Sarah Silverman's "Sorry, it's a boy" crack was the best part of the Super Bowl. A bunch of people on Twitter are up in arms about a joke in a T-Mobile commercial that aired Sunday during the Super Bowl for its supposed sexism. But, for me, the ad, which you can watch below, was just hilarious. In it, Sarah Silverman and Chelsea Handler brag about the great service they get (via T-Mobile, obviously) in all the different rooms of their mansions. About 16 seconds in, when Silverman boasts of her underground delivery room, she hands a new mom a squalling baby. "Sorry, it's a boy," Silverman winces as she passes off the child. It was a great little Easter egg of playful misandry... and, of course, a bunch of people freaked out about it. Hundreds of angry posters took to Twitter last night to complain that the joke is sexist. Here's talk show host Dana Loesch:
Their reasoning, almost universally, is this: "If you said it about a girl, you'd never get away with it!" That's probably true. It's also not a valid way to determine if a joke is sexist. The people who are upset over this joke are using the same logic as those who decry so-called "reverse racism." (Not a thing.) To those people crying sexism, here's a handy way to tell whether a joke is racist or sexist: Does it get laughs at the expense of a marginalized group? If so, it is probably inappropriate. Here is a bad way to decide if something is racist or sexist: Flip it around and switch the genders or races, find a "double standard," and label the joke unfair. We're allowed to crack jokes about the patriarchy because there's such a thing as a patriarchy. It seems ridiculous to have to remind those complaining about the joke about this, but we live in a world where baby girls are sometimes aborted or killed after birth just for being girls, where women in the richest country in the world get paid less for the same job as their male counterparts, and where women make up half the population but only about a fifth of the Congress. Silverman's joke doesn't exist in a vacuum. It exists in that world. And, no matter if she's your favorite comedian or not, it was smart, subversive and pretty funny.