Ronald De Sousa claims that in order to be amused by something we have to endorse the attitudes of it. This means that the reason that we see divided opinion over whether something is funny or not is because people naturally support different attitudes. Someone who has a low tolerance for sexist behaviour will not appreciate a sexist joke - they will find it immoral or offensive so when telling a joke you must always be aware of your audience.
Generally I find that polite people do not make jokes at the expense of others or laugh at the misfortunes of others. Oh if the person in question starts the joke then by all means engage in a bit of light-hearted banter - humour is a coping mechanism and it's good to not take life so seriously all the time but you must accept responsibility if you've taken it too far and offended someone.
I will be the first person to admit that militant political correctness endeavours go too far and that it must be frustrating for people who are restricted by being unable to exercise their right to "free speech" but I do think that people who make jokes about ethnicity, gender, sexuality or disabilies for example do not appear witty, they merely appear ignorant and appear to be endorsing ignorance and intolerance.
I don't like to foster stereotypes because I think it leads to discrimination but there are occasions when humour can be used to disempower the negative effect of a word or a stereotype. In hip hop, the word "nigger" is used frequently by black people, yet it's also a racist slur.
Comedians like Chris Rock or Richard power downright mock black people, Joan Rivers has mocked Jewish people throughout her entire career in the same way that Jo Bland mocks overweight people.
Observational comedy is comedy and I can see the humour in a lot of things I find offensive when it is tastefully done. Sometimes using offensive topics as humour can bring issues to the mainstream and social consciousness. I would not though, for example sit through a Frankie Boyle sketch for love nor money.
As children we laugh at shocking things because we recognise the thrill of the taboo: the fabulous show Coupling, The Giggle Loop explained those times when we laugh at inappropriate moments and sometimes despite the content of a joke, the delivery still causes us to laugh at it.
Despite all this rationality and analysis of humour though... there is NO WAY I would ever find this t-shirt funny.
Topshop has since recalled this t-shirt and there has been a social media storm of divided views - those who think it's an overreaction to a lighthearted t-shirt, those who think it's downright disgusting that it was allowed to be sold in the first place.
If you can bring me one victim of domestic violence who sees the humour in this t-shirt then maybe I will reconsider my view that it's not an overreaction. That fashion may be controversial at times but it should not glamourise rape or domestic violence. Nothing should.
Today I have been labelled an "angry feminist" for being offended by it - what's your opinion?
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