The ‘That’s What She Said’ jokes seemed to peak in popularity around the time I was in Middle School. While most thematic jokes have a somewhat short shelf-life, this set has made a comeback over the last few years under the sponsorship of Michael Scott of The Office.
On the surface, I think we want to assume that these jokes are neutral – that we don’t REALLY mean them, so they’re okay to repeat and create.
But what if they’re not neutral? What if they do, in fact, impact us?
I could jump on the obvious fact that they objectify women, portraying them as the passive objects of men’s sexual desire. I could jump on the fact that this objectification of women is antithetical to the Kingdom of God, which views women with honor and respect – not objects of my sexual exploitation or sophomoric humor.
But, unfortunately, those things don’t mean much to most people. So let me propose a different way of looking at this – such jokes orient our hearts in a way that reinforces our carnal nature instead of compelling us to godliness.
Think about it – when we’re always looking for the next ‘That’s what she said’ in everything people say, then our hearts are being conditioned to seek perversion wherever it may be found, to seek innuendo even where it does not exist. It takes great ignorance to assume such a practice is neutral.
If our habits (even the comedic ones) reveal the orientation of our hearts, then it should disturb us deeply the fact that we not only tell these jokes, look for opportunities to spout them, but that we do it SO OFTEN and with the assumption of NEUTRALITY. Indeed, it’s the things we assume to be neutral that are probably the least neutral.
In the end, ‘That’s What She Said’ jokes are not spiritually neutral. They orient us toward a view of women that is degrading and objectifying, and they take our thoughts away from being captivated with Christ and set them perpetually on an unworthy topic.
I don’t want to shame anyone. I’m guilty of such things. But I thought this was worth saying.
Grace and Peace.