Have you ever been in a moment when something someone says is an absolutely disgusting sentiment? And it’s not a stranger, or some random asshole you can write off. Maybe it was meant to funny, but the whole room has only one tired, uncomfortable laugh. I don’t find myself getting offended at people’s words very often anymore but that comment I found sexist and repugnant. It was anything but funny. It was a revelation of the quality of their character and I found it to be lacking.
This person isn’t charming. They are at best socially awkward. Part of me wanted to make excuses: a lack of social awareness, a lack of comedic timing, a complete and total unawareness that half their audience was women and that you could safely assume at least half of the people in the room would either be uncomfortable or most likely offended. But it’s not excusable for a grown man to make a comment so derogatory and offensive, I’d expect to hear it on the X-Box Live network from a 14 year old boy. If he was wondering why he held no appeal to the opposite sex, I’m sure having no respect for their entire gender is on the list of reasons.
When I interact with a man like this, I can’t help but respect my Fella more. My Fella deeply respects women. I think the greatest example of a feminist man is one who can be friends and carry on meaningful conversations with women and who can make them laugh without being offensive. The funny thing is, my Fella makes jokes all the time that could be taken out of context and interpreted as offensive. But he doesn’t offend people the vast majority of he time. This got me thinking about why that is. Why is it offensive when one person makes a derogatory joke and hilarious when my guy cracks a joke about an equally taboo subject?
I think the difference is satire. Where as my Fella would make a theoretically offensive joke, the punchline is the ridiculousness of sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. Then someone else makes a joke by saying something offensive, but you believe they truly think that way. The difference is night and day. Just like how I want to spend the rest of my days with my fella, politically incorrect and all but I never really want to hear this other man’s opinion on anything ever again.