Sunday, 1 February 2009

George Bush Senior's Anti-Feminist Joke

Take a look at this. Harrumph!

How can anyone possibly find George Bush Senior's joke funny?! And why, for Goodness Sake, was footage of it shown on CNN? I'll tell you why, because jokes against women are considered hilarious, but jokes against anyone else are deemed offensive and not for public consumption. Case in point - there was an uproar about Jade Goody making racist remarks on Celebrity Big Brother. At no point were her comments actually broadcast on the news - we were just told about it. Presumably so that no gullible individual could hear the remarks and think 'this is going to be my new world-view'. However, when there was the whole Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross uproar, footage was shown of the jokes on the news with just the swearing bleeped out. Why? Racism is not funny and should not be broadcast in any form. Sexism is controversial, yet hilarious, and therefore should be broadcast. Afterall, who cares if some little child sees it and thinks to themself that women are to be the butt of jokes and thus structures their world-view upon that (seemingly, news companies would prefer children to not swear than take part in the subjugation of women). Bear in mind that at no point was the butt of Brand and Ross' joke seriously considered - it was supposed to be considered offensive by her uncle (was it her uncle?)!

These double standards really annoy me. Why are sexist jokes so funny? It reminds me of this which I saw earlier. Mental health problems are treated by the general public as a big joke. Emos are categorised by the facet of their subculture of self-harming and laughed at for it (by no means am I suggesting that Emos have mental health issues - what I am suggesting is that for a person to cut themselves there has to be a certain mind-set), and in the example in the article people even try to take pictures of a person behaving 'oddly'. I've even seen things like this happen. In Wolverhampton about a year ago there was a man ripping his clothes off in the street and shouting nonsensically. No one stopped to ask if he was alright. They stood at a 'safe distance' and took pictures and videos of him on their phone. One only has to look at the way Amy Winehouse is treated by the popular press as well to see that behaviour associated with mental health problems is considered funny.

No one stops to think any more. Quite often I wonder if people want to think any more. They just act without considering what they are laughing at. It's emotivism gone mad - I feel like laughing at that distressed person today. They do not stop and think to themselves, "do I want to be the type of person who laughs at someone in pain?" Similarly, people, and this includes women (because I know very well that there would have been women who laughed at George Bush Senior's joke, because quite often women perpetuate patriarchy as well), do not think what exactly they are laughing at when they laugh at a sexist joke. They are laughing at the situation of women in this society, they are laughing at the wage-gap between males and females, they are laughing at the fact that women are still expected to do the majority of child-raising themselves, they are laughing at the way women are represented in the media (the new Lynx advert is a good example), they are laughing at the objectification of women in the media, they are laughing at how women are socialised into being in competition with one another in terms of their looks and ability to get a man, they are laughing at how women are infantilised, they are laughing at how women are socialised to get upset in emotional situations (hysteria) whereas men are socialised to remain stoic and assertive, and they are laughing at the fact that women will never be taken as seriously as men. This is what the people in the crowd listening to George Bush Senior were laughing at.

People need to think more. They need to evoke change instead of going along with the flow. To quote something I heard the other day whilst on a field trip to a company's corporate headquarters - "you get prizes for conforming". People want those prizes. It is exactly how Nietzsche outlined in Thus Spoke Zarathustra - people are rewarded for conforming, for not thinking for themselves, for going along with the ideas that mainstream society places before them. Those ideas are naturalised, and people cannot imagine a world without them - they are deemed to be an inherent part of the world we live in. Quite often there is punishment for not conforming - feminists are punished, as demonstrated by George Bush Senior's joke, for not being attractive in the eyes of men. They protest for something they believe in, but as that something is outside the mainstream it is derided. People, in general, prefer to be rewarded rather than punished, and thus it is no surprise that there are so many ignorant individuals in the world. But staying the course will yield rewards in the end. This culture of instant gratification is working against people who work for change - when changes are not made immediately, some individuals cannot see the point in continuing. It is easier to conform. And this I find sad.

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