I was looking through my Facebook newsfeed when I saw a friend post something about how he wants a Grace-Pia/Pia-Grace tandem for the 2016 elections. I assume he is talking about politicians Grace Poe and Pia Hontiveros, and he wishes that they’ll run for president and vice president.
The first person who commented on his post was his male friend who said, “I’d vote the flip out of Grace-Pia,” but then the same friend writes, “Then again being a Man might be rendered illegal.”
That comment was obviously done in jest, but why was it so easy for this person to reduce these two politicians to their womanhood, then take it against them, then couch it as a joke so that no one had the right to complain?
It was so instinctive for him to say, “Yeah I agree they are good politicians, but too bad they’re both women, coz that seems like shit, and we should sooooo panic about it. Hahahaha. I’m only joking.”
A friend used to tell me that jokes are half meant, or maybe the things we joke about reveal a certain mindset. Jokes rely on quick associations, so in a conversation about politics and elections, why didn’t the two names summon up thoughts about the politicians’ track record, leadership capabilities, or political platforms?
No, the quickest thing that came to this person’s mind was the fact that the politicians were female, and that giving power to women is something that men should worry about.
Even though he was in full support of their candidacy and obviously thinks they are capable politicians, he has to put a caveat to his support and remind everybody that he knows that these two politicians are women.
These offhand remarks, these casual replies, these innocent comments are what I am wary of. The society isn’t halved between bigots and the rest. There are gradients of prejudices that we can be guilty of, and when somebody calls us out for what our actions and words reveal, I hope we examine them carefully before we dismiss them, and say, “Shut up, bitch, you don’t know what you’re saying!”
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