"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Friday, June 18, 2010

Male Privilege: Making Women the Butt of Jokes Since the Beginning of Time

While I agree that the tea party folks are totally off their rockers, I'm not all that amused by this particular method of putting them in their place:


I realize that dissecting an image like this one is what earns me the "humorless" in "humorless feminist", but I can't help but notice when the humor in a joke depends entirely on a gendered power differential and our sexist history.

You see, this wouldn't be considered funny if women's suffrage had never been in question, and the fact that the 19th amendment isn't even 100 years old yet makes gags like these especially damaging to women. Not only does the phrase "men's suffrage" carry no similar meaning, but because men are considered the default and women are "other", individual men aren't considered as stand-ins for all men. They get a free pass on that burden.

Remember this?


It's the exact same principle at work.


Unapologetically Mundane said...

I just have to be a jerk and let you know this is funny to me.

I get it, though. There'd be no joke if she wasn't a woman.

Tracey said...

No, no. You're right. I feel about this the way I feel about super-sexist Sarah Palin jokes. I relish in her being taken down a notch, but it's no fun when you realize it was done at the expense of her gender.