Derek: What do you do when your dishwasher stops cleaning?

Me: I don’t know, what?

Derek: Hit her

Derek told me this joke but before doing so he gave a disclaimer warning me it was sexist and that he learned the joke from a friend.  Folklore in the form of jokes can reveal a great deal about a culture because knowing what a culture thinks is funny helps one better understand a particular culture.  In a way, jokes are a significant window into a specific culture.  If you look at jokes in a Freudian way it can be said that jokes offer an outlet for people to express or explore things that are not normally or socially acceptable to talk about such as aggression, sexuality, stereotypes, etc.  This joke in particular is a sexist joke based on older gender stereotypes in which women were strictly confined to domestic chores.  In this particular joke when Derek said dishwasher what came to my mind was dishwasher in the sense of the actual electric appliance that you would purchase at a store.  However the punch-line implies that women are dishwashers and if they don’t stick to their domestic duties it is okay to physically abuse them.  The telling of these types of jokes are pretty common and popular which could be because it does express something that is in a way “forbidden” or at least no longer social acceptable viewpoints about gender and gender roles in society.   But like Derek, most people give a disclaimer before or after the telling of the joke saying that the joke is not theirs, but rather that they heard it from a friend or even a friend of a friend (FOAF).  This is suppose to excuse them from the fact that they are telling an offensive joke but they should not be held accountable for it because it is not their joke and they are therefore, in this case not sexist.

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