What’s Sex Got to Do With…That’s What She Said Jokes?

In thinking about social life on college campuses today, many ideas come to mind. One of those which came to my mind is the idea of sexual jokes, one of the most well known being none other than “that’s what she said” jokes. A brief explanation of what “That’s What She Said” jokes for everyone who doesn’t know…

If someone says a statement that can be taken as sexual, someone says “that’s what she said”! These jokes can be made by both males and females.

If you still don’t understand or just want some funny examples, visit this site:


I, personally, think these jokes are hilarious and have to admit I participate in them a lot, but they can also be analyzed to find the deeper meaning behind them. As I explained above, these jokes can be made by both men and women, but the majority are said by men explaining that something that a woman said is sexual. Men say these jokes to make a point that the woman didn’t realize she was saying something that could be taken as sexual. Or the men say them to their guy friends making fun of them saying something that is thought of as “feminine”.

In addition, the phrase “That’s What She Said” is actually suggesting that the female is obviously thinking about the sexual topic itself. This relates to the idea that we have discussed throughout our class that it is okay for guys to have sexual desires and feelings, but when females have sexual desires they are made fun of (with these jokes, for example) or worse, socially stigmatized as a “slut”. This also relates to gender stereotypes, a topic we have talked about throughout this quarter.

In addition to gender stereotypes, “That’s What She Said” jokes can also be thought of in a BDSM culture fashion. Even though these jokes aren’t always said by a male about something a female said, they are meant in that fashion, which relates to the male “dominant” and female “submissive” traits. Even in relationships today, many women feel like they have to play the submissive role. These jokes are an example of this because the female has no idea that she is saying something sexual, while the male is making it known to her that of course, what she said can be taken sexually.

In thinking about how “That’s What She Said” jokes relate to other topics we have discussed, the idea of heteronormativity comes to mind. “That’s What She Said” jokes only demonstrate heterosexual relationships in that typically the female says the line that is supposed to be sexual. It is possible for the jokes to portray a lesbian couple, but not all LGTBQ subjects are depicted. This is a perfect example of how our society is extremely heteronormative.


A perfect example of “That’s What She Said” jokes in our media today is how many times they are said throughout one of my favorite TV shows The Office. Sexual jokes, especially on shows like The Office are a major part of the comedy, but especially the “That’s What She Said” jokes portray how heteronormative our media in our society is today.

Some questions to think about include why is our media so heteronormative, and what are ways that current TV shows are making an effort to change this? What are other examples of sexual jokes that are heteronormative? How can the media change from a state of heteronormativity to neutral for all sexual orientations? Do you think it is possible for the media to ever be completely neutral for all sexual orientations?

What’s Sex got to do with……..Kevin Gates??

“Ho told me the other she sent a nigga to jail. I thought it was legal to beat your hoe.” These are the opening lines to Kevin Gates hit single ‘Sposed to be in Love. He goes on to describe the current state of affairs between him and his significant other.  In short, the young lady has decided that she no longer wants anything to do with Mr. Gates. She has even moved his belongings out of her home as a show of her seriousness in her decision to cut all ties with the narrator. In response to the young lady’s refusal to have anything more to do with him ,he declares that they are “supposed to be in love and ain’t no breaking up, and there ain’t no walking out”.

Throughout the song, Mr. Gates alternates between telling listeners that he will not allow his significant other the luxury of leaving him alone and describing the behaviors that led her to want to leave him. These behaviors include violence as well as lying and general mistreatment of her. This song reinforces the ideals of heterosexuality and power that plays out in our society everyday.

In her article  Sex and Power, Kristen Barber argues that hetero-sex is a mechanism by which men dominate women. She goes on to say that in order to understand the subordination of women in the United States, one must analyze the practice of heterosexuality. Heterosexuality enforces gender norms where men dominate women and women are supposed to adhere unquestioningly to this dynamic of male empowerment and female dis-empowerment.  In ‘Sposed to be in Love, we can see this dynamic at play. This song depicts a man exercising his dominance over his female partner. She no longer loves him and has decided to leave, but as the dominant party in the situation he feels as though it is his right to set the parameters of their relationship. Including, but not limited to, whether or not she can leave him. Rap music and songs like this specifically make way for such misogyny  to thrive.

This begs the question:What will have to be done before our society can see a balance in gender roles??

Sex and Power: male dominance over women

In a conceptual analysis post I looked at a song called “God Made Girls”  by a country singer named Raelynn. When looking at this post I wish I would have added on to this post and so do some of the people who commented on my blog. So I decided to continue go into more depth about this topic through this engaging assignment so I can talk more in depth about the Barber article, Sex and Power.

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i Am unbeatable

Donna Ferrato is a photographer who is well known for her determination to end domestic violence. Her photographs have been published in The New York Times Magazine, Life, Time, USA Today and many other magazines and articles. She tells stories through pictures focused on women who get out of abusive relationships and free of their abuser. She takes photographs that express abusive violence from all perspectives: the victim, the abuser, the audience.

On September 12th, she displayed her first exhibition of her series, “I Am Un-Beatable”, in Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery in Cohen Memorial Hall. “I Am Un-beatable” is a documented photo collection about a girl name Sarah who made it out of an abusive relationship. She met her boyfriend at a very young age. He was 18 and she was 13 when they started dating. He saw how vulnerable she was and used many tactics to make her think he was the one for her. He got her pregnant and made her move in with him and his family. Leaving behind her life, he persuaded her into thinking they will be a happy family. Her fairytale story didn’t turn out to be much of a fairytale. He started mentally, physically, and emotionally abusing her. This isn’t the life she had expected. The moment he broke her jaw was the moment she feared staying with him more than leaving him. She eventually broke free him and moved out on her own with her two kids.

The argument of “I Am Un-Beatable” is that the US needs to stop making domestic violence part of culture. About 25% of women in the US are in an abusive relationships. If kids are involved, 75% of the boys will begin to participate in domestic violence at age 12. These statistics from the exhibition help to show why domestic violence is such a big issue in the US. Females are the easiest target in our society, especially when it comes to sex and getting raped. Donna is trying to empower women to take back their power and stop allowing men get away with hitting them. Male dominance is shown through most her pictures and the males seem to always break all their limits. Males use different tactics into making the female think he loves her. After he has her fooled, it when he changes. The males are violent towards their girlfriends or wives because they feel the need to be a man. The definition of being a man is being in control of what he needs or wants. In most cases, he wants to make sure he has access to sex whenever he wants. Our culture seems to value the male orgasm.

I connected Donna’s photo documentary exhibition to Kristen Barber “Sex and Power” article on heterosexuality and power. Males use sex as a way of having power over many females. Majority of domestic violence is sexually related. The expression of masculine traits such as aggression, power, and violence during sex shapes the meaning of sexuality both for men and women. (45) The female role in sex is to be the submissive and say “yes” to sex. It is all based off what the men desires. When the male doesn’t get what he want, he gets aggressive and very demanding. Sex is viewed as a social power. The male and female get so used to the social constructs society has formed that it becomes part of culture. Females are used to being powerless and males are used to being the aggressor. As a result, many domestic violent situations aren’t reported until it is death threatening because both genders are used to being in these type situation. Females don’t leave their abuser either due to fear, family history or dependency. Women may have less freedom to explore, discover, and play with their own desires and pleasures, but they are not completely powerless. (45) Females need to get back their dignity and demand more control or power.

The Ray Rice situation is a great example of a heterosexual abusive relationship.


As you can see in the video, a heated argument escalated, caused Ray Rice to hit his fiancé. A male hitting a woman is looked down upon in our society. He was knocked his wife unconscious in an elevator as if that is normal. He didn’t call for help or try to see if she was okay. The most ironic part about this situations is that his wife didn’t leave him after being beaten. She asked the public to stop being cruel toward Ray Rice. She isn’t thinking about how embarrassing the video looked, but rather the NFL not cut Ray Rice’s income.

Domestic violence is so common in the US. Sex, power, and relationships may or may not have some correlation between each other. Which sex should control the relationship? Does it matter which sex control the relationship? If the person who is has more control over sex have more power in the relationship? When involved in an abusive relationship, is sex a reason the victim (female) stays in the relationship? After answering these questions, if a male was being sexually abused by a female, would he be considered less of a man, or a “punk”?