Sexist jokes are not funny | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 09, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 09, 2016

Sexist jokes are not funny

These days breaking into a male dominated is not impossible, but staying in it is the real challenge. Gender biases and negative attitudes toward women make it difficult for us to break into male-dominated fields. And sometimes our fear of living up to gender stereotypes makes it difficult to see ourselves being successful where it seems like we don't belong. In my office, demeaning jokes involving women continue to get a free pass and my boss often tends to crack jokes which includes women as a hysterical comedy material. Women being treated as nothing more than sexual objects, women belonging in the kitchen, and generally being treated as inferior, are his favourite subjects to make joke on. Every time any of us protests, he would say, “This is not my joke. I am just passing on the information,” and continues to laugh even louder. Many of his jokes are directed to our personal lives. Conversations are strained in the sense that I'm not comfortable responding to comments made to/about me. Not only that the comments make me uncomfortable, but also I am not comfortable responding. So I finally talked to my other female colleagues and said, “This is more than just casual humour. Jokes like these demean the person or group they're directed towards every single time, and if you stay silent and choose not to denounce them you, too, are being passively sexist.” Last week we filed a complaint against him and he is being show-caused for his remarks. Oftentimes, the only place where women feel free to express themselves is in groups of other women, but I have decided to speak up for us. I'm not always successful at speaking up for myself, but when I do speak up, I never regret it. Women's voices are rarely exalted, which makes us feel like we're invisible. 

Suraiya Huda

Farmgate, Dhaka

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