Uh these people making sexist jokes about international women’s day aren’t even trying. Yes, it’s the eighth of March today – also known by many (thanks to Google) as International Women’s Day, and of course twitter is rife with sexist jokes. I’m going to be a little controversial here but…. I don’t mind sexist jokes. Well, not if they’re funny. Uh, this is where some of the diehard feminists may get mad at me, but honestly, I don’t. I don’t think drawing lines in comedy about who you can and can’t make jokes about is beneficial. I don’t take personally a joke if it is a) funny and b) not intended as mean. Obviously, it’s easier to be funny and maintain no traces of cruelty in some areas than others, but that’s the nature of the beast. Some people who slate modern day comedians’ vulgarity will praise Monty Python and Dudley Moore and Peter Cook as comedy Gods.
What offends me, now what really riles me, disgusts me in every which way possible is a bad joke. A bad, needlessly offensive joke. A joke that leaves that nasty tang in the back of your throat. A joke that makes you both be repulsed by and simultaneously pity the joke teller. And that’s bulk of these online jabs at International Women’s Day, which can be summarized pretty universally in:
“huh huh sniffle sniffle kitchen ha ha wank wank womens day haha”
A bad joke is just sad, really. Myself, I went with “Shout out my fine ass bitches this international women’s day” Vulga? Yes. Offensive? Not intentionally, but I guess it could be received as. But Ironic? Oh yes, I like to think the irony of the sentiment overshadows it all. And the reaction I got from it (as of yet) has been entirely positive, and almost entirely female.
“Why isn’t there an international men’s day????” Some cry. Oh the injustice of it all! Well, there is. November 19th. Well that and every other day.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day (in the UK at least) and this has led to a few twitter’s wondering what’s the need for both day? Uh the fact that an International Women’s day is equated with Mother’s Day is dishearteningly depressing in itself, suggesting what it is to be a woman is to be a Mother. I think Motherhood should be celebrated, and Mother’s day is great for that; but I equally respect a women’s right to chose whether she has or doesn’t have children. I don’t think not having children makes a woman less of a woman. I mean, just look at Condalezza Rice, Angela Merkel, Hilary Clinton… Oprah – just as I don’t think having children should make you any less professionally successful, as mothers of two, Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi, executive editor of The New York Times Ellen Abramson and prominent Indian politician Sonia Gandhi.
I imagine these men (or should I say boys, because I do think the title of ‘man’ has too many positive connotations for some of these pricks) to be the type of men who say they always get ‘friend zoned’ and that ‘nice guys always finish last’ and I must say that personally, the self declaring ‘nice guy is a) b) you’re probably not a nice guy if you have to declare it. Also I get mildly irritated by some of the ‘male white feminists’, because as much as I know their hearts must be in the right place, and I do appreciate the support for women’s rights – sometimes, the minority, can seem… a little, well, patronising. And you know what? I even feel bad for writing this, but sometimes it can seem like they’re on the other end of the nice guy spectrum – oooh, look at me, helping with your rights, I hope you appreciate this lil ladies! Look! I’m a nice guy! – OH GOD MALE FEMINISTS I LOVE YOU REALLY PLEASE DON’T TELL YOUR LEADER (Ryan Gosling) I SAID THIS I’M SORRY.
A lot of the argument I get against women is that they can’t be equal, because they’re physically not – which I guess is true. Men are stronger and faster, as many boys argue at me. Oh yes, because we’re all running around to catch our food these days. I think there’s an issue with the way in which Feminism is perceived. Oh yes, I said it, that buzzword that repulses men and women alike – conjuring up images of middle aged women wearing open-toed sandals, with hair prominent on every surface. Well, this is what comes into the minds of those who don’t understand what feminism is. Beyonce said once in an interview that Feminism needs a new name – she opted for Bootilicious. Where I don’t particularly agree with reducing the movement down to a song about her ass, I see her point to an extent. Women often happily declare they support equal rights for women but sternly assert I AM NOT A FEMINIST – well, my dear, I’m afraid you are. The opposition of Feminism by women, and its ridiculing representation in the media really does mute what feminism is trying to say. We’re all the mother (Mrs. Banks) from Mary Poppins, middle class white girls forgetting the responsibilities of the domestic to go have jolly good fun at the rallies, while good women, like the ‘practically perfect in every way’ idealized Mary Poppins – although, in herself Mary is an independent self sustaining woman, who does not end up married dutifully to the poorly accented rapscallion, Burt. See, nothing is simple. Mary’s both a feminist icon and an enemy.
In itself, International Women’s Day is great. I’m all for a day celebrating the vast, contrasting cultures and the consistent importance of women throughout the world. But I knew some pricks would ruin it. And that just pisses me off.