This was originally a post on Facebook – one of those that people ‘like’ and ‘share’ and it certainly made me smile – but it also left me feeling disappointed and a bit offended. Jokes reveal hidden truths about how we really see ourselves and others – and this one is no different (just start by asking yourself whether it was written by a man or a woman).
So, what do you think? Although funny it reinforces the message that women are passive-aggressive and unable to communicate directly what they really think and feel. Women are made out to be controlling, sarcastic and vindictive.
But I think this post is damaging to men AS WELL AS women.
Messages like this don’t help men or women understand each other any better, they just reinforce negative stereotypes – rather than helping us change ourselves for the better. Here is a quick summary of what I noticed:
The stereotypes or hidden messages ABOUT WOMEN:
- Women are dangerous! (see the use of “Deadly” in the title).
- Women lie and you can’t trust them (they don’t say what they really mean).
- Women think they are superior or that they know best.
- Women are sarcastic, mean and vindictive and will find a way to get back at you.
- Women know how to hurt and get at men.
- Women are really the ones in control.
- Women are angry, judgemental and unreasonable
The stereotypes or hidden messages ABOUT MEN:
- Men think they know best, but really they don’t (a woman does).
- Men are arrogant and don’t listen.
- Men are stupid and don’t understand women.
- Men are vulnerable to, and under ‘attack’ from women.
- Men are not as clever as women
- If men are not clever and in control, women will abuse them.
- (Implied) Unlike women, men are direct and will say what they mean.
THINKING BIGGER: Things can’t change until people are AWARE that something needs to change. So, in future, if you see or read something – and feel upset, offended or disappointed, take a moment to read between the lines. Notice what it is that upsets you and why. Then, if you like, you could leave a polite comment explaining why it offends or upsets you – or simply discuss it with a friend. Or like me, write a blog post about it! Who knows where that may lead?
and share with your friends and colleagues!