Sexist jokes are nothing to laugh off

More stories from Aysha Craig

Today’s youth are desensitized to the struggle and sacrifice behind previous generations’ fights for women’s rights.
sexist jokes

Nastia Grits, Acalanes High School

Today’s youth are desensitized to the struggle and sacrifice behind previous generations’ fights for women’s rights. sexist jokes

“I’m just a pawn living in a man’s world.”

“I’m a woman, I know I belong in the kitchen.” 

Scrolling through TikTok, it only takes seconds to come across a video with degrading messages about women such as these. Behind the offensive remark, someone lip syncs or dances to an upbeat sound as colorful effects flash across the screen. 

   Sadly, I am used to seeing teenage boys make these remarks and videos, but when I see a girl do it, I am especially taken back. I try my best to ignore it, but it is hard to disregard videos and comments that degrade my identity as a woman. Do the people making these remarks even realize what they are saying? Do they understand what a privilege it is to take equality and respect for granted? It gets worse when I go to the comment section, where I see a long list of people who support the video and think that it is absolutely hilarious.

   Misogynistic ‘jokes’ made by both men and women on social media demonstrate our generation’s misunderstanding of the gravity of sexism and an ignorance and insensitivity toward the misery our female predecessors endured in fighting for basic rights.   

   Women have more rights today compared to women in the previous century, and therefore, people often forget that the fight for women’s rights is an ongoing struggle. Because of this, they feel justified in their decision to make insensitive and hurtful jokes. Even if these jokes are ‘harmless’, people grant validity to the statements they make by spreading and repeating them, creating misogynistic environments on social media platforms that then spread beyond a screen and into the real world.

  One example of this is a trending TikTok sound with the words “I have a better plan, I’ll marry a wealthy man.” While this song played in the background, I watched countless videos of teenage girls closing a textbook or shutting a laptop. These videos suggest that the second something gets difficult in school or life, women are quick to give up and turn to men for help.

   Comedy not only desensitizes the true struggles and inequalities that women face in their everyday lives, but it also disrespects the women who had no choice but to make enormous sacrifices to pave a pathway for us today. 

   The fight for women’s rights is often categorized solely as the women’s suffrage movement. However, the struggle went beyond just suffrage into the way people viewed and treated women in every aspect of their lives. Until the late 1900s, women did not have the right to own property, initiate a divorce, access equal education or job opportunities, and much more. 

   Individuals in my generation do not need to fight for these rights to the same extent, and therefore, it is difficult to grasp the magnitude of sexism in the history of our country. 

   Misogyny is so normalized in our society that women believe judgment regarding their sex is inevitable. Because of this, it may feel easier to accept and laugh off any sexism they encounter. When women challenge belittling statements or remarks, people accuse them of not having a sense of humor or label them as ‘man haters’. 

  There is nothing funny about the fact that women are still viewed as less than their male counterparts in many aspects of life, including the workplace, and have to continue fighting for equal respect. 

    To continue making progress, we need to acknowledge that degrading jokes towards women are unacceptable, as they validate sexist remarks and normalize a stereotype for women that hampers further progress towards total equality.