Five Jokes Not to Make
Updated: Feb 23
Image drawn by Kenzie Hebert
Everyone wants to be funny, it’s basic human nature. Everyone wants to get people to laugh at least a couple of times. But, certain jokes can cross lines that shouldn’t be crossed. Lines that women are extremely tired of hearing. So without further ado, here’s my list of 5 jokes not to make regarding women:
1. Jokes about body types
This can extend to jokes about someone’s appearance, skin color, face, arms, or anything concerning their overall body. In my own experiences, one incident sticks out in my mind: the time that someone made a joke about my breasts. Not only was this extremely uncomfortable, but it also made me feel bad about myself. People were laughing at something that made me uncomfortable, and that has stuck with me. I wore baggy sweaters and tried not to let anyone see anything because I didn’t want to go through that again. Jokes like this can cause women to try and change their appearance, as I did with mine. A very common joke that causes this is jokes regarding someone’s weight. These are probably of the most uncomfortable kind. I fear that these jokes can cause eating disorders, or for someone to just not care about being healthy anymore which is not something that anyone should have to experience. So the next time you look at a person and think of a joke that’s just absolutely hilarious, keep it to yourself, because it’s probably not as funny as you think, and that little harmless jokes could have long-lasting consequences.
2. Jokes comparing women to men
These types of jokes remind me of a story from elementary school, that has unfortunately repeated itself multiple times. I would be sitting in class, minding my business when the teacher would say something along the lines of “Could I have someone strong to carry these chairs into the next class”? As someone eager to get out of a classroom, I would raise my hand and say that I could do it, hoping to finally get picked this time. But every time the teacher would choose a boy instead, and say something along the lines of “Well boys are just a bit stronger than girls”. All the boys would laugh, and the day would continue. Jokes about comparing a woman to a man can cause a rift between the genders and cause for a really, really uncomfortable day. These jokes can be about things like strength (as per the example I listed above), intelligence, humor, skills, or pretty much anything else. Comparing one thing to another can make for a funny joke or riddle, like comparing a raven to a writing desk, but when those two things you’re comparing are men and women, maybe use all your power of will and just stay silent.
3. Jokes about a woman’s intelligence
As a natural blonde, I can appreciate the occasional dumb blonde joke. They can be funny when used in the right setting, and I’ve honestly gotten used to them by now. But when someone uses a joke, even a joke as trivial as a blonde joke, to genuinely insult my intelligence, that’s when I have a problem. Not only have I heard jokes about women being dumb, but I have also heard jokes used as insults when a woman does something considered smart. In 8th grade, every time my math teacher would congratulate me on a good grade, this table of boys would fake cough and call me a try-hard. Then they’d laugh and laugh as I had to sit with the embarrassment. I know I’m not the only one who has had experiences like this. Jokes about women’s intelligence as a whole aren’t funny, and shouldn’t be considered as such. So if someone is genuinely struggling with something like school maybe don’t joke about it but help them instead, and if a woman gets a good grade then congratulate them instead of joking about it.
4. Jokes about wage gaps for women
This is a big one. A big, uncomfortable one. In terms of women’s rights, we’ve been fighting for equal pay for so long, and still are, so jokes about wage gaps really, really aren't funny. According to the Center for American Progress, the gender wage gap can be defined as “the difference in earnings between women and men” (Bleiweis 2). They also say that multiple calculations have been made throughout the United States, but all of them have reached the same conclusion, “Women consistently earn less than men, and the gap is wider for most women of color” (Bleiweis 2). Women have been struggling for equal wages for a very long time, and making jokes about it is considered to be an insult to all that hard work. It would be appreciated if the jokes about it could perhaps stop and be supportive instead, and if a person still can’t find a way to be supportive, then just don’t say anything at all. Sincerely, women.
5. Jokes about a women’s clothing
In some of my past blogs, I have talked about women’s appearance and clothing. I firmly believe that a woman should be allowed to wear whatever she wishes, as long as she is comfortable in that outfit. This is why I believe that jokes about women’s clothing shouldn’t be a regular thing. Maybe you can relate to the feeling of going to a relative’s house, perhaps just to hang out, or maybe for a family function. Maybe when you’ve gone to that relative’s house, you have had to deal with that one person who does not appreciate your appearance and outfit. Maybe they just stared at you weird, or maybe they even made a comment that made you uncomfortable. Jokes about a woman’s clothing choices harm people in the same way that a judgemental relative’s stare does. It’s uncomfortable and can cause a loss of confidence or independence, which is not something that a woman (or anyone) should have to go through. People should be able to be confident, independent, and comfortable with themselves. So if you see a woman in an outfit that you don’t really like, they probably love it, so that joke on the tip of your tongue, take it and swallow it back down, because it won’t be appreciated.
Women’s rights are still a big issue in the world, and though we may be strong, jokes like these and many others can still be harmful, and they can still hurt. So maybe next time you want to make that absolutely hilarious joke, keep it yourself because it could be harmful in the long-run.
-Kenzie, TeensForWomen Editor <3
Bleiweis, Robin. “Quick Facts About the Gender Wage Gap.” Center for American Progress, Center for American Progress, 24 Mar. 2020, 9;01 am,