Jokes about sexism

Deb Britt debbritt at
Mon Feb 26 10:46:47 EST 1996

In article <4gqka5$d46 at>, rar453s at (Ruhlen Rachel)

> This isn't science-related, but I keep encountering this from people who
> are supposed to be professionals, and I find it annoying.
> Occassionally someone says something along the lines of "Women should bbe
> inthe kitchen anyway," meaning it as a joke.  (Or, women aren't as smart,
> or some obviously sexist remark.)  I don't think it's funny, but I usually
> laugh anyway, or at least smile, to show that I understood it was meant as
> a joke.  
> What would be a better way to respond, without being rude?

The problem with this type of situation is that you don't always know the
motivation behind the "joke".  Is the person being deliberately malicious?
just thoughtless? completely clueless?  I think the best response is just
don't laugh, smile or in any way indicate that you thought the remark was
funny.  If you are really offended you can accompany this with a look of
disbelief or a cold stare.  They'll get the idea.  Of course, if this
happens repeatedly with someone you will have to come straight out and tell
them that this type of comment is unacceptable.  

Deborah Britt, Ph.D.
Medical Oncology
RI Hospital/Brown University

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