A joke was shared yesterday on a Facebook Page that I help to moderate, about a drunk woman coming home after a night out with her friends, and trying to imitate a cuckoo clock to avoid waking her husband.
It’s an old joke that I first heard decades ago, although then it was about a drunk husband trying to avoid waking his wife. So why were the genders in this old joke reversed?
It might have been to enable the poster to illustrate the joke with a random photo, taken from an up-skirt angle, of an unconscious woman lying face down on the floor wearing a very short skirt.
Whatever the reason for reversing the genders, the joke with the sexist photo has received more than 43,000 likes and 24,000 shares.
But the exact same joke has also been posted on a different Facebook Page, without the sexist photo, and has received only 53 likes and 18 shares.
Taking into account that the first page has nearly four times the audience as the second page, that means that the joke is 200 times more popular when accompanied by the sexist photo.
Sexist comments about the photo (trigger warning)
Both men and women are liking and sharing the joke, with or without the photo, and the vast majority of the comments are simply people laughing at the joke.
However, on the version with the sexist photo, a small minority of men have posted comments that range from creepy to disturbing:
- She was out suckin dick prolly
- Just look at the tange of her pussy.I’m gonna have to do something about it.
- if was her husband i would have her nickers off by now
- If it had been my ex wife she would have smelled like cock too
- And her panties on backwards and smelling like lamb skins
- Least she remembered to put her underwear back on before she came home.
- Another bottled blonde tramp
- I Like the View better then the story!!!
- nice panties love to take them off
- haha , it’s good !! The girl on the floor – love to hit that stuff
- dang , love to hit that right there , just the way it lays !! No need to remove anything , it’s a small car cover . just push the cover aside , jump in and go for a ride !! ” you’re just dreaming gorgeous , stay asleep a little longer ” oh yeah !
- Time for a new wife, lying drunken B
- I would put it In her!!
- Id wake her up the HARD WAY and later say it wasn’t me !!! ))) lmao
- She also would have woke up feeling sticky and used!
- Whuts da ho’ doin on da flo’ ?
- That’s so funny I laughed until I cried I see she made it home with some of her pants still on.
- The picture was better than the joke….lol
- And these are the type of females who complain that they can’t find a man.
- been there…hubby should take advantage of this..
- I would of kicked the crap out of her
- I would of hit it!
- She made it home with her panties on
- She’s a hoe. I’d dump her!!! Plain and simple
- I’d love to wake up with her on my living room floor…
- Looks like its one of them” hunny I’m help yourself poses haaahaaa
- An found a used codom in side of her
- Least she still got her nickers still on – inside out but still on LOL LOL
- not one of my ex’s, she’s still got her pants on
- Got any more jokes with pics like this ???!!!!
- At least she is wearing panties. If not it would be a perfect picture
- He needs to lay the smack down and not let her go out anywhere dressed like that. Nuff said…
- perfect opportunity to have sex with your wife
- any man worth his salt would fuk it now
- What no thong (what a waste )
What type of men are making these comments?
What type of men are publishing comments like this, on a public Facebook page that can be read by men, women and children, among comments that are overwhelmingly not of this tone?
Based on their Facebook profiles, they include, in no particular order:
- A supporter of a charity that campaigns against violence
- A man who likes science and yoga and Buddhism
- A man who likes classical music and his local church
- A man who likes good grammar and atheist quotes of the day
- A man asking for prayers for a relation having an operation
- A husband who has served in the armed forces
- A husband with a teenaged son and daughter
- A husband who works with a Christian Ministry
- A father who wants to always be there for his children
- A father who campaigns against animal cruelty
- A father seeking support for special needs children
- A grandfather who is proud of his daughter and grandchildren
- Several high school and university students and graduates
I assume that most of these men do not consider themselves to be sexist. I assume that they would not talk in this way to their own children about this photograph. I assume that they would dislike the comments of others if the photograph was of their mother, partner, wife or daughter.
So why do they feel comfortable publishing these comments on a forum which their own mothers, partners, wives and daughters might read, and which other women are certainly reading? Do they believe that posting on the Internet is more like thinking something than saying it out loud?
Challenging online sexist comments
Because most men do not face the same kind of sexual abuse as most women do, most men have no idea how harmful comments like this can be, and how much more harmful is the cumulative impact of constantly reading comments like this on multiple websites.
Encouragingly, some people have challenged the worst of the comments, that expressed a desire to have sex with the women in the photo while she was unconscious:
From Michelle Greener: That would be called rape then [name of commenter]… not funny!!
From Erik Seltzer: Came to read the rest of the joke, it was funny enough for a light chuckle. Then I decided to read some comments and that mirth is more like anger now. Seriously, [name of commenter], what the hell? Do you not recognize that you just said you wanted to rape someone? Like that’s a perfectly acceptable thing to do? I feel sick now. That’s just wrong, even if it was meant as a “joke.” Rape is never a joke.
From Kenneth Grewing: I like the joke.Not the comments about raping someone.
From Gaylene Reitenbach Wetzel: It’s a funny story. But really? you guys think it’s okay to rape someone? That’s not funny.
From Dan DiPaolo: Ha. Funny up-skirt near rapey photo. Posted with total consent. Cause, you know, violation only occurs because they let it.
The first two of these comments received 26 and 32 likes, more than any of the other comments did, but it is still a small minority of the likes on the main post.
So we seem to have a small minority of sexist comments, a small minority of active challenges to the worst of them, and a large majority of people who are not publicly involved in either making or challenging the sexist comments.
The more of us that publicly challenge these sexist comments, the more likely they are to subside. We may not in the short term influence hardcore sexists, but we can immediately help people who do not even think about the sexism of their comments to reconsider what they are saying and its impact on others.
Michelle and Erik and Kenneth and Gaylene and Dan’s comments above are great examples of how to do this. We don’t have to get into an angry exchange. We can just point out that the comment is harmful, and explain why. And the more frequently that more of us do this, the more comfortable other people will feel doing so also.