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I am a sixteen-year-old girl, and recently a lot of my peers have been making a lot of jokes about women in the kitchen. Here's an example: “Why do women have smaller feet? So they can stand closer to the sink.” The jokes are even on Facebook now, and my page seems to be overloaded with invites to join groups for women that are only for cooking and cleaning. Even my boyfriend continues with the jokes, though I've told him how upset they make me. I don't know what to do when these jokes come up because I'm shy and I'm not usually one to say outright what I think if I'm up against a large group of people. The jokes make me so incredibly angry, frustrated, and upset that these jokes are setting back what all feminists have done for modern society over the past hundred years or so. What are some ways I can express how I feel about these jokes?

Most people I know have been in situations similar to yours...that is, having to withstand comments that make them feel uncomfortable. I think you have to first figure out why they are making such comments—often times, it is just to get a rise out of you and to make you angry. Sometimes, it’s just because they are being dumb—and they know it. I think it's important to contextualize their motivation before making a comment. I think humor is sometimes the best response (but that's not always easy to come by). For instance, depending on their shoe size saying "then why are YOUR feet so small?" Next, I think no response is the best response—since it's likely that they are trying to get a rise out of you, when you don't give them that they get frustrated. I know these comments can be hurtful, but knowing what the intention is takes some of the sting out of it.




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