You know, I tend to take offense when I hear a man make fun of a woman. By nature, I not to like it at all when one person makes fun of another behind his or her back. This is especially true when one makes fun of his own wife or girlfriend, but I had a talk with a friend today, and he wanted to vent. Once he launched into his displeasure with the way one of the women in his life is obsessed with a certain aspect of the Internet, I could not stop laughing. “Her eyes light up and green smoke starts to come out of her ears! Really! I’m not kiddin'” I am sitting here now, trying to figure out why I thought this was so funny….and I even feel a little bit ashamed of myself for thinking it was.
It is easy to understand why one would want to get along with others. For starters, humans are incredibly social beings who need positive relationships. In fact, there really would be no chance of a society if people did not, by and large, cooperate with each other and get along. However, when we get paired with the wrong people, sometimes dependency issues overtake common sense and the only way we can really cope (apart from splitting up) is to make fun of the other person. Were his jokes tacky? You bet! Politically correct? Not one bit. However, this guy is funny.
He has always made me laugh, and this time, I couldn’t stop. In Psychology, we studied social identity theory. This theory states that humans have a basic psychological need for “positive distinctiveness.” In other words, we all have a need to feel unique from others in positive ways. As humans naturally form groups, this need for positive distinction extends to the groups we belong to. This is a simple explanation for why we dig the groups we belong to and ‘dis’ the groups we don’t belong to. For instance, you will often hear rednecks make fun of vegetarians. You will hear fundies make fun of women that are comfortable with their own sexuality. You will hear right wingers poke fun of the President of the US for being black. Freud argued that people cope with negative views of themselves by perceiving other people as having particularly high levels of that same negative view. So basically, say you are feeling dishonest. You are then more likely to see other people as dishonest, and this makes you, in a sense, feel more honest yourself.
So, in the case of my friend, I think he gets ridiculed and put down by this woman so much that he feels better when he cuts her down. When his self-esteem is challenged, he retaliates, in his own funny way, but cutting down his tormentor.
He described this woman as being “lizzard like” and “hard headed” and compared her to Jabba the Hutt, obsessing for hours, “Cussin’ and clickin’…..cussin’ and clickin’…cussin’ and getting someone else to click…” “Fighting is all she knows how to do. She is fighting with her family. Has legal problems. Hates her job. Hates her lawyer.” THEN, he started in on a litany of “My girlfriend is so ugly…..” jokes….just one right after the other. My inner sensibilities were telling me that laughing was wrong…but I couldn’t help myself. “My girlfriend’s thighs are so fat, she jumped up in the air and got stuck.” “My girlfriends so ugly, she has to tie a pork chop around her neck just to get the dog to play with her….” and on and on and on. He had me rolling on the floor by the time it was all over.
So my point in writing all this? I wish I could have just given him a hug and told him that he is worth a lot. At least to me he is. Either that, or I should work my thighs a little harder when I go to the gym, because THAT one made me REALLY laugh.