Q: What do you tell a woman with two black eyes?

A: Nothing, You already told her twice.

Q: What does a woman with a broken arm, a black eye, and two cracked ribs do?

A: The dishes if she knows what’s good for her.

The man whom I collected this piece from asked that I not attach his name to the jokes.  He is a social worker for Los Angeles county.  He says that he heard the jokes from coworkers as they finished paperwork in his office.  The men were discussing a domestic abuse case that resulted in the removal of a young child from his home.  Although he says that he laughed at the jokes when they were told, he claims that they would probably have gotten him in trouble with his superiors if the men had been overheard.

The informant stated that there are very few men in the field of social work.  Because he and the other two people in the room, including the individual who told the joke, were all men, the teller probably felt comfortable enough to assume that none of them would be offended.  He said that he does not agree with the jokes, and he would not find the subject funny at all in a real life situation.

These jokes are a great example of conversations that only arise when one is within a comfortable and familiar social group.  The informant describes the situation as a group of men within a field dominated by women.  Because the men realize that they are a minority group in their field, they would not dare to tell the joke in front of their female coworkers.  Spousal abuse is also a taboo subject in popular culture.  This is coupled with the fact that the men work in a field where it is often their job to interact with and protect women and children in abusive situations; therefore, the jokes would be deemed inappropriate by anyone outside of the group who might overhear them.  The fact that the subject of the jokes is taboo also adds to their appeal.  It is common that we find humor in situations that would be deemed politically incorrect simply because of the likelihood of the item to offend.  This is often exemplified by the telling of ethnic or racial jokes.

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