I am a student currently studying politics at university. I am also a woman. I assume you’re shocked at the last sentence. A woman at university? Ludicrous. I thought you’d be chained to a kitchen, making your boyfriend a sandwich (A gaggle of UNI lads will snigger, yeah, bitch, make me a sandwich.) No no, It’s weird. I chose to come to university, because, sorry, this is going to sound a bit bizarre… I like to study, I am passionate about my course, and I would like to advance my career opportunities.
I know what you’re thinking: is this broad for real?
Or you’re thinking; why are you being so heavily sarcastic, of course I’m not surprised you go to university, of course those are fantastic legitimate reasons why you would choose to go to university, who in 2013 would think otherwise?
Well, it would be Britain’s bashful, boastful, posho, sexist, mayor of London: Boris Johnson.
Mr Boris Johnson suggested that female university students “have got to find men to marry”, and that, incidentally, was the reason why 68% women study within Malaysian Universities. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jul/08/boris-johnson-women-university-husband)
The worst bit of Boris’ statement was that it was meant as a joke.
What is a joke? What is a hilarious, genuinely funny piece of material and what is, at best; a poor, excruciatingly painful sexist comment, disguised under the premise of a joke? Because recently, the humble joke has become a ‘get out of jail free card’ for people who can’t actually tell jokes, or were ever blessed with a sense of humour, but they do enjoy a good old kitchen/sandwich/get a husband gender based comment. This is fine. If you enjoy laughing at men eating sandwiches which a female has prepared for them, then please, laugh until your heart is content. But strangely, that is not how people react. If I were to challenge this kind of ‘joke’, I know the exact reaction I would receive ‘it was a joke. Can you not take a joke?’ It will be my sense of humour that will be judged and not their own. I’m sure the filthy word ‘feminist’ will be spat out also, probably as an insult. Which is fine also. As I am not the one laughing at the prospect of a high rate of female students enrolling in university to simply find a husband. What annoys me, is that imagine if Boris had said ‘oh these boys, all in university to find a wife’… which is not funny. No one is laughing at that statement. Imagine if a male comedian came up on stage and his first line was “Girls: At university to find a husband” I would hope he would be booed off stage, or at least, I would hope no one would laugh. But people are laughing. Because women are still the punchline of the joke. Or should I say the punchline of an excruciatingly painful sexist comment, disguised under the premise of a joke. And people like Boris are still in positions of power, making these ‘jokes’.