practice to sue patients for sexual harassment I'd be a millionaire! But for now, it's part of the job and I just laugh it off. If a patient doesn't take the hint and crosses the line I will say "ok, you need to stop commenting on ___, I can't do my job properly with your running commentary and it's making me uncomfortable."
teegaall teegaall 8 years
Awkward laugh
SeaAre86 SeaAre86 8 years
If it's funny, I'll laugh. I think life is too short to get upset over such trivial things. There are jokes about EVERYTHING. Some are just in poor taste.. but those don't usually get a positive response, anyways..
Ac2366 Ac2366 8 years
If a joke is funny I laugh. If it's not funny I don't laugh. I don't waste my time imposing my views on the joke teller. I have very little patience for people like that.
leslievanhouten leslievanhouten 8 years
I like sexist jokes...like "the way to a man's heart is with a knife and through the back"
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