Thursday, 3 October 2013

On taking a joke.

My great uncle Ben used to sit me down on his knee and tell me Jewish jokes. They were hilarious and occasionally a little offensive. However he as a Jew had gone through some of the worst things imaginable. They had fled, some of the family stayed and some of them where caught and well we all know what happened during the Holocaust. When he told me these jokes I laughed and I learned about my history. If another Jew were to make these jokes to me now I would most likely laugh. I would perhaps even see myself in some of what they were joking about. However if a non Jew made some of these jokes I would not find them funny, I would find them anti-Semitic. I know, life is just so unfair.

I get a lot of jokes slung at me about my perceived militancy as a feminist. Personally I prefer the term fiercely feminist to militant feminist and for the love of god do not call me a feminazi. Not only is it disgusting to collate those two terms because of the history of Nazism but I'm a Jew and you're just being a dick. Now it's not that I can't or don't take the piss out of myself because I do and I am often the first to laugh at myself. However I've noticed a trend, it's nearly always men who have very little understanding of feminism or why we need it who make the jokes that really aren't funny. I've had men make hilarious jokes about feminism but they're funny because they have genuinely thought about what they're joking about. When you as a man make a joke about my belief that I am equal to you then you cross into dangerous territory where you are essentially belittling me. Lord help me when I joke back or am a little bit sarcastic because then all of a sudden I'm alienating or rude. If you're going to dish that shit out, trust me I am going to reciprocate and I will be brutal.

In finding a joke funny so much depends on WHO is saying it, WHEN they're saying it and HOW they're saying it. Who are they joking about? Are they taking the piss out of a vulnerable victim or are they taking the piss out of a horrendous part of our society that needs changing? I'll let you figure out which one I am more likely to find funny.

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