humor

As Anthropologist Peggy Sanday has shown, societies can be more or less rape-free or rape-prone.  A rape-prone society is characterized by a rape culture, one in which women’s desires are unimportant and emotional, psychological, and physical sexual coercion is normative.   In the U.S., pressuring or convincing women into sex is, in fact, well-tolerated.  So goes the saying, ” ‘No’ doesn’t mean ‘no’; it’s just the beginning of negotiations.”

Claire B. and Sylvia M. sent in matching sartorial testaments to the dismissal of the requirement that women consent to sex.  The first, on a website called teesbox (trigger warning), is a t-shirt that reads “I heart drunk girls.”  In case you don’t get the point, along with the shirt are photos of drunken or incapacitated women and captions like, “She’ll let you do anything you want to her, any hole, any time (as long as it’s while she’s still wasted).”

This second t-shirt (text below) is sold on Amazon.com:

Text:

two beers $7
three margaritas $15
four jello shots $20
Taking home the girl who
drank all of the above…
Priceless

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Cross-posted at Jezebel.

Sociologist Michael Kimmel passed along a fantastic and entertaining example of resistance.  In the video below, a Columbia University a cappella group sings Dr. Dre’s Bitches Ain’t Shit.  The appropriation of the song works on so many levels: the all heavily-white, all-female group, the sweet choral arrangement, the pastel prep fashion, the strategically placed tennis rackets. They use race, class, and gender contradictions to force us to see and hear the song in a new way. All serve to mock the original, taking the teeth out of the language at the same time that they expose it as grossly misogynistic. Awesome.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Ellen B. found this birthday card for sale in Dublin.  The front cover reads “I wish for… intelligence, logic, and driving skills…”

Wait for it… … …

Gwen and my thought process as we moved from the first to the second image:  “…’POOF’… oh it’s not… it better not… oh no it did!”

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The photo below was submitted to Fail Blog as a failure of communication:

In English adjectives come after before the noun that they modify such that, the way this is written, it reads as if there is a “big black reward” for the finder of the “lost dog” instead of a “reward” for the finder of the “big black dog.”

So this is funny, right?

It’s not simply funny because of the grammar mix up, it’s funny because “big” and “black,” when put together, have a particular connotation. We live in a society in which those words often go together because we stereotype black men as having large penises and being, generally, large.

The fact that the grammar mistake is humorous, then, relies specifically on this stereotype… so it’s nice evidence that the stereotype is real. The sign simply would not have the same impact if it read “Lost Dog Big White Reward” or “Lost Dog Big Yellow Reward.”

Fail Blog, via Dr. Grumpy.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Picture1

At Weird Universe.

Frank D. and Sara E. sent in these two examples, respectively, of humor that points to women’s disproportionate responsibility for housework and childcare.

Washing instructions:

wife10

Diaper changing wheel with “Mom” in many more slots than “Dad” or “Nanny” (Nanny?  I know, that’s a whole other post):

baby_duty_dial

Both of these point to the fact that WE KNOW that women do this work disproportionately, even as most women work as many paid hours as their husbands.  These are inside jokes for everyone in America.  But this disproportionality is perhaps the number one cause of women’s continued economic disadvantage (compared to men).  Motherhood, as Ann Crittenden explains, is the greatest predictor of poverty in old age.

I suppose we still think it’s funny–and not very, very serious–because most women in the U.S. don’t have much hope of escaping these responsibilities.  It’s easy to make personal sacrifices to fight patriarchy (like not wearing make-up), but once kids and a home are involved, you’re not making personal sacrifices; refusing to do more than your share of childcare (and the housework that comes with it) means that your child is sacrificing too.  And that is too big of a sacrifice for most women to make.

So, I guess sometimes humor is all we ladies have got.

—————————

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Our intern, Velanie, forwarded us a link to a clip from an Australian variety show called Hey Hey It’s Saturday.  In the clip a group called the Jackson Jive perform in blackface.  Steel yourself; maybe skip it if you’re not up to being reminded, again, of white racism against blacks.

Sometimes people wonder why black people are not more open or trusting of whites.  This is why.  Harry Connick Jr., bless his heart, did what he could to try to make it clear that the performance was not acceptable.   And, to be fair, the producers (?) gave him an opportunity to object more articulately.  Here is a part of what he said at the end of the clip:

I just wanted to say on behalf of my country, I know it was done humorously but we have spent so much time trying to not make Black people look like buffoons that when we see something like that we take it really to heart… if I knew it was gonna be a part of the show I definitely wouldn’t have done it. So I thank you for the opportunity. I give it up cause Daryl said on the break you need to speak as an American. Not as a Black American or a White American but as an American I need to say that, so thank you for the opportunity.

I’m sure that many people appreciated that Connick stood up against blackface.  But he is the exception.  The host of the show didn’t apologize, he just pleaded ignorance and felt bad that Connick was offended.  The rest of the people, including the unrepetant performers, the judges, and (it appears) the majority of the audience, had absolutely no problem with the performance.  Further, the majority of Australians are defending the minstrelsy.  Mary Elizabeth Williams, at Salon, summarizes:

In a poll on PerthNow.com.au, 81 percent of respondents said the sketch was not racist, with other newspapers clocking in with similar percentages. Punch deputy editor Tory Maguire glumly asserted that “The 2.5 million Australians who were watching were looking for nostalgia, so a returning act like the Jackson Jive was always going to appeal to them.” It’s a sentiment echoed by the show’s host, Daryl Somers, who told reporters that Australian audiences “see the lightness of it.”

Dr. Anand Deva, who appeared as Michael in the sketch, told an Australian radio station this week, “This was really not intended … [to be] anything to do with racism at all…

Couriermail decides it’s a great opportunity for a cheeky pun:

sss

Williams continues:

What should be obvious to anyone who isn’t a complete moron is that a little something called the entire history of Western civilization — what with the slavery and the colonization and the genocide — disqualifies us from mocking people for their color as grounds for entertainment. It’s just that simple.

It is just that simple.  But so many white people still defend it.

This is why black people don’t trust white people.  Because they never know what kind of white person they’re dealing with and it’s not worth the risk because, a good portion of the time, they’re dealing with the host who is “sorry that you were offended” (as if the offense is your own personal defect) or the lady in the audience who is just really excited to be on TV.

Capture11

Via Shakesville and Womanist Musings.

—————————

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Carl G. sent in this cartoon, found at Abraham Lincoln’s Classroom, that ran during the 1864 Presidential election campaign and played on voters’ fears of racial mixing:

LC-USZ62-14828

The following text accompanied the cartoon:

The Miscegenation Ball at the Headquarters of the Lincoln Central Campaign Club, Corner of Broadway and Twenty Third Street New York Sept. 22d. 1864 being a perfect fac simile of the room &c. &c. (From the New York World Sept. 23d. 1864). No sooner were the formal proceedings and speeches hurried through with, than the room was cleared for a “negro ball,” which then and there took place! Some members of the “Central Lincoln Club” left the room before the mystical and circling rites of languishing glance and mazy dance commenced. But that Many remained is also true. This fact We Certify, “that on the floor during the progress of the ball were many of the accredited leaders of the Black Republican party, thus testifying their faith by works in the hall and headquarters of their political gathering. There were Republican Office-Holders, and prominent men of various degrees, and at least one Presidential Elector On The Republican Ticket.

I’m pretty sure that didn’t happen, so it’s good to see that outright lying in political campaigns isn’t new.

It’s interesting that all the couples feature White men and Black women. Usually opponents to abolition or desegretation depicted White women with Black men, sometimes voluntarily, other times showing Black men as sexually aggressive predators who threaten White women’s virtue.

And of course, while they weren’t generally having “Negro balls,” many White men at the time were sexually involved with Black women, often (though not always) women they owned as slaves and who had little ability to say no to, or do anything about, their sexual advances. So the real outrage here would be not so much that White men were having (often coercive) sex with Black women, but that Black women and White men would be couples, socializing openly and in a situation of “universal freedom” that would put Black women on a more equal footing relative to their White partners (or, anyway, closer to the level of equality White women had with White men, which was more than Black women had but clearly left a lot to be desired).

On another note, Carl points out that even though this is a cartoon meant to incite fears of racial mixing among Whites, the African American women are not drawn in a way that makes them look grotesque or monstrous like so many cartoons at the time did.