If You Thought That Sexism Was Over…

One of the many challenges of being a parent or a teacher is helping kids and young people learn how to treat others with respect. It’s certainly not easy, especially when we’re surrounded by (among other things), disrespect masquerading as humor.

One of the most effective ways to get away with saying hurtful things is to follow them up with “just kidding” because it then makes it seem like the folks who take offense are humorless and can’t take a joke. Powered By Girl has a post about “go make me a sandwich,” which is an unfortunately common way for boys and men to get a rise out of girls and women. As in: “Bitch, shut the fuck up and go make me a sandwich.” (from this site)

This oh-so-charming line is a way to reinforce the notion that women are supposed to be in the kitchen, serving the menfolk. And when it gets a reaction girls, boys can just pretend it’s a joke. All too often, though, it becomes the foundation for this sort of thing:

You might think it’s a harmless joke, and it’s true that not all boys who use it will be physically abusive when they grow up, but it still creates a culture in which women are expected to serve men or face punishment. If that’s going to change, we need to deal with it at the root, and one way to do that is to challenge the “make me a sandwich” joke.

The author of the Powered By Girl post says that her response to “Make me sandwich, Bitch” will be, “Sure. When I get that 33 more cents compared to your dollar.” What other responses can you think of? (and anyone who says something like “what kind of sandwich” is getting permanently blocked from commenting.)

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9 Responses so far.

  1. Jen W. says:

    My response would be: “Make your own damn sandwich, jackass.” Or something similar, depending on my mood…

  2. Hot mama says:

    (I love that comment about who will be permanently blocked. Lol)

    “bitch, go make your OWN sandwich. I’m not your bitch!”

    *mumbling audibly* “now where did I leave that rat poison guide?”

    “You talk to your mother with that mouth? Should I give her a call to discuss what a foul mouthed, disrespectful prick she raised?”

    *said in a strong, solid, unapologetic manner*. “I feel disrespected when you joke like that and i dont like itt. I’d appreciate it if you apologize and not talk like that to me again”

  3. Renee says:

    Thank you for sharing this! Poweredbygirl.com is a great way for girls to engage sexist media using humor and satire. That blog post was written by Maya, only 16 years old!

  4. In my experience, it is feminists who are the queens of the ‘only joking’ meme that is really deadly serious about being misandrist.

    eg. privilege denying dude:

    also an analysis of how men treat women online that is totally anti-men:

    and also i think feminism’s portrayal of men in general presents them as likely to be rapists and perpetrators of domestic violence. Some of the sexist jokes such as the one you posted above may actually be reactions to feminists’ stereotyping of men.

    I think we need to look at both sides.

  5. Charlie says:

    I agree that we need to look at all sides in order to find real solutions.

    And I also think that there’s a difference in the way that humor is used to reinforce privilege and the use of irony (in the case of privilege denying dude) or sarcasm (in the case of Gabby’s Playhouse) to highlight the dynamics of privilege. I have certainly witnessed plenty of men doing pretty much what both of those sites show. Yes, they turn them into caricatures in order to make a point, but that’s hardly the same thing that men do when they say or do offensive, intrusive, or violent things and then say “Just kidding. Can you take a joke?”

  6. I don’t agree Charlie but then I don’t agree about ‘privilege’ either. Ive had some very nasty ‘jokes’ aimed at me lately, by feminists. I also find feminists online often make any challenge of their position at all into a ‘joke’ e.g. that ‘whatabouttehmenz’? trope or ‘what about the seals’? as if we have no right to ask about discrimination against men.

    I don’t like that sandwich meme/joke. It’s horrible. But it is in a different context from the one you are presenting, I believe.

  7. Charlie says:

    What is it about privilege that you disagree with?

  8. I don’t think men hold privilege in our society.

    Sure some men do. But some women do too. I don’t think we live in a ‘patriarchal’ society and the idea of male privilege depends on believing we do.

  9. Amy says:

    “I bet you’re ‘just kidding’ because you wanted to insult me and get away with it.”

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