I have been meaning to write this post for a long time now. I like whatsapp and can understand all the hullabaloo associated with it. But sometimes, when you are in a whatsapp group, it feels like you are a member of ‘yahoo groups’. You do remember yahoo groups, don’t you? See, once you got added to a yahoo group, there would follow a bunch of group mails, each expressing excitement of finally getting to be in touch with everyone else. After a while, those conversations would die down, and the forwards would start trickling in. Well, now do you see why some whatsapp groups are getting to be like yahoo groups?
Now my frustration isn’t because we receive forwards…it’s the type of forwards being shared which annoys me – the irritating jokes. During yahoo group days, a bulk of the forwards used to be ‘Sardar jokes’, which, we can all agree were really stupid. Now, in the year of whatsapp, we have all grown up and know that’s really disrespectful, and so the Sardar jokes have died down. But, frustratingly, in their place, dumb, cliche`d marriage jokes have sprouted. Take any whatsapp group of yours, and you can find at least one joke of a husband’s dumbness or a wife’s nagging. It’s been going on for a long time now, so enough already, stop!!
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am all for humor! I am not complaining about every single marriage joke there is. I am protesting about those jokes which are so prejudiced, that it’s shared only with one particular gender and sometimes carry a lame addition “Share to those who can handle it!”. I thought jokes were to be laughed at, not “handled”! Anyway. The only reason we hesitate to share such marriage jokes with everyone, (or even have that warning in place) is because, we know such jokes are offensive to the opposite gender and cannot really be enjoyed by them. Knowing that a joke is offensive, but still sharing it..now, doesn’t that sound wrong to you?
What’s the big deal in that, you may ask. Just the simple fact that when we share such jokes, we help to typecast an entire gender on how they act after marriage and are actually mocking at them as a gender! Most of us fail to understand that these jokes only reflect the general opinion of what’s present about marriage, and not really based on reason or actual experiences. So, when we encourage prejudiced ideas by such jokes, we are actually being sexists!
Oh, you don’t believe the jokes are sexist or prejudiced? Let’s get down to brass tacks on how the husbands and wives are portrayed in these jokes, and you can find out for yourself if its dramatization or not.
These jokes always portray women as:
- tyrants – I mean, really, are husbands really oppressed by their wives? Are the wives making the final decision in everything? The jokes make it sound as if husbands don’t have any freedom. Come on now, is ‘your’ wife really like that?
- the ones who talk non-stop – Really now? Does your wife not do anything the whole day but talk, talk and talk nonsense?
- the ones who hate to cook – Perhaps you aren’t familiar with all those FB pages where women post pics of what they cooked. Well then, I can only assume you don’t have internet in that cave you live in.
- frightened of everything – I bet you have never heard of all married women who live alone supporting their family, either because their husband work in a different state, or because they are divorced. Speak to them, their stories will frighten you.
- does no work but is interested in only spending money – If you talk to married women, almost all of them would let you know how they want to save money but their men are spending more than what’s necessary.
- the ones who hate their husband’s friends – If you really live in 2015, you’d know that most of your weekends would be spent hosting friends or meeting up with friends outside. And please, a wife definitely appreciates her time alone, with her friends or by herself, she doesn’t need a guy to be with her all the time! Get your facts straight.
Oh let’s not forget the men. In all these jokes, men:
- are lazy bums – Do they always watch TV 24/7 and never move their bums? Honest? Come on!
- never share any house work – It’s 2015 now! Most of the men love to cook and show off their talents to their wife! Especially in US, where you don’t have any outside help, most of the men do their share of house work. Let’s not be stuck in the dark ages!
- are only interested in sports – You would be surprised to know how many men watch TV serials. So it’s not just sports as you think.
- never take care of kids – You should go to a park and see if you can count the number of dads playing with their kid.
- are henpecked – Sigh. Come on, are husbands really that browbeaten? In this year, couples treat each other as equals. They laugh, fight and enjoy their life together. But henpecked husbands? Nope.
- love spending their time with friends rather than with family – Well first, who wouldn’t? In this age, where friends are closer than relatives, men and women both enjoy spending weekends with friends. And husbands do put their family up first when it comes down to it, and you know it too!
Oh btw, there are many other permutations and combinations of these, I picked a few based on the “jokes” I received recently. Anyway. Just wanted to put it out there, that these jokes belong to stone age, and we really have to stop spreading wrong sexist ideas. I ask you married men and women who share such prejudiced jokes, is your partner really like what’s been described in the jokes? If not, why would you share something that isn’t true? Oh I do understand some jokes may strike a chord with few people, and if you want to share such jokes with your friends, do let them know that the joke is only about you and your partner. Just don’t speak for the world.
The problem is that, such jokes have been in place for a very long time now. Magazines, TV debates (Tamil pattimandrams), movies all depict a married life to be one filled with misery, from which everyone wants redemption. Why anyone would want to bring a relationship to the front, throw prejudiced ideas to the world and let them know every husband and wife is like that, is beyond me. All for some guffaws.
Think about it, we don’t share racist or castiest jokes on a public forum. And yet, when it comes to sexist marriage jokes, most of us never think twice before mocking at stereotyped husbands and wives – which may or may not be true. I am sure most people share such stuff not realizing that they are spreading prejudiced ideas or aiding sexism. Well, now that you know, do stop propagating such ideas.
So, enough with the marriage jokes already. If a person shares such a joke in your whatsapp group, do be bold enough to stop and let him/her know that they are being unfairly prejudiced against men and women. I would imagine that should stop them from spreading such ideas. Let’s not demean ourself or our partner, all to get a “lol” or a tears-of-laughter emoticon in return. Marriage is not as bad as the jokes make it seem and you know it. Peace.