Today I was sitting with a few of my classmates, and one classmate started to brag about his latest "heroic" act. He said that he was walking down the street, and saw some man push an obviously pregnant lady, so he automatically assumed there was some sort of domestic dispute going on and decided to take action. He proceeded to tackle the man and bring him to the ground, holding his hands behind his back, and shouted to the cop across the street. While I applaud his decision to do something about what he saw, I don't necessarily agree with his approach. Personally, I think he could have just flagged down the cop in the first place, and allowed the cop (who is trained to handle situations like this) to decide what the best course of action was. This particular classmate of mine is one of those guys who feels the need to demonstrate masculinity and power at very opportunity possible, probably because he is insecure about himself.
But I digress from the point of telling this story, which is that just after he finished boasting about how he "just couldn't stand to see such a thing, and just had to do something to protect that lady," immediately joked, "I mean, who knows if that lady deserved it (to be pushed), but the baby didn't deserve it. That's for sure!"
Just pause for a second and take that in. Obviously, this tool performed his "heroic" act for the completely wrong reasons. All he cared about was exerting his power over this other man and looking super rough-and-tough after the fact. How dare he joke around that maybe this pregnant woman somehow deserved to be pushed by her partner?!
So, after he said that, my "oh-no-you-DIDN'T" face immediately took form, and I said, "Excuuusee me?!"
He goes, "Ohh please.... it's a joke."
"Well, it's not a very funny one. I don't think that's funny."
"Oh come on, don't make me roll my eyes at you..."
"Go ahead... I hope they get stuck up there."
"Geeze, can't you take a joke?!"
"Yeah, and obviously I've got 'jokes' too..."
Anyway, I'm normally a pretty patient person, or at least that's my perception of myself, but I cannot tolerate "jokes" degrading women. Everyone has their trigger points, and mine is chauvinism. Nothing else infuriates me like it. Back in college I had a group of friends who used to make degrading jokes about women ALL THE TIME. At first, I just ignored it, because I figured maybe I was being too sensitive. My friends knew very well that these "jokes" upset me, yet they just kept on with them. Every time I would bring it up, they would dismiss it by saying I was over-reacting. It got to the point where I would go home and cry after hanging out with those friends, because I would get so upset. Eventually, I stopped hanging out with those friends, because I realized that there are a lot of people out there who don't feel the need to belittle women with constant jokes.
Ever since then, I've decided that it's OK to speak up when people make rude jokes that offend me. And my hope is that by doing this, people will react by either:
A) Not making those jokes anymore (the didn't realize how offensive to women it was, and now they realize)
B) Not making those jokes anymore - around me
C) Not hanging out with me
Obviously, option A is ideal, but I'm fine with B or C.