Friday, January 18, 2008

reverse sexism

I don't want flight attendants and pilots to make jokes, I just want them to get us from A to B. Southwest Airlines flight attendants especially take pleasure in a captive audience to spread their own brand of toxic humor. Recent jokes I've heard:

"Those of you traveling with children, or people acting like children -- Ladies, they're called men..."

"Anyone traveling alone... men, I'm single, just pass your bank statements forward..."

and countless other jokes that are emasculating, tasteless, and smug... Why is it okay to talk about men this way? Why does everyone laugh at this?

Inevitably, I say something to the man sitting next to me, like "Looks like making fun of men still hasn't gone out of style" and he will just shrug as if he doesn't notice. Or occasionally he will even say "Oh, we deserve it." And if I say "No more than women do" he will glance at me like I have laid a trap he is too tired to step into.

Of course it speaks more to the character of the joke-teller than it does to the target of her jokes. But what does it say about us as a people that this doesn't seem to phase anybody? Or that women who have men in their lives that they adore, laugh anyway in that oh-don't-I-know-it way?