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Will Smith Is Penalised, But What About Men Like Chris Rock Who Must Stop Making ‘Jokes’ About Women’s Bodies?

When will the world realise that something they’re casually making fun of is someone else’s reality, and it's not Ok to do so?

On March 27, 2022, American actor, Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock during the 94th Academy Awards after the latter made a joke about the physical appearance of the former’s spouse, Jada Pinkett Smith.

While Smith is facing serious consequences for his actions, there is very little being said about Rock’s condescending remark that mocked a woman’s medical issues. This made me wonder whether this world will ever move past making belittling and shallow jokes about how a person, especially a non-man, looks.

There are two concerning and serious issues about Rock’s actions – him insulting Jada Smith’s decision to go bald due to her medical condition, alopecia areata, and him doing so without her consent.

Why make a joke about someone’s problems, or even their choice about their own body?

First of all, why is it so difficult for the world to accept a woman’s decision to shave her head? Imagine getting diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, shaving your head as a result of that, and then having comedians compare you to a bald fictional character. Would anyone be okay with that?

Second of all, why make a joke about someone’s problems without asking them if they would be open to being mocked publicly?

What Jada Smith faced is the reality of every non-man in this world who doesn’t meet the ideal standards of beauty set by a bunch of misogynists. We are asked to remain silent in the face of humiliation and are labelled as ‘loud’, ‘hormonal’, or ‘reactionary’ the moment we voice our discomfort.

When will the world realise that something they’re casually making fun of is someone else’s reality?

As I think about everything that Will Smith did, I wonder how I would’ve reacted if someone would’ve insulted my wife or girlfriend the same way. Since the answer to that question will be met with a lot of criticism, I will let it remain unanswered in this article.

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About the Author

Upasana Dandona

A literature student who spends most of her time watching (and thinking about) Bollywood films. read more...

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