How to handle your significant others' offensive "sense of humour"

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derrick derrick's picture
How to handle your significant others' offensive "sense of humour"

 

derrick derrick's picture

[url=http://rabble.ca/now_what.shtml?sh_itm=4b77f67c33bed0821f2b5924ce3ad08e&... for dealing with an offensive boyfriend.[/url]

[ 11 July 2008: Message edited by: derrick_okeefe ]

oldgoat

ms. communicate says...

quote:

You say he relents because he doesn't want to upset you, but if he truly didn't want to upset you he wouldn't talk like that in the first place (in your presence at least). This is a bad dynamic, no matter what the content. It means he's not respecting you or your boundaries. If I was in your place I'd dump his ass in a second.

I'd say that pretty much sums things up. The rest is periphera.

Michelle

Yup. Kick him to the curb. The end.

martin dufresne

One possibility to "get to him" would be to get him to talk about how he feels about his own ethnic origin being made an issue here in Canada or the butt of any Dutch stereotypes or jokes. Let him dwell on that for a while before springing any "Aha!" on him.

Robespierre

quote:


Originally posted by martin dufresne:
[b]One possibility to "get to him" would be to get him to talk about how he feels about his own ethnic origin being made an issue here in Canada or the butt of any Dutch stereotypes or jokes. Let him dwell on that for a while before springing any "Aha!" on him.[/b]

Life is too short, just give him the boot. Unless, you have children. Then, they do the extra work for you, like these good Canadian kids:

See it at YouTube here [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=438ULiU8jxY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?...

Stargazer

Is it wrong that I thought that video was hilarious! "Hey man, need some socks?"

Michelle

If it's wrong, I don't wanna be right. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

Although if I'd shot that video, I'd have made sure my mom looked like a million bucks, dressed to the nines, gorgeous, while she was helping toss the guy's stuff. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] I wouldn't show her crying on the phone and stuff. Don't give the guy that much satisfaction!

[ 11 July 2008: Message edited by: Michelle ]

reglafella

Would it be just as hilarious if it was a dude, destroying the property of his cheating girlfriend?

Cueball Cueball's picture

This video has homophobic content.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]This video has homophobic content.[/b]

Indeed it did with that chalked message on the sidewalk.

Michelle

Sorry - I didn't notice that. I couldn't hear it very well and the filming was so choppy, with so much happening in it, that I missed parts of it.

P.S. reglafella, I'm not much into that kind of retaliation for affairs of the heart - I know that lots of shit happens in relationships and that it's never one-sided. And I also don't think that throwing people's stuff out is an appropriate response, male or female. (In fact, she'd probably be on the hook for all that stuff if it went to court - you can't destroy your partner's property when you're divorcing.)

I more got a kick out of this teenaged guy, doing his best to make his mom feel better, and the fact that he got a bunch of his friends to join him in it. The stereotype of teenaged guys is that they don't give a shit about anyone but themselves, they don't respect their parents or care about them, they all want to be "players" and just want to use girls and women and will lie and cheat and do anything just to get laid.

But in this video, while they act like totally immature teens, they turn the other stereotypes on their ear, stick up for their parent when they think she's been wronged, try to cheer her up, etc.

I'm not sure if I was their mother that I'd want them to do any of that, particularly filming me screaming and crying at 4:30 a.m. on the phone in a bathrobe. But I guess it was just sort of touching that they gave a shit at all, and tried in their own way to make it right for their mom, even if I don't really approve of what they did with the guy's stuff (and I don't, really).

Does that make sense?

P.S. Not to mention that I had the impression, throughout the video, that it wasn't actually real. I think it was staged. Most kids who are protective of their moms wouldn't put videos of her sobbing over some guy who cheated on her on the internet.

[ 11 July 2008: Message edited by: Michelle ]

Cueball Cueball's picture

There is a big sign at the end where the kids have written, "Lyle is gay" in chalk or paint in the sidewalk. Good kids generally, I would say, other than that. I just thought I would point it out.

Michelle

Oh, I didn't see that! I had to turn it off just before it ended.

reglafella

quote:


Does that make sense?

Ya, that does. Sorry to have asked but usually when people find a video like that funny its because some "cheatin' guy" got his. That can also be funny, but I wouldn't say its specific to guys. You're right that it's interesting that the teens got in on it. Good lads!

Robespierre

quote:


Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]There is a big sign at the end where the kids have written, "Lyle is gay" in chalk or paint in the sidewalk. Good kids generally, I would say, other than that. I just thought I would point it out.[/b]

I never noticed that chalked message before. Hmm, well, I won't be posting that video again.

If I'd seen the chalked message before I would not have posted the video link because eventhough those kids strike me as being average teenagers who might not be into bashing homosexuals but are unaware of how harmful using the word in that way can be, that doesn't make it right. I don't tolerate the use of the word "gay" to describe something as negative.

[ 11 July 2008: Message edited by: Robespierre ]

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Yup I had a talk with one of my 20 year old son's friends because he posted something very similar on Facebook. I think he got it after our little talk. He didn't originally see the problem with it because he thought it was just a funny line out of a movie. I pointed out to him the members of our family who are gay and the other people like our MP who are gay and then he started to get it when he started considering how they would view the term. I also pointed out that many people would read his remarks and think he was a homophobic jerk. Hopefully he will learn that not everything in popular culture is acceptable.

lagatta

I can't view videos (and have no great desire to, moreover in general I'm not interested in pop culture) but back to the original story, if he is Dutch, he has no excuse for the homophobic stuff, wasn't Netherlands one of the first countries to authorise same-sex marriage? And in general very open about same-sex relationships.

Is this woman a bit trapped?

She sounds like she is young and has her life ahead of her, and could do much, much better.

hfx_ben hfx_ben's picture

quote:


Originally posted by oldgoat:
[b]ms. communicate says...

?? What? Why is the previous not quoted properly? 2008 and you've been putting up with lame forum software all these years? Not much of a surprise that there's no innovation in this "key" technology, then. *goooood grief!*??

Material cited manually: "You say he relents because he doesn't want to upset you, but if he truly didn't want to upset you he wouldn't talk like that in the first place (in your presence at least). This is a bad dynamic, no matter what the content. It means he's not respecting you or your boundaries. If I was in your place I'd dump his ass in a second."

??and no Preview?! Good gawd folks, what are you thinking?

I'd say that pretty much sums things up. The rest is periphera.[/b]


Yes, that certainly moots the entire topic ... like forum software, so long as we can provide something glib and convenient and plausible, that's the end of it.

The point is (w/BF stuff /entirely/ red-herring) this is just a variant of the personality politics that dominates bourgeois exchange ... whatever the reality, we don't offend. Unless it's someone in the "out-group", in which case we can be dismissive and condescending ... no loss ... in fact it's the standard tactic for signalling membership and currying favour. ("Loyalty", doncha know.)

That we "don't want to offend" passes for good manners when it is, bottom line, manipulation of the crudest sort.

2008 and lame forum software ...
... 2008 and it's still high-school clique politics.
No reason for confident optimism here, folks, just move along.

martin dufresne

I don't understand at all what is this about "lame forum software", but my reaction to Ms. Communicate's advice and to those who agreed with her was surprise at hearing yet another reiteration of the "why doesn't she just leave?" cliche. Isn't the asker entitled to her own project - getting through to him? I am sure she already lives with her own assessment of her meagre chances at managing that and doesn't need browbeating and cheap jokes.

remind remind's picture

Why is it up to her to try and continuously get through to him? He seems not to want to discontinue his actions that upset her, though he knows it does.

That in itself indicates what a future could/would be like with him. His actions are/could be the first indication of an abuser. As his continuation of said upsetting behaviour is abuse.

martin dufresne

Her letter indicates that she is well aware that she is shouldering an unfair part of the burden of achieving respectful communication. But isn't she looking for a way to equalize it when she writes:

quote:

...I just can't get through.
How can I use really simple concepts to make him "get" it? I would like to think that if we could get over the communication gap, he'd see the importance of what I'm saying.

[ 11 July 2008: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]

remind remind's picture

Excuse me martin, one would think he would "get" racism, sexism, and homophobic actions, and he is an adult and should by now understand what he is doing, and he knows it upsets her. Yet he continues, that is abuse, and it exposes his complete lack of empathy to her and all other peoples except apparently his own ethnicity.

ETA:

Moreover, he has twisted it so that she is blaiming herself for failing to get through to him.

He is victimizing her and in turn blaiming her for how it makes her feel. By saying such things as; "you take it too personally", hello, he is mocking/ridiculing her, how is she supposed to take it?

He is showing the early signs of an abuser, and it is just that simple.

[ 11 July 2008: Message edited by: remind ]

martin dufresne

Yes, I totally agree. Yet this doesn't give us the right to second-guess and bat down her project/hope of finding a way to communicate to him what he is doing, does it?

remind remind's picture

quote:


Originally posted by martin dufresne:
[b] Yet this doesn't give us the right to second-guess and bat down her project/hope of finding a way to communicate to him what he is doing, does it?[/b]

Yes, it does actually. And we are not second guessing, he is showing the first and classic signs of an abuser.

Your linked article in another thread, you started today, spells out how women need to be in solidarity together to stop the violence against us.

That does not mean not telling her the obvious truths about whom she is getting mixed up with.

Women have been trying to change men they were involved with who are abusers for thousands of years, has it stopped it yet?

theleftyinvestor

I remember talking with a Dutch guy at a youth hostel when the "Dutch Muhammad comic crisis" was going on. He explained to me that one aspect of Dutch humour is essentially self-immolation by saying things so offensive that they know they will get in trouble.

If the boyfriend in this question fits the mold, then he enjoys the thrill or humiliation of getting in trouble and that's why he keeps doing it again. Self-deprecation through offense. Like a flasher.

Maybe this would help you find a way to get to him? If you're trying to educate him from the angle of what hurts you, it kinda feeds back into the cycle. But on some level this hurts him - he's making fun of himself in a dangerous way. Can you get him to reflect upon what that says about him?

If you like the guy enough that you'd otherwise want to stay with him for a long time, some joint conselling could be in order.

martin dufresne

[i]We are not second guessing, he is showing the first and classic signs of an abuser.[/i]

I don't know that no male showing such signs necessarily can't be confronted and made to change his behaviour.
As for "second guessing", I may have used the term inappropriately. An on-line dictionary says it means "To criticize or correct after an outcome is known."
Well, the outcome isnt known yet for the asker, but what I meant was that we ought not to decide for her that her project to change his present behaviour is necessarily doomed and reject her request for specific advice.
I for one don't feel OK about us doing that. Do you see how it is equivalent to the "Why doesn't she just leave" response? This analogy has limits since, apparently, this asker isn't being physically abused, threatened or deprived of too much of her self-esteem yet, but I do think that part of our general response so far has been dismissive of her request and based on an inaccurate we-know-better stance, something my colleagues in the anti-violence against women movement have come to never do anymore.

[i]Your linked article in another thread, you started today, spells out how women need to be in solidarity together to stop the violence against us.[/i]

Yes.

[i]That does not mean not telling her the obvious truths about whom she is getting mixed up with.[/i]

You're right, it doesn't. But isn't it possible to both tell her our assessment AND try to honour her request for tactics to get her man to "get it", instead of berating her for even asking, as some have done?

It seems to me that most feminists and anti-racist activists - including the most radical - have always explored such tactics and tried to get people to take them up. Why deny her those ideas, along with our assessment of her success chances?

[i]Women have been trying to change men they were involved with who are abusers for thousands of years, has it stopped it yet? [/i]

I hear you. It's true the results are dismal so far, especially with the culture accelerating toward full-blown, obdurate, gloves-off misogyny.

But even then, I can't say for sure that some men haven't stopped abusing because they were confronted or haven't been kept from ratcheting intimidation to actual physical abuse. There has been tremendous progress over the last 35 years on th very basis of this possibility.

Also, and excuse me for stating something this trite, this isn't the only struggle that has been going on for centuries and that can't be faulted for not having succeeded yet.

[ 11 July 2008: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]

[ 11 July 2008: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]

remind remind's picture

Martin, there is advice given to women/girls, inrespect to starting, or thinking about starting, a new relationship with a male, and it is to look for the first signs of an abuser, and the advice is to walk away, not to try and change the behaviour. That is why there is detailed accounts of the first signs.

martin dufresne

Yes, I agree. But no one here is advising the asker to "try and change his behaviour". It is she - a trained social worker - who has asked for hints on what might work getting through his verbal defense. So I imagine she can be told both the advice you are recommending - and I fully concur - and whatever suggestions may come to mind or have worked for any of readers.

Michelle

Okay, I'm going to regret this in the morning, and I know this is just the usual holier-feminist-than-thou male scolding and policing of our posts that female feminists on babble have been putting up with for a while now, but I have to respond...

The feminist WOMEN here who are suggesting that this woman leave are not blaming or "berating" her for not leaving. We're acknowledging that ending the relationship is an available choice. Many women who see the beginning signs of an abusive relationship don't feel like leaving is even an option, that people might ridicule them for ending a relationship for "such a little thing". That things have to be really bad before they leave. Furthermore, many of us here who have been in abusive relationships are recognizing the signs and we're sharing together our response to such a sign.

I find that when discussing issues like this with other women (when there isn't a guy around playing the role of Better Feminist Than All The Other Feminist Women In The Room Put Together), we share our experiences and the wisdom we've gained from those experiences. And we generally listen sympathetically to each other's problems and, yes, sometimes react emotionally when we recognize a fellow woman being treated badly by a guy.

If this woman wants to try to work things out, wants to teach her boyfriend how to be an ally, that's fine, and of course it's her decision. But that doesn't mean that other women can't or shouldn't share with her their assessment of her situation, or of how likely she will be to succeed with this guy.

And a lot of us who have "been there" also react when we see a woman who is at the beginning stages of a relationship - not yet tied by marriage or cohabiting, not yet financially dependent or interdependent, not yet linked by children - witnessing the warning signs of an emotionally abusive partner. This is controlling and abusive behaviour (he's trying to control her or "break" her at her most core beliefs). Guys who act like this even after important women in their lives tell them they don't like it are clearly not willing to learn anything.

Women are better off not getting to wrapped up or tied down in relationships with guys like this. It's nothing but heartache. And there's nothing wrong with women who have been there warning our sisters early on when we see them going there. Whether or not our male allies think it's okay for us to do so.

[ 12 July 2008: Message edited by: Michelle ]

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]Okay, I'm going to regret this in the morning[/b]

Why? It was a great post.

martin dufresne

Well I have made a simple point.
It is being ignored and I am being personally attacked by the moderator so I'm out of here. Peace.

Michelle

Your "simple point" is an accusation against the women posting in this thread, that we are "rejecting" her request for advice, that we have no "right" to suggest that she leave, that we are "browbeating" her, that we are making "cheap jokes" about her, and that we're blaming her for not leaving.

All of these responses to our posts are proposterous, and yes, it does get frustrating when you, a man, constantly lecture and patronize the women here on feminist issues, especially when you take what we write and twist it into something we never did or said.

Sineed

quote:


Originally posted by theleftyinvestor:
[b]I remember talking with a Dutch guy at a youth hostel when the "Dutch Muhammad comic crisis" was going on. He explained to me that one aspect of Dutch humour is essentially self-immolation by saying things so offensive that they know they will get in trouble.
[/b]

I thought something similar, that the guy might have a transgressive sense of humour, and the girlfriend is a more earnest person and doesn't relate.

Whatever the guy's intentions, mscommunicate's answer could have been a lot shorter: [url=http://community.nbtsc.org/wiki/DTMFA]DTMFA.[/url]

[ 12 July 2008: Message edited by: Sineed ]