Application of humor in sexuality
The subject of this article is the application of humor in issues of gender or sexuality. Sexuality refers to issues of a person’s sexual orientation or preferences. It can also be used to denote someone’s capacity for sexual feelings. On the other hand, humor refers to the quality of being amusing or funny.
Issues of sexuality are among one of the most controversial in the society. Right from an early age, children are taught that matters of sexuality are not to be talked about in public. So much effort goes to making children compliant with this rule. This is because at a young age children tend to have a high obsession with their sexual anatomy. This is more pronounced on male children compared to their female counterparts. Parents are however very keen to see to it that children refrain from publicly disgusting behaviors. As they grow up, they learn that sexual matters are never discussed in public and they are expected to tow the line (Shepard 322). It is only in the most civilized societies that matters of sexuality can be handled lightly (Winchester & Hitlin 2010).
As a result of this perceived sacred nature of sexual matters, people have had to come up with ways of expressing their opinions on the same. This has led to the developments of codenames and other innuendos used to communicate about such matters. This is now where humor comes in the matters of sexuality. Most messages are exchanged among friends without them being perceived as being pervasive. The use of humor in sexual matters usually comes in hand especially where the issue at hand may be highly sensitive.
In most scenarios, most jokes related to sexuality are exchanged between friends. Such jokes are normally used for fun in between other stories. Jokes are crafted about people with unfamiliar sexual orientation, which may not be common with the people in question. Some sexual preferences are also the subject of jokes told among people. Jokes are also shared of people’s sexual interests and activity. Such jokes include those told on people with unusual sexual preferences and activities.
In some spheres where saying things in an explicit way would be considered obscene, jokes have always provided a welcome escape route. An example can be in public places such as schools or churches. When addressing an issue that falls under this subject, teachers or other people may choose to express them in a funny way. This serves to reduce the perceived sentiments that people have about such subject.
Using jokes in such scenarios speaks volume about us and our cultural beliefs and norms. It implies that the society has not yet opened up to the issues of sexuality no matter how liberated we might be in our thoughts. It goes on to prove that we are still a society that values public decorum.
In sharing jokes on matters of sexuality especially among friends, the reception is usually good. They are normally treated with the humor they deserve. Majority of people acknowledge that it is way far better to use such instead of being explicit in expressing our opinions. However, jokes on this issue are not universal in nature. This is to mean that what someone or a certain group finds to be funny may not be perceived as funny by another individual or group. Jokes are usually common among particular groups of people or among particular age groups. For instance, the youth may have their own kind of language which may be totally uncommon with those who are older. What they consider funny may be perceived as being offensive to the aged. In the same light, what the older generation may be comfortable with may not go well with the younger folks.
It can be said that most of these issues are maters of perception and no standard rule is used to judge them. The society, being very subjective in nature may choose to perceive one issue to be okay and another not to be so. This maybe so despite the fact that the converse may be found to appear in most cases. A case at hand is that of the Saints and Roughnecks in William J. Chambliss’ story (Shepard 277). In this story, the town’s people choose to see the roughnecks to be worse than the saints. This is despite the saints being more delinquent than the roughnecks. This is a very good illustration of how perception can be used largely to guide people’s thoughts and decisions.
As pertains what is considered funny and what is not, my opinion is that this depends on the situation being considered. In most cases, there is no laid down rule on what people will agree to and what they will object. Something said in one scenario may be totally unacceptable and considered as offensive, while it will be considered okay in another case. In addition to that, the person saying the thing in question is also put into consideration. The society allows some people some level of freedom to the extent that they may joke about issues under this subject freely. This may not be applicable to others and any attempt is normally reprimanded.
Despite the fact that people are allowed to joke on some issues under this topic, others are considered too grave to attract any humor. They are accorded the seriousness they deserve and no amount of jokes is allowed. Where people suffer from sexual related complications, such issues are not joked about. Such issues are normally discussed in whispers. This is because issues of sexuality are very sensitive and they arouse very deep emotions (Chambliss 1973). It will therefore be too insensitive to go about joking about something that may be a misfortune to another person.
A case at hand is the one in Hanna Rosin’s story, A Boy’s Life. This is a story of people who have a somewhat funny sexual orientation. However, despite it being funny, a lot of understanding is expected when handling such an issue. This is a case whereby children exhibit a transsexual behavior (Rosin 2010). Despite being born as boys or girls, they have an emotional and psychological attachment to the opposite sex. They feel that they are supposed to be of the opposite sex and as such, put up behaviors consistent with those of the opposite sex (Rosin 2010). This is one of the issues on sexuality on which no jokes can be traded. This is especially when referring to a person who is a victim of such, and in their presence. It is only people who cannot comprehend the gravity of such an issue who can joke about it.
Chambliss, William. “The saints and the Roughnecks.” Vol. 11, No.1, Nov/Dec 1973. Pp. 24-31
Rosin, Hanna. “A Boy’s Life.” Deminunes. 11 Oct 2010. Web. 26 Sep 2012. <http://deminunes.blogspot.com/2010/10/boys-life-hanna-rosin.html>
Shepard, Jon M. Sociology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
Winchester, Daniel & Hitlin, Steven. “The good, the bad, and the social.” 2010. Contexts, 9(4), 40-44