“It’s just banter!”
The three words that make any woman want to lose it, usually coming from a boat shoe clad, swaggering idiot wearing a pastel shirt and reeking of vapid, infuriating sexism. It’s the tagline to our generation’s culture of everyday sexism, a verbal elbow in the ribs – can’t you take a joke?
Now I love a nervous laugh more than anything, when a joke is daring and cleverly constructed I’ll neck it down like a shot of tequila on a Friday night and savour the taste of irony. But this? This isn’t funny and I’m not going to be made to feel like I’m the one with a bad sense of humour because I don’t ‘get it’ enough to laugh. I’ve had enough, we’ve had enough.
Funny Women alongside BBC’s 100 Women (so many brilliant women!) are sick of being the punchline to an already shit joke.
Let’s make something clear, it’s not up to women to think of a witty retort to sexism, life isn’t one huge game of Whose Line Is It Anyway? especially when a lot of the ‘banter’ being thrown at you is about as funny as when someone stands on the back of your heel during rush hour. But the world doesn’t work like that does it? If 2016 taught us anything it’s that sometimes logic loses out in life and sometimes you want to say something back because you know, you’re human.
So we’ve got some retorts for you, some comebacks. We might not be able to salvage the joke but we can change the punchline. BBC 100 Women have some Funny Women for you including one of our Funny Women Award Winner’s Desiree Burch, Tiff Stevenson, Ellie Taylor and Shazia Mirza all equipped with some ideas on how to react to sexist ‘banter’.
We know it’s not enough. We know that when you’re walking home on your own that ‘sexist banter’ looks more threatening, it’s darker and nastier and stalks you to your front door. There is so much left to do to tackle this culture of everyday sexism that we live in and as much as we at Funny Women loved sitting in a room going ‘God I wish I said this’ we know we’ve got a lot more stuff to do. But comedy is great because it helps us talk about stuff that sometimes we just don’t want to talk about, it makes us braver in that everlasting dialogue about sexism.
It’s 2017. Get better banter mate. Evolve.
Watch the retorts here!