“That’s Not Funny!”

Scene: I’m in a conversation with two students, one male, one female, probably high school age.

The male student says: “How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”
Me, not missing a beat: “That’s not funny!”
Female student: “Yes!”

For those of who don’t see the joke, “That’s not funny!” is often the punchline to “How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?, playing on the perception of the sense of humour of feminists and feminism*.

As it turns out, both parties took my comment at face value (which was mostly what I intended), and it turned into a small teachable moment.

*This feels like a whole long discussion, mostly sad, about how people felt that making ‘punching down**’ jokes about women no longer socially acceptable was a ‘bad thing’. I feel like much has been said about this, and I have nothing useful to add.

**Perhaps more interestingly, it feels like this whole concept was aired and discussed long before the words ‘punching down’ (meaning making fun of those less fortunate or less privileged) entered the vernacular.

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