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Author Topic: Where's my sense of humour?
Rizzo
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I'm getting pretty sick of getting email forwards that go like this:

"Men are like floor tiles. If you lay them right, you can walk on them for years."

"Men are like curling irons. They're always hot and always in your hair."

"How many men does it take to change the toilet paper roll? Nobody knows, it's never happened!"

Ha, ha, ha! Imagine substituting "women" or "gays" or "Jews"... could anyone get away with that? (well, it all depends on your circle of friends I guess. A certain friend of mine seems to think "retard" and "ugly" jokes are hilarious.)

I've proabably brought up this point before, but it seems that the people who send me these jokes are not man-hating feminists, but women who are very anxious for the approval of men. Perhaps creating an identifiable stereotype for men helps them alleviate any insecurities about their own changing role as women?

Anyway, as much as I dislike the macho, tough guy stereotype, this bumbling, incompetant one is not much of an improvement. Are we as women guilty of prejudice, or is it men's responsibility to speak out and create a more favourable image for themselves? Hmmmmm....


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Confused boy
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I would much prefer a situation in which everyone can be made fun of equally. The world would be a very dull place when everyone is too scared to make any joke that could be considered at all offensive. My threshold for insults in jokes expands along with the relative humour of the joke. Therefore, I will not have any problem with a joke that insults me as long as it is funny! An unfunny joke that is also insulting is what I dont like. It also seems that some groups in this very fine establishment can be mocked whereas others cannot. You dont see anyone complaining when someone makes an offensive comment about a certain president along with his chosen political party.

Over sensitivity will be the death of humour and satire.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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'rin
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as part of an afterschool club project (odyssey of the mind, in case there are any former OMers here) my team needed to do a bunch of welding. (the year before we'd used mostly duct tape and hot glue but that didn't quite work out for us) the machine shop that let us use their space and stuff after hours had a bunch of almost nudie type swimsuit calandars up on the walls. (the truely nudie ones were kept in the toolboxes of the guys who locked their toolboxes - since we were all about 15 years old the stuff they left out was all pg13 ish) after some of the welders figured out that the team had girls on it they put up a page of men jokes....some of the most depreciating one liners i've ever seen on the subject, right on the wall that had most of the calandars on it. for some reason its presence made the calandars something easy to laugh at/ignore instead of something to nervously giggle at/cover up/throw at each other/yell at the boys for staring at. in that circumstance they were actually useful.
but yeah, there do seem to be more men jokes floating around teh internet at the moment than there are most other jokes. i am not sure why that is, but i think it's like the large quantity of polish jokes that everyone was telling a few years back - the groups that are "acceptable" to poke fun at change periodically, and i don'tthink it's anything anyone should take too seriously. (and i'm a born blond so believe me i've heard my share.)
'rin

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Aria51
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quote:
Originally posted by 'rin:
(odyssey of the mind, in case there are any former OMers here)

Eek, sorry to go offtopic, but I was in OM! Such a great group.



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Miss Thang
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r to the izzo...... sorry it was too tempting. rizzo- that name is so familiar- wasn't rizzo the rat from the muppet show? anywho... don't take these things so seriously. i'm sure you've laughed at jokes when somebody else is at the receiving end. blonde jokes used to bother me, but i developed more of a sense of humor about myself. i used to be kinda stuck up and serious. the jokes aren't meant to really hurt anyone. i don't know why they're funny.. they just are... strangely appealing (i've used that phrase now twice this evening)
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sapphirecat
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Those jokes used to bother me a lot until I learned to mentally insert "some" in front of "men". It irritates me when someone implies I should act/feel/believe a certain way because I happen to physically look a particular way.

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Milke
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I think I'll have to go with 'rin here in saying that the acceptable groups to slag do change frequently, though that doesn't make these jokes okay. Just sort of stupid. And yep, I've heard enough blonde jokes, and living with a Wiccan, enough Pagan jokes too. (Q: How many Druids does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: They don't screw in light bulbs, they screw in stone circles. *groan*)
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BJadeT
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I agree with Confused Boy, it would be wonderful if we could slag everyone off equally and everyone found it funny. I really think that the only way we can get through life is to laugh at ourselves because we're pretty damn funny, you know.

Of course, no one should be offended in the process of laughing at ourselves, and that's where it gets difficult. We have a culture which, rightly, is sensitive to anything which could be interpreted as hatred or prejudice. Unfortunately, sometimes it goes too far and it just gets silly. (not saying you're silly for taking offence-just that sometimes we're hyper sensitive when we shouldn't be)

We need as many sources of humour as possible in the world. If only my flippin utopia would hurry up and arrive we'd all be able to laugh at ourselves and never take offense.

Please hurry up utopia-we need you!

(edited to clarify because I'm terrified of upsetting people!)

[This message has been edited by BJadeT (edited 11-14-2001).]


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Pumpkin_Pie
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I'm a blond Irish lesbian. How many jokes do you think I've borne the brunt of? Its just some fun, I don't think that we should look into them so deeply. Just because of the blond jokes are around most people don't think blonds are stupid. I know the opinion I have may seem a little middle ages, but I think that its just bit of fun and we should laugh along. I don't think men are very offended are they? And as long as no one is offended then surely there is no harm?

Slayer


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'rin
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come to think of it, we used to tell canadian jokes in western new york when i was growing up. i'm half canadian (my gram has dual citizenship) and i still laughed. that's just me tho, i guess.
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Rizzo
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Miss Thang: yes indeed, I named myself after the cute, sarcastic little rat from the Muppets. Anyone see the resemblance?

Anyway, I see what you all mean... believe it or not, I do have a sense of humour, I'm just a little picky. I don't mind newfie/blond/pagan/whatever jokes as long as they're pretty harmless, and they're told among people who are mature enough to know that they are referring to a stereotype, not the actual way these groups behave in every circumstance.

I guess my beef is with some of the more brutal men jokes I've heard (involving laughing about killing men... unfortunately I can't remember any examples at the moment).


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Miss Thang
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hehe- killing men CAN be funny- ever hear the song "goodbye earl" by the dixie chicks? that song rocks.
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Confused boy
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From advert: "Renew his interest in carpentry"

Graffiti addition by feminist adbuster :"Saw his head off."

I thought it was quite witty. Any violent undertone is of no cause of concern to me, personally.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Miss Thang:
hehe- killing men CAN be funny- ever hear the song "goodbye earl" by the dixie chicks? that song rocks.

While I know what you were intending to convey with your last post, I'd say you're treading on prety thin ice when you say that killing anyone can be funny.

I have seen some "men jokes," and I've laughed at them just like anyone else. Do I think they're offensive? Not really. Do I find them hurtful? Not generally. Do I think the tables would be turned if I told "women jokes" all day? Most definitely.

When I was in 8th grade, my friend and I were kicked out of our English class for telling a "dumb blonde" joke. Stupid joke though it was, we told it in response to a girl who had just told our class a "man joke." For some reason our joke, which was not crude or sexual or profane in any way (I think it had to do with a blonde screwing in alight bulb or something) resulted in detention, while our classmate Marlene's "man joke" resulted in laughter.

That did not sit well with me, and the fact that I can still remember it after 9 years is very telling. I know that a lot has changed since 1992, but I still tend to feel like it far more acceptable for jokes to be told with men as the butt of them, as opposed to telling jokes that single women out. I'm not very sure why this is, but it seems to be the current trend.

I don't really listen to country music, but I am familiar with the song "Goodbye Earl." This song made a lot of male interest groups upset, but I think they missed the point. That is one song that talks about violence against men, sure, but ever listen to rap music lately? Not as bad as it used to be, but there's a lot of talk of slapping women, raping women, abusing women...and most of the time they aren't referred to as "women" either (if you get my drift). So that should probably be taken with a grain of salt as well.

I guess when the day comes that we can all laugh at one another without feeling like we deserve special restrictions on jokes against ourselves, we will have come a very long way.

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Milke
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Goodbye Earl seems more a response to old, misogynistic country music than an actual call-to-arms against men. Much as I love Patsy Cline's voice, I hate a lot of her material, just because it's based on the idea that, while men are abusive jerks, that's just the way they are, so women should learn to deal with it. It ain't true, and it's not even interesting enough to write songs about. I also think the Dixie Chicks intended their song to be taken with a grain of salt, and it is made clear in the song that Earl was killed because he was a bad man, not just because he was a man.
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Confused boy
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How about to increase our openess with these jokes we all tell a joke about whatever group we are a member of (keeping them fairly clean, people). So if I start with a much maligned group which I am more or less a member of...

How many socialists does it take to change a lightbulb?

Don't know, lets form a commitee to decide. We will call it the "International Lightbulb Changers Supreme Soviet."

Can we have biscuits there?

Hmm... maybe the joke needs some work. Never mind.

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Miss Thang
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good plan, confused boy....

first off, i am blonde...
"How many blondes does it take to change a tire .... 5--2 to get sodas, 2 to cry and 1 to call daddy."

i am also a girl...
"What do you do if your washing machine breaks down? Slap her!"

and of irish descent...
"What are the best ten years of an Irishman's life? Third grade."

and i live in america...
"What can you say about a society that says God is dead and Elvis is alive?"


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Daydreamer24
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Haha, that first one was pretty good, Rizzo! Just kidding...

Keep in mind this is the perspective of a female....

I agree with Confused Boy when he said "I would much prefer a situation in which everyone can be made fun of equally." That seems pretty fair, right? Or how about no making fun of people at all? Well, since that's not going to happen anytime soon, I suggest we stick with the other plan.

"Of course, no one should be offended in the process of laughing at ourselves, and that's where it gets difficult. We have a culture which, rightly, is sensitive to anything which could be interpreted as hatred or prejudice. Unfortunately, sometimes it goes too far and it just gets silly. (not saying you're silly for taking offence-just that sometimes we're hyper sensitive when we shouldn't be)" posted my BJadeT. I agree with that. I don't really see anything wrong with telling jokes like this, as long as they don't go too far.

Has anyone ever heard of Aggie Jokes? Unless you live in Texas, you probably haven't. I'm kind of a staunch Aggie. I'd like to go to A&M, and I do take offense whenever people say crude Aggie jokes. They don't make me terribly mad, but of course, you're going to (or should) stand up for anything you believe in.

I don't see any problem with it, maybe because I joke around a lot. If the joker is telling you the joke, it's pretty safe to say they're just kidding. Anyone who takes offense to blond jokes and what-not needs to lightenup a weeeee bit.

As for racist jokes, that's where I stop laughing. If they're not too offensive, again, I don't find much harm in it. But... that's my 2 cents..

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BJadeT
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Yep, racist jokes almost always cross the line between humourous and offensive.
However, there's a BBC comedy sketch show in Britain called Goodness Gracious Me, which is written and performed by some very, very funny and talented British indians.
It basically takes the mick out of Indian families in Britain, and British family's attitudes to them. I think it's hilarious, and so do all my asian friends. I've never heard anyone who thinks its remotely offensive, maybe because its actually made by the group which it is 'mocking', or maybe because it's just done in a damn funny way.
So, for me, Goodness Gracious Me is an example of how we can laugh at ourselves without being offensive, even if it's aboout something sensitive like race.
It's an hilarious programme-please, someone British back me up on this!

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Confused boy
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Consider yourself firmly backed up

That show does well because it tends to spoof the endearing qualities of Indians. It is a gentle mockery which is fine rather than deliberately offensive jokes. It also makes fun of racism in general too (the continuing rivalry between India and Pakistan for example) as well as the British. I still love that "English restaurant" sketch:

"Hey, hey give me the blandest thing on the menu!"

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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Dzuunmod
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A great show also airs on a sort of spotty, or non-existant schedule on Canada's CBC Radio called The Dead Dog Café. Basically, it's a bunch of Natives making fun of both themselves, and us white folks. They take a lot of great shots at how much they've been screwed over by us over the years. As someone recently said about the show: "If the things they say are said by Natives, it's funny. If they're said by white people, it's offensive as hell."

It's fantastic stuff, and I miss the days when it ran on a regular schedule.


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Lynne
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I like offensive humor, and I do find it extraordinarily irritating that it's more acceptable to make fun of certain groups than it is others. Everything and everybody would be fodder for jokes if I had my way.

Anyway, what I really wish would happen is for people to realize that the person telling a sexist/racist/hair-color-based/etc. joke doesn't necessarily hold the beliefs expressed within the joke. I mean, I believe that the only valid judgement of a person is on their individual merits, so racism/sexism/etc. is ideally out of the question for me, but I still tell my share of men jokes. Heck, I tell my share of women jokes, too, and I don't mind if others do, as long as they don't actually buy into the stereotypes behind the jokes. If they're not really sexists, why should I care?

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To the rational mind there can be no offense, no obscenity, no blasphemy, but only information of greater or lesser value.
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sapphirecat
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quote:
Originally posted by Lynne:
If they're not really sexists, why should I care?

Even if you love the person telling the joke, the content of the joke can be offensive. It annoys me that people think I should act/think/feel a certain way simply because I have a penis... which is why I mentally throw in "some" in front of "men".

When it really comes down to it, how is sexism different from racism? Either way, judgements are being made based on physical appearance.

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Dzuunmod
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The sector of society that I think picks on men most is the media, of course. Think carefully, and try and remember how many commercials you've seen in, oh, the past week in which men are protrayed as lazy, stupid or cheating.

How many sitcoms are there on American television in which the "Father Knows Best" ideal has been turned on its head, and has left the man as the idiot of the family? Think of that most famous of animated shows, for a very obvious start.

Meanwhile, how often do you see idiot female characters in main roles on television? Gosh, I feel terrible merely typing out the words "idiot female".

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Lynne
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quote:
Even if you love the person telling the joke, the content of the joke can be offensive. It annoys me that people think I should act/think/feel a certain way simply because I have a penis... which is why I mentally throw in "some" in front of "men".
But if they don't think that you should act/think/feel in the way in question, why's it a problem? Seriously, I don't get how that could be offensive. Or are you offended by the notion that somebody out there (because somebody has to be making up these jokes) is sexist?

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sapphirecat
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quote:
Originally posted by Lynne:
But if they don't think that you should act/think/feel in the way in question, why's it a problem? Seriously, I don't get how that could be offensive. Or are you offended by the notion that somebody out there (because somebody has to be making up these jokes) is sexist?[/B]

To me, the content of the joke exists separately from the person creating, retelling, or hearing it. Thus, the content can be inherently offensive, whether it was intended to be or not. Jokes that derive their humor by subscribing to a stereotype implicitly state that the stereotype is true.

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Sapphire Cat
You can love me or hate me, but it won't change who I am.

[This message has been edited by sapphirecat (edited 11-27-2001).]


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Rizzo
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http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate?tf=tgam/columnists/FullColumn.html&cf=tgam/columnists/FullColumn.cfg&configFileLoc=tgam/config&date=&dateOffset=& hub=margaretWente&title=Margaret_Wente&cache_key=margaretWente¤t_row=1&start_row=1&num_rows=1 --->Copy and paste this address into your browser.

This sort of addresses what I've been talking about (although I don't usually agree with Margaret Wente). It's true that women can get away with men bashing way more than men can get away with women bashing (in this country, anyway), but I don't think Wente is correct to demonize feminists the way she does... I'd also have to take issue with the bit at the end celebrating manly men since September 11. Yes, it seems that now, more than before, values such as "action, hierarchy, duty, power, patriotism, discipline and technology" (as well as agression and violence, it seems) are being celebrated, but I don't think these are exclusively "manly" traits, and I rather wish they weren't so dominant right now. Seems to me that a little "expressiveness, feeling, connection, intuition, caring, community and egalitarianism" could do us some good.

[This message has been edited by Rizzo (edited 01-02-2002).]


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Confused boy
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Do women really want to be associated with these nasty character traits just for the sake of egaliterianism?

I just fine that Germaine Greer quote to be quite funny, particularly if she actually believes it! You will find plenty of Newspaper columists in this country that will poke fun at womens little foibles as quickly as they will at men so I am not too bothered. And to be honest I prefer quite a few of those general characteristics of women to those male ones. Perhaps a happy median needs to be found in which men will become more sensitive but women will become more... whatever men do better.

Maybe I have suffered the indoctrination of feminist propaganda but many of those male orientated characteristics I think we could do without. Patriotism is evil (and I mean that in a very generalized, always is, sort of way). Though is that purely a male trait?

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Pumpkin_Pie
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I'm blond-

What do you call an intelligent lond?
A labrador

I'm Irish

What does a lesbian bring on a second date?
A U-haul

Sorry, just thought I'd put that out there


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xprocessor
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Okay, I haven't posted anything else in this thread, so I'll admit I just skimmed through some of the posts.

But from what I HAVE heard, it seems to me that people are missing some comparitive implications. Rather than looking at WHY Men-bashing jokes AREN'T offensive, instead I think we must wonder why Women-bashing jokes ARE if Men-bashing jokes aren't.

For instance, I see many pre-teen girls wearing T-Shirts along the lines of "Boys are great. Every girl should own one.". No offense taken, right? Let's say you put a T-Shirt on a preteen boy that says "Girls are great. Every guy should own one.". Not only would the girls call him a sexist pig, he'd probably be suspected of having bad parents for them allowing him to wear things so sexist.

Let's take it one step further. What if it's a middle-aged man wearing a T-Shirt saying "Women are great. Every man should own one.". I wouldn't be surprised if he was attacked on the street.

Nothing wrong with the pre-teen girls wearing t-shirts saying "Boys are great. Every girl should own one." though, it's all just harmless fun. Eh?

[This message has been edited by xprocessor (edited 01-06-2002).]


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LeapFrog
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I think this has more to do with the fact that throughout history, women and girls were owned. So it's a bit of a touchy subject. The same way a lot of blacks feel about "the man" and slavery.

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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by LeapFrog:
I think this has more to do with the fact that throughout history, women and girls [b]were owned. So it's a bit of a touchy subject. The same way a lot of blacks feel about "the man" and slavery.
[/B]

And let's not forget that men were "owned" as slaves for a good bit of history as well. This does not only apply to black men, as the Romans held white slaves and people of virtually all ethnicities have been bought and sold as slaves throughout history. With this being the case, one could look at xprocessor's case and wonder why it is okay to joke about something of that nature about men, but not to make the same joke about women.

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Beppie
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I think that in the case of black slavery and Roman slavery, the men weren't owned as "men" but as members of a class that did not pertain to gender, while the "ownership" of women was seen as part of the institution of marriage, and status was very much related to gender.

Having said that, I do agree that I don't like the idea of any group saying that they can "own" any other group, no matter what the gender, and that those T-shirts only help to create a double standard that we could do without.


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Beppie:
I think that in the case of black slavery and Roman slavery, the men weren't owned as "men" but as members of a class that did not pertain to gender, while the "ownership" of women was seen as part of the institution of marriage, and status was very much related to gender.

Well said, my dear, but this fails to change the fact that ownership has taken place throughout history of both men and women. This ownership is insidious no matter its form, and may not be taken well by either gender as a result.

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TenohSetsuna
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How about "owning" men and "owning" women is an outdated and inhumane practice? No, how about just people? I find the idea that owning a person is ethical very hard to swallow.
Note: By owning I meant taking possession and treating as an object. The intent of the "Guys are great, every girl should have one" t-shirt would suggest ownership of a fellow human being as though you can pick it up vacuum-packed in the meat section of the supermarket. I find that a disturbing idea. No person is worth $1.59/lb.

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