Jokes about sexism

ED MCNALLY cruyff at
Tue Feb 27 19:18:25 EST 1996

In <4gslbp$6d8 at> Gert Jan Gast <gjgast at> writes: 
>cruyff at MCNALLY ) wrote:
>>In <4gqka5$d46 at> rar453s at (Ruhlen Rachel)

Look, all I did was try to give a possible explanation for their
behavior, along with a solution.  I did not say ANYTHING disparaging
about women. I simply explained that when guys are uncomfortable (for
whatever reason) about a situation, they make jokes.  They may be
uncomfortable because they are not used to the idea of having women
work closely with them, because they know that some women feel
sef-conscious, whatever.  Making the situation more uncomfortable is,
in my eyes, a bad way to get them used to the idea. 

But to another issue.  I posted here in response to something men do,
not defending the action, but explaining it.  Then I offered a
solution, as requested by the original post.  Being a man, I felt that
I might be in a position to offer a unique perspective and solution. 
The response I get for that is what you see below.  I give up.  My God,
I just tried to help, but there seems to be this knee-jerk reaction
that I want to disparage women.  I now know, no good deed goes
unpunished(Look back at my post.  Do you see anything remotely
resembling a nasty comment towards women made by me?)    

>>>This isn't science-related, but I keep encountering this from people
>>>are supposed to be professionals, and I find it annoying.
>>>Occassionally someone says something along the lines of "Women
>>>inthe kitchen anyway," meaning it as a joke.  (Or, women aren't as
>>>or some obviously sexist remark.)  I don't think it's funny, but I
>>>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?
>>    I know I will probably get flamed for this response,
>We are not complaining, are we?

        Look below. It appears that you are.  

>> but I think
>>this is their way of supporting you without directly saying so.
>A woman who is told that she should be in the kitchen instead of 
>the lab has to understand that as indirect support???? Are you 


    Don't you call this flaming/complaining?  All I did was offer a
potential explanation, because I know that it is the nature of some
guys to joke about a situation wheb they are uncomfortable about it,
but don't wish to remain silent.  It is (often, not always) intended as
what is called backhanded support.  They don't know how to deal with
the situation, so they do what guys do:  they joke.  They don't REALLY
mean that a woman should be in the kitchen, and not the lab.  And
before you get further on my case, I didn't say I thought it was a good
idea.  I simply said they did it.

>> This
>>is an uncomfortable issue because of the wide range of feelings
>>have about it.  
>Sure, the problem is that women have such feelings. It's their 
>problem that they are annoyed.
>>They probably feel they shouldn't ignore the issue,
>What's the real issue here?
>> but
>>don't want to directly say anything for fear of sounding
>They very much succeed in sounding patronizing.
>>So they express themselves the way guys do: they make a joke.  
>We can't think of equivalent jokes we heard between men. We don't 
>think it is a pure joke either. Men who accept women as full 
>partners have no reason to make such jokes. Men who have a 
>problem with women beside or above them will. So there always is 
>an underlying meaning. Women are very right not to appreciate 
>that. Although very considerate of her we don't think Ruhlen 
>should care too much about being rude, because that's precisely 
>what the "jokes" are.
>Cheers, Jeroen & GJ.
>Gert Jan Gast <gjgast at NIOZ.NL>
>Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
>Department of Marine Ecology
>P.O. Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, The Netherlands.
>Phone: 31 (0)222 369573. Fax: 31 (0)222 319674.

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