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Women Share Their Responses To Men Who Say They’re “Just Joking” When They Say Inappropriate Comments

A Twitter user named Heather Thompson shared a story that really touched a nerve amongst women who have experienced similar conflicts. Thompson said when she was 19, her 45-year-old boss told her she should be a phone sex operator, and she had the perfect response:

When I was 19 my boss said I should be a phone sex operator & laughed.

I said “I don’t get it”

He said “it’s a joke”

I said “explain it to me”

& that’s how I learned that once sexual harrassers have to explain why their inappropriate jokes are funny, they stop laughing.

Once she asked him to explain the joke, he stopped laughing.


Thompson says she knew what to do because her dad prepared her for the eventuality of being harassed. It’s sad that he had to do that, but Thompson says it helped her over her entire life:


Even more unfortunately, there were so many responses to Thompson of stories from women who were harassed in a similar way. Some responded the way Thompson did, some didn’t know what to do. But they found asking men to explain their offensive comments they called “jokes’ usually neutralized them.


Others chimed in to say this is useful in situations where people are making homophobic or racist jokes.


And folks shared other techniques in the same line, but these involved nudes:


When people are asked to explain their bad behavior, they actually have to reflect on it and realize the joke’s on them.