'That's not funny!'

Crossing Limits

'That's not funny!'

Have you ever been a victim of nasty lucid jokes cracked by a male colleague at your workplace? Have you found it tough to wriggle out of the situation? You are not the only one troubled when such situations arise.

There are many who silently tolerate the menace due to several reasons.  In most cases, chances are that the person passing the malicious comments is unaware of the discomfort he is causing to his female friends.

For many men, cracking jokes on physical appearance and sexuality is not a bad thing. It is as normal for them as gossip is for women. “Though their intentions may not be to hurt anyone, sometimes their comments go beyond a joke which cannot be digested easily. 

At the same time, we may not be able to show our disapproval due to the fear of being labelled as ‘old fashioned’ and ‘not sportive’,” opines Chitkala, an IT professional.

It is easy to neglect these comments as long as they are passed in a general context. But when these comments start targeting a particular person, an immediate and strong response should be passed to the abuser, feel many.

“In big organisations, a girl may get supporters while facing such situations. However in small enterprises, where the number of women workers is negligible, the work environment can be close to hell,” says Chetana Govind, a marketing manager.

Dr Mala Giridhar, a clinical psychologist, has some solutions to offer. She feels before reacting to such statements, one should analyse the intention behind these comments and the context in which they are made.

“Sometimes, passing vulgar jokes is a part of a person’s personality and one cannot help it. And a person who speaks bad things may not necessarily be physically abusive. As long as his jokes are not personal, simply ignore them. And if your are sportive enough, just laugh with him. If you feel he is intruding on your personal space or is putting you in an awkward situation, just react strongly and communicate your disregard clearly in the shortest sentence possible. Don’t hesitate to take the help of your colleagues and if needed, the help of the higher authorities, if he abuses you personally with cruel intentions.”

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