Friday night, into Saturday morning, a friend and I were talking about how upset we get when people joke about certain things. We both agreed that we feel like we're perceived as bitches who don't know how to take a joke when we point out that it's not okay to joke about some things. Here are the things that will never be funny or acceptable to joke about with me.
1) Rape. I just don't understand what's so funny. What do people find funny about it? The physical and emotional and mental turmoil? Is it that? Or how about how unsafe people feel doing simple things like walking to their car by themselves. Is it that? Nope, I fail to see the humor in that and I'm okay with not having a disgusting sense of humor.
2) Dead Babies. I started hearing dead baby jokes my senior year in high school and I was instantly disgusted and confused. I thought: Is there an inside joke about dead babies that I'm not in on? and Maybe 'dead babies' is code for something less terrible. But, alas, people actually thought/think the dead baby jokes are funny. I just don't understand why death is funny to people.
3) Domestic Violence/Physical Dominance. I think people, in general, don't realize how many people have had experience with 'mild' or major domestic violence. Or how scary it is to know that this person could really damage you if they so choose. A friend told me how she was sitting at a table with about 12 other ladies and one had bad bruises from some physical activity (like a Mud Run), when a familiar man walked up and joked about her being in a new relationship and her new boyfriend laying a harsh hand on her. At that table there was at least one woman, that my friend knew of, who had been physically abused by a man, the women at the table didn't find it funny. I remember being startled at the strength of my then boyfriend one day when we were making-out and he penned me down (without my permission) and held me down, just to see if he could. It wasn't sexy, it was scary; he overpowered me and, at that moment, I could physically do nothing to escape it. Domestic violence and people using their strength to dominate others isn't funny, and joking about it shows insensitivity and doesn't portray one as a safe person.
4) Retardation/Disabilities/Disorders. When people call things/situations 'retarded' it makes me angry. People have retardations (they are not retarded); a retardation is when someone has a delay in some way. For instance, someone could have a cognitive retardation/delay. That means this person may processes/learn things slower than people who have no delay. Situations you don't like are NOT retarded. And it's offensive that someone associates something they don't like or that they find to be negative with something someone has, like a retardation/delay or a disability someone has. Or when someone calls another person 'schizo' (schizophrenia) when they think they're are acting neurotic. People with delays, disabilities, and disorders are people who often are marginalized and the last thing they, or anyone, needs is to be made into a stigma simply because of something they have, not even something they are.
5) Discrimination/Inequality. Racism, sexism, ageism, breedism, classism...any -ism I hate. Jokes about why do women need drivers licenses when you don't need a car to navigate around the house. Or when people make jokes about all Latinos having rough hands because all they do is manual labor. Or how about the terrible assumption that all staffordshire terriers (pitbulls) are monsters because of the ones who fight.? Yes there are women who choose to be stay-at-home moms/wives; yes there are Latinos who do manual labor; and yes there are dogs who are trained to be fighters...but just because there are examples of these stereotypes being perpetuated, does not mean that these instances are an accurate or fair depiction of these groups as a whole. I've grown up with people who are racist, sexist, and ageist and growing up around it hasn't made me less sensitive to or less aware of how terrible discrimination is. In fact, it's made me more of an advocate for equality. I believe these discriminatory attitudes are what make people feel less loved than they truly are and the world certainly doesn't need less love. We all, people, were each created with such care and purpose, and to say that one group of people is better than another based on features that makes us unique, not wrong, isn't how we should be living our lives. We should be treating our fellow Earth dwellers, people-animal-plant, like the Beloveds they are.
6) Suffering. It concerns me when people make jokes about the Holocaust, slavery (then and now), colonization, war, killing animals, or anything like that because suffering is possibly the worst form of existence on this planet. Making light, or fun, of the suffering of others is concerning to me because encouraging/causing the suffering of others, or even oneself, is simply dehumanizing and laughing about it is furthering it. Even if it's happened in the past. Knowing that people are suffering everyday everywhere should be a call to action, not a casting call for jokes.
Well, I think that about covers it. I think the more specific things can nicely be sorted into these different categories. So when a 'joke' is being made about one of the above, please know that I am either about to speak up in protest or instantly want out of the conversation and possibly out of the group of people as a whole.