Letter to the Editor | Stop the sexual harassment jokes in the media

By Avery Gutwein

Using comedy as a way to cope with life’s challenges is a technique many people utilize.

However, even though comedy is a good aspect of all media, including TV shows, there can be down sides. When TV producers, writers and actors use sexual harassment as a joke, they are furthering an injustice. When sitcoms and other TV shows use sexual harassment as joke material it objectifies and sexualizes women’s bodies more often than men’s bodies. If a woman who was sexually harassed is watching a TV show where a joke about sexual harassment is trivialized, then the woman may start to rethink her own harassment and her reaction to it as dramatic.

According to Stop Street Harassment, about 81 percent of American women and 43 percent of American men have been the victim of some form of sexual harassment in their lives.

If men see jokes about sexual harassment on TV shows or watch a character sexually harass another character in a joking manner, then they will continue to sexualize women in their daily lives. In the era of #MeToo, stand in solidarity with survivors, and realize the harmful effects of trivializing sexual harassment in TV, movies, etc. and especially in one’s own life. Refuse to laugh at a joke made by a favorite TV character that is really sexual harassment. Talk to a friend when she makes a joke that is sexual harassment. Everyone has the responsibility to change the culture around sexual harassment jokes.

Avery Gutwein is a graduate student in Social Work.