Monday, March 13, 2006

A Russian joke for International Women's Day
A (Soviet) Russian joke goes as follows:
Word gets around that a particular butcher shop will actually have some meat on the following day. That day, by 3AM, there is already a huge line winding around the block outside the shop. At 7AM there is an announcement: "We're sorry comrades, but the shipment of meat is smaller than we expected. All Jews must leave the line." The rest of the people continue to wait, and at noon there is another announcement: "Sorry again. Even less meat than we thought. Everyone who is not a member of the Party must leave the line." At 4PM: "Not very much meat coming. You must leave the line if you are not a member of the Central Committee". At 7PM, the final announcement: "Sorry, no meat at all". As two people leave the line, one of them grumbles to the other:
"Those Jews have all the luck!"

The connection with International Women's Day comes from a Toronto Star article about that event entitled, "More women on their own: Study". It begins by telling us:
Bridget Jones had it right — there are more women living alone these days than ever before, at least in Canada. Women are marrying less, divorcing more and outliving the men they do stay with, according to a Statistics Canada study released yesterday.
It's that last comment about the plight of women that I wish to comment on. The article is essentially saying: "Those men have all the luck!". That is, the men (on average) have been kicked off the line.

This sentiment is actually quite common. When someone complains about government policy toward the aged, it is often stated that these policies are anti-woman because most old people are women. Our student newspaper once complained that the government policy of raising university tuition was anti-woman, because a significant majority of university students are women. (Oddly, they didn't compliment the government for being pro-Black.) From my Encarta 2005 encyclopedia article about the Taliban, we learn that one of the (many) problems faced by women was:
[W]omen were forbidden to work outside their homes. In a country where hundreds of thousands of men had been killed in warfare, widows found themselves unable to work to provide basic necessities for their families.
Once again, men have all the luck.

Finally, here is my own joke in honor of International Women's Day, inspired by George Costanza from Seinfeld. (Frankly, I'm not really sure how it relates to the above rant.)

Upon being told how awful it is for a woman to outlive her husband, a man replies, "I hope that doesn't happen to my wife."

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