“A Simple Joke” | How Propagandistic Media Harms Women, Queers, and Even Men

ნატალია ავალიანი / მედია აპრილი

“I’m drawing a naked woman with one hand, I’m holding it with the other so that she doesn’t run away, who will stay with me?!” — This phrase was intended as a joke and was said by Jimi Abesadze, the anchor of the column, in the Imedi comedy program (night show with Giorgi Gabunia). And the guest of Rustavi 2’s humorous show “Make Them Laugh and Win” made such a “joke” – “Georgian girls sighed with relief when lumbersexuality came into fashion.”

These two phrases may appear on the surface to be a simple joke, but if we dig deeper, we will see that both of them are based on deeply rooted gender ideas:

  • In the first case: there is a direct reference to coercion of a sexual nature, and in this situation the woman is an object over which the man establishes control, and this man himself is a sexually dissatisfied, violent subject.
  • In the second case: once again, the normalized idea that girls’ skin should be smooth and shiny is heard, and the order of this fact is a man whose desire is superior.

We do not overestimate the power of these two age-old joke plots, and we could have considered them completely powerless, but what happens when the most popular, commercially successful television, entertainment-humor programs are constantly spreading the same jokes (or other types of information) that:

  • It is created entirely according to gender stereotypes;
  • It puts the female and queer respondents within the boundaries of the man’s imagination, subjects them to the gaze and takes what is interesting about them, what the man has thought and imagined;
  • Presents queers and women in degrading situations;
  • It mocks traumas and fears familiar to queers and women.

The media is ordered by the people, and therefore the dominant, harmful ideas that are actively spread are based on social norms. As a result, we get a closed circle: this information is consumed again by loyal or new viewers, and over time these dominant ideas are accepted as social norms. According to ethical standards, the media is obliged to fight against harmful stereotypes and not to reinforce them.

We all know that the media plays a crucial role in the formation of public opinion, but when the main thing becomes a well-trodden model that will surely bring ratings, while efforts to spread new ideas, turn the agenda, promote cultural changes, advocate are completely neglected – the media becomes a means to maximize, to prolong the prevailing situation where the man is at the center and we, all the rest, revolve around this center, moreover, we are completely subject to his perception.

Narratives spread by political-social and news programs are actively researched and often analyzed from a gender point of view, so in this article we will pay attention to entertainment-humorous programs, which seem to spread much “softer” information. We saw more than 200 episodes of 8 programs of three of the most commercially successful TV channels (Imedi; Rustavi 2; PosTV), which aired in January-April, and we observed – what information are they broadcasting? Who is spreading it? And what are the assumptions that this information is based on?

What Should We Talk About with Women?

“When the best female football player is awarded, do they give a golden boot or a golden high heel?”; “What is more important for a female soccer player, getting into a good team or getting into a good family?”; “I’m interested in what problems female football players have in general, for example, how do you adapt to the fact that everyone in the team wears the same shirts?”, – this is part of the questions that the host of the night show, Giorgi Gabunia, asked the players of the Georgian women’s football team in that 16-minute segment, as their visit continued. There are eight screenwriters working on the show, all eight are men, and the presenter is in the role of announcing pre-prepared joke questions, and even questions that do not at first glance involve the gender-defined interests of the male screenwriters — for example, “What do you remember about an odd goal?” end up intersecting with gender stereotypes and making women seem like they love to gossip and are superficial, when the presenter is not satisfied with the guest’s answer and says – “I thought you would say that suddenly something happened, a friend texted me, I was sending a reply on the phone, and at that moment, wow, and the goal was scored.”

And after Jimi Abesadze, the host of one of the columns, enters the studio and starts embodying the character of the new coach, the topics not only become diverse, but continue to revolve around the same circle:

“[Coaching the women’s national team] is expensive — make-up, powder, lipstick”; “I may not be able to take you to the finals, but I will take you to a good family and welcome you,” Abesadze says, and the visit continues for a few minutes with jokes about how he was kicked out of the Swedish team because he messed up the dressing room three times on purpose or how he no longer allows girls to “attack” after 12. How he wanted to take the “naked, good woman” who rushed into the stadium from the field himself.

It seems that women in sports are only interesting to the team of this program in relation to men, men’s performances, which is evidenced by two more cases, when in different episodes they first said about athletic girls, it is good to increase the number of women football players, “let’s give a ball instead of an iPhone, friends, it’s cheap “Oh, then they understood the success of trampoline jumpers with the phrase – “A Georgian girl jumps well on a trampoline, but she will never jump over your head”. However, questions, jokes or topics of conversation show how distorted the perception that men have – the perception of women is based on the perception of a lack of mental abilities, limited interests – visuals, boys and football. In addition, the jokes about the Swedish national team and the “woman running into the stadium” reveal that women in general are represented as heroes of erotic fantasies in football.

We read some of the phrases we heard while monitoring the programs of queer-feminist activist and stand-up artist Venero Melua and asked her opinion. According to him, this is what happens when the standard is created by men and created for men.

“Hetero, rich, influential or married men create the standard and what else would they be joking about? This field is dominated by men, like all others. The standard is created by men and created for men. If women, queers, representatives of different social groups are more vocal, we will contribute more to the creation of the standard. But a female comedian has to overcome a lot more. For example, no one would criticize a male comedian for using innocent jokes, but when I joked about men, there was such a reaction that for the first time I was afraid that someone might attack me.”

Observing various programs showed us that, on the one hand, asking questions to the guests, discussing a number of issues is done in accordance with the stereotypes firmly rooted in the society for years, socially accepted gender roles, and, on the other hand, the forms of address, conversational topics are chosen from a man’s perspective.

For example, in the episode of Gia Jajanidze’s “Another Perspective”, in which the talk is about old age, only women are invited guests. The host is especially interested in what is the secret of a woman’s beauty and cannot believe it when the respondent tells him that he does not look closely at himself in the mirror and does not look for new wrinkles. And the female guest who follows a self-care routine according to her expectations is first asked what she does when she has a mask on and her husband enters the room, and another guest who tells about multi-step self-care procedures is suspiciously asked – “When do you cook?” .

Another episode of “Other Perspective” was dedicated to women. Mothers with many children were guests in the program, and the main unifying line was that a woman’s primary duty is motherhood, which was even echoed by one of the respondents when she said that in her opinion, “women who say they can’t [have more children] anymore , they have some other complexes”.

The guests of the episode were only mothers, and you will only hear comments about fathers, including “leads the family”, “takes care of us”, “does what he can”. In the same program, women’s stories are different – “I had planned to continue my studies, but I couldn’t, so I gave birth to 5 children”.

In another advertising episode of the same program, the respondents were taken to one of the Georgian restaurants. Throughout the program, women prepared khinkal and talked about relationships, love, and family. In the program, a successful relationship and culinary skills are intertwined, which is expressed by various funny phrases, which can be summed up like this – “Make a good khinkal and you will be a desirable wife”.

There are also programs that are based on gender stereotypes, for example, the Prime Show Women’s Day episode, one of the hosts of which, Noe, addresses the audience at the beginning: “What is better, nicer and more beautiful than a program dedicated to beautiful ladies – our mothers, friends , family members”.

If you just listen to the topic of the show, you might think that women will be given space to talk about stereotypes and maybe even learn about solutions or necessity, but that’s not the case — the conversation is mostly limited to talking about beauty standards, when:

The host of the program, Salome Ghviniashvili, answered the respondent, who is talking about perceptions related to thinness: “Everyone is envious of you, believe me, it is the dream of every woman to eat and not get fat, we agree on that”.

The invited guest, plastic surgeon Tsitsino Shurgaia, will say that women come to her when the clothes they like no longer suit their faces.

Another host of the program, Nino Nadiradze, will reply to the guest who says that it is difficult for her not to spend time with her children – “I regret every minute when I was not with my children, you will remember.” Noe Sulaberidze will try to correct the situation and says that there are mothers who have no other choice because they are the only breadwinner of the family.

In all these cases, the presenter, who, when spreading harmful phrases, should at least take the responsibility to inform the audience about stereotypical attitudes or to dissociate themselves, becomes a spreader. In the program dedicated to stereotypes of the prime show, the presenters and guests name thinness as the dream of every woman and present us as the best situation for a woman at home with children, who is chosen by another (man), and indirectly it also applies to how a woman who does not look “young” should dress.

Different shows, separately and collectively, sin when they first impose unimaginable beauty standards on women, then tell us that ” there are no ugly women, there are lazy ones” [Prime Show, topic: stereotypes]. In another program, the secrets of female beauty are submissiveness, non-conflictuality, and kindness, and singer Nino Chkheidze tells us that she uses the methods that all women use for self-care – “mesotherapy” [another perspective]. Entertainment programs are united by the idea that the most important thing that is required of a woman is tenderness, beauty, flawless performance of the role of a mother, and when the experience of a guest woman shows endurance, perseverance, Nino Nadiradze answers – “Bravo to your bravery”. Nino Nadiradze also says in one of the episodes of the prime show that “behind a successful man there is always a strong and smart woman” – this is either a hint that men cannot achieve success on their own, or a reminder of the role of a woman, who should strengthen a man, meet him and To sacrifice one’s own career goals.

Violence as a Funny Memory and Anecdote

“Mikho suspects that Maro is cheating, he can’t prove it, he doesn’t know it as a fact, and he’s annoyed. He came, boy, home and tells Maro, bring me food. She brought him, boy, fried separately, boiled separately, dessert separately, compote separately, tea – everything, he can’t tell her anything. He ate, drank, well, now wine, he brought two kinds. Mikho, don’t you want vodka, she says. No, he said, she poured wine, something. Now dance – this Maro turned on the music, dances things like Kim Basinger, throws everything here and there. Mikho is in shock, he can’t come up with anything. Sing it now, wow, it started, it started, and like Whitney Houston, E Maro screams, 3 vocals go through the neighboring village. What to do, what to do and now bark. This Maro came and barked [imitation of barking], Mikho goes and slaps her, don’t you recognize the owner, *uck you” – this is an anecdote told by a guest of the “Anecdote Show”. The joke was met with hearty laughter from the men gathered in the studio. The anecdote is entirely based on a case of violence against a woman, culminating in a physical attack.

In this program, one can say, such jokes have become the norm — among them, issues related to sexual violence are discussed. And the audience often receives light information unfiltered, not thinking about harmful subtexts:

So, for example, the guest told an anecdote about “Gaishnik”, whose son “will be seduced or raped by a boy” – the wording of the sexual crime, rape, loses its weight in this way and implies the active involvement of the woman, a kind of consent – “mistake”.

In another episode of the same program, a rape case was once again joked about – this time the victim’s testimony in the courtroom and the difficulty of recounting the incident of violence became a reason for laughter. But not only that — sexual violence continued in the animal world as well. In one of the episodes, the guest followed how the fox was raped by the wolf twenty times a day. The guest uses the words – “takes him completely, with everything”; “Wherever he catches me, he has me, I want to get married and I’m loose, I’m good for nothing.” The culmination of the anecdote is that the lion gives the wolf the right to abuse three times a week and tells him to be satisfied with that, and the fox, who was “charged with accounting”, regrets it. In one of the episodes of the same program, you will hear an anecdote about friends from Samegrelo and Kakheti, one of whom rapes the other in his sleep.

“Kakheli will come to Megreli. That evening they have a good time, they go to sleep, the morning dawns and Megreli tells Kakhel that it is zero to one. What zero to one? When you were sleeping yesterday, I got mistaken. Kakheli got mad, no, he let it go it and left. Then he invited him to Kakheti, it’s the same story, and in the morning Kakheli told him, one by one. What is one thing? When you went to sleep [makes body movements characteristic of sexual intercourse]. I lied to you, man, then it is one is zero.”

Along with jokes and jokes related to rape in the “Anecdote Show”, laughing about sexual harassment is also quite common – for example, you will hear a joke about a guy lying in a train compartment, who will write on a piece of paper to an unknown woman on the bottom bed that if he wants to have sex with her, he should pull her down once, and if not – at least ten times.

Anecdotes that present particularly serious cases of violence in a humorous context are fictional, but you will also hear real stories in entertainment programs. We have to mention Givi Sikharulidze, who, while visiting a comedy show, told how he raped an intoxicated woman while he was drunk.

“I turned towards Okrokana in the meadow, jumped out of the car, I went, opened it, it also fell out and hit me in the lips, I see that I can no longer feel my lip, it’s bleeding, it turns out that my lip was eaten”, – the story continues with the fact that a woman who was in a concentration camp in the past suffered from post-traumatic stress The episode started and Givi Sikharulidze thought he was a fascist. In the same story, Givi Sikharulidze also said that he had brought a woman to Vakhtang Chabukian as a guest, which he would not have done if he had been accompanied by a man [here once again Givi Sikharulidze’s idea of ​​gay people, whom he labels as sexually unsatisfied, is echoed]. If we look at the past of this respondent, we will see that he has spoken openly about sexual violence before. For example, 5 years ago in “Lie Detector”, his friend told how the man sitting behind the wheel told a passing woman that he was going to say something in her ear:

“When the lady put her head out, Givi raised the window of the car and stuck her head, the rest remained outside. A respectable man came out and paid respect to the lady”, – in response to the information, the presenter, Giorgi Gasviani, asked the question – “Wasn’t this violence?”, to which Sikharulidze replied that “if the woman doesn’t want to, you can’t do anything”.

Later, Giorgi Gasviani made an explanation to Netgazeti and noted that as a presenter, he cannot be in the role of a punisher and should limit himself to evaluation, however, in this particular case, the conversation made him realize that “it is not about violence, but about their specific, intimate relationships, some kind of fetish”.

At the same time, many jokes in “Make Them Laugh and Win” were about physical violence against women, and one of them was repeated twice with different wording – “The anesthesiologist’s wife still doesn’t know that her husband beats her”. It was similar to the joke about the electrician’s wife who “says that if she hits you, she loves you.”

The team that works on these programs has a great opportunity to respond to a possible incident of violence in a particular episode. Especially in cases where there is no live broadcast. A sexual experience must be based on mutual (multilateral) informed consent, which the guest may not be aware of, so when the controversial episode airs, the onus is on the host to explain this to the audience. If the program is expository and the dissemination of a particular story is important, there should also be a warning accompanying it, in which it will be said that we will have to listen to talk about possible violence. By detailing incidents of abuse or potential abuse, we risk re-traumatizing viewers who have had similar experiences.

The musical numbers that are broadcasted on various programs are also in the service of spreading gender stereotypes or justifying the control of men over women. For example, Jimi Abesadze sings: “Woman, woman, when did you have to learn so much, you were at home when I needed you, and in another episode of the program, the presenters and musicians jointly “teach” us ways to resolve family conflicts: ” If you don’t want arguments and fights, you don’t want a bag , perfume, club, stay at home, drink beer, if you trust me, it’s not bad”.

If we return to the jokes show, at the beginning of the program, Givi Sikharulidze, to whom the host explains that he must “touch the tablet” and thus be able to choose the joke category, says: “What do I know, man, now it’s not about touching, but about looking at a woman, and here you can touch?!”. Amendments regarding stalking, as well as sexual harassment, were introduced into the Georgian legislation a few years ago, and this amendment, which protects citizens from men like him, has been implemented by the perpetrator.

According to journalist Ninia Kakabadze, all TV stations are guilty because they recklessly follow ready-made models that deserve a response from the audience.

“Any person who is not a white, heterosexual, Georgian, Orthodox man looks funny in comedy shows. This is the biggest harm that happens in this type of shows. Topics like oppression, rights of vulnerable groups become a reason for laughter. Ugly stereotypes are further reinforced by these entertainment shows. The media does not realize that they are the ones who can destroy these stereotypes. But no, if most people laugh at a joke about beating a woman, they prefer to take this ready-made model and make society laugh like that.”

The above-mentioned “jokes” are placed in a single space – in all of them we can read the signs of control, as well as sex as a method of punishment. It’s all wrapped up as a joke and it is said by men. This is when, according to research, half of the women living in Georgia have experienced at least one form of violence, and the perpetrator was in most cases a man. Last year’s report of the Public Defender shows that one woman was killed or attempted to be killed a week.

In addition, often the violent men who are the characters of the joke are from different regions, and this is already an indication of how the hierarchy is distributed — the center perceives men living in the regions as wild, violent, while in general men see women as objects of obedience, targets of violence. At the highest level of the hierarchy, there is a Georgian man living in the center, who determines what is funny and who is to be laughed at. Then men (mostly) from any region of the country write, laugh and rejoice in this standard.

According to Venero, jokes can be made even on particularly sensitive topics, because humor has a healing function and can ease pain, traumatic experiences, although more caution is needed at this time.

“Humor should not cause worry, it can cause embarrassment, make you laugh, make you think, but if you hear it and worry, then the mission of the joke has not been fulfilled. A humorist writes or tells a joke, chooses a climax, at this point he should ask the question, what is my goal, what did I want to say. Here, when you tell that Mikho made Maro bark and then hit her, you should think about what you want to achieve with this joke. When we listen, we should also think about what was the purpose of the joke or what does it say about a person when he tells us how he fell on the lips of a drunk woman. In Georgia, if you dare to sit on the television and tell such a joke, and you know that the society will not demand an answer from you, it is the society’s fault. Pedophilia, rape, beating of women and children have been normalized in our society for years and, in some cases, to this day, the mood in the society makes it possible to voice it in the media and in this way the issue is further normalized. It is a closed circle, the possibility to get out of it is to create an order from society”.

In 2021, researcher Galinda Merino studied 140 humorous narratives that 7-8-year-old boys and girls recited at school. According to the study, boys revealed aggression and control, while stories told by girls focused more on feelings of embarrassment. Perhaps the result shown in the study is due to the fact that parents raise boys and girls differently – boys are more likely to be taught that they are leaders, superior, and have the right to control the situation and environment, while girls are more accustomed to tenderness and obedience, which leads to a feeling of discomfort later on. In this process, the media also has a big role, which helps boys and girls, later as parents and/or citizens, to see themselves from different angles, to develop different personal characteristics, and to subordinate the people around them to their own wishes and control, or on the contrary, to become obedient.

Queerness as “Funny” and Ridiculed

heckin unicorn

Imagine that you are a viewer who only watches government propaganda channels, not using other sources of information. What you’ll hear and see is a constant attempt to demonize queer people and the movement in news and political-social programming, using propaganda methods to drive home the need for homophobic legislation, and on the other side, entertainment programs where hetero (at least that’s their public positioning) men laugh at visual self-expression, on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Stereotypes and societal perceptions of queer people are often created or reinforced by the media. For years, it has been considered the norm for invited guests to fight in various talk show programs, to present confrontations with each other as a spectacle, or to exoticize queer experiences and bodies, to present them erotically, and to completely overshadow the topics of conversation with sexualization. If in previous years you could see queer people as guests in various programs of official channels (often, ignoring ethical standards) or even as presenters, recently queer representation has almost completely disappeared. Now queerness remains only in the form of toothless jokes.

Elton John is especially “popular gay” in the programs studied. Jokes related to Elton John’s sexual orientation were heard more than once in the programs watched in the January-April period. Jimi Abesadze, host of the night show column with Giorgi Gabunia, says that his successful career is thanks to Elton John, although he cannot say – “where can I say, Elton John was behind my success”.

“Elton John likes it when someone fu*s with him”; “The thief got stuck in Elton John’s house, with his head outside, his body inside, how can he sneak in… his mouth is pointing at the stone”, – and these jokes are already from Rustavi 2’s “Make Them Laugh and Win” program. Elton John, as the collective face of gay men, is equated only with sex, and sexual violence is also implied.

In relation to coercion, we should consider the joke about transition mentioned in the PosTV program Niko’s show:

The presenter of the column addresses the guest, Nana Tsintsadze: “You said that you don’t like it when they address you as Mrs. So should I address you as Mr.?”

Nana Tsintsadze: “By the way things went today, are you planning to perform an operation on me? I am already saying something that my case has gone in a difficult direction and I will resist”.

The host’s comment: “I will resist with you.”

Spreading information about forced transition as a joke and announcing this non-existent fact as a modern “trend” is especially noteworthy considering that the homophobic law of the Georgian Dream completely restricts the transition of trans people. In order to convince of the necessity of adopting this law, the socio-political programs of the propaganda channels are actively spreading stories as if the transition has many victims who made a mistake and finally decided to de-transition.

It should be said here that the number of people who make the decision to de-transition is very small, it does not even reach 4%, and there are many reasons for this, including the lack of support and the difficulty of dealing with the transition process alone.

Speaking of trends, it should also be said that Givi Sikharulidze, who was a guest in the comedy show of Rustavi 2, said to her friend, Gia Faradashvili, “Now it’s fashionable to be a pederast,” to which he replied, ” Why [say that about me] when I’m wearing yellow?!” “.

In fact, the number of people who dare to talk about their sexual orientation or, thanks to the increase in social acceptance, are better able to self-identify is increasing. To claim, jokingly or seriously, that queerness has become a fashion and is therefore on the rise is a harm that people are deliberately led to believe.

The humiliating, belittling phrase uttered by the guest of the program and the widespread stereotype about the connection between sexual orientation and visual self-expression were not cut out during editing, and were not even corrected by the host. The homophobic sentiments of Givi Sikharulidze did not end there – the hero of one of the jokes, who “gently” passes through the traffic lights, was referred to by a homophobic guest as “ass-licker” – this is another example of stereotypes related to human self-expression and sexual orientation, which were echoed in the program.

In another episode of the same program, a joke about a pair of gay bears was recalled, about whose relationship the fish finds out and at the end of the joke addresses the bears – “I have no contact with people like you”. Another episode featured two different versions of the same joke, both related to visual self-expression:

  • “I have already turned 18, the son says to his father, it’s time to let me wear a bra, and the father says, you boy, you are not alright”;
  • “It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 38, I don’t want to see you wearing a skirt from tomorrow, boy.”

In the comment made by the presenter of “Lie Detector”, Giorgi Gasviani, the sentiment about freedom of expression is also read, that “loss of manhood is a trend today”:

Guest: “Especially, a good man is hard to find today.”

Presenter: “Unfortunately, this terrible side of freedom of expression has covered it.”

It should be noted that the topic chosen by the guest had nothing to do with freedom of expression, it was just that the host decided (or was installed that way) to link the assessment of modern men with freedom of expression.

It seems that Givi Sikharulidze is the popular hero who is often mentioned as an ideal of manhood with a perfect penis during jokes in various programs. “Make Them Laugh and Win” said the following joke:

“If you want to lose your virginity, trust Givi Sikharulidze, if you don’t want to lose it – Gia Jajanidze”, this is one of the examples when Gia Jajanidze, due to her visual expression or other reasons, became an object of ridicule. Many times mocking comments about his colorful clothes were heard in various programs.

Objectifying, Shaming and Stereotyping

4-year-old respondent (boy): “Making Khinkali is not a man’s job.”

Host (Giorgi Gabunia): “Oh, bless you!”

This is one of the many examples when we see on the screen that the participation of children in this common space of gender stereotypes is a common occurrence. Moreover, children deserve praise when they conform to entrenched beliefs. Another sad trend, in which “Big Kids Show” and other programs are also guilty, is discussing their private lives in public. For example, a 6-7-year-old child is asked questions about former girlfriends or current love, who has forgotten about old relationships. Instead of giving young children the space for self-determination, their personal lives are being discussed. Seeing children’s romantic relationships from an angle and emphasizing them in the media can be harmful to them.

Against this background, it is perhaps not surprising that the objectification of women is a frequent story in the Georgian media. Of particular note is the prime show, where the camera is interested in the woman’s breasts — the main focus of the dance, the close focus is on the breasts or hips. In the comments of the materials already distributed on social networks, you will find insults due to “excessive nudity” or evaluations made on the “femininity” of these participants.

Presenting women as objects of sexual desire, their sexualization is common for other programs as well. For example, in “Make Them Laugh and Win” you will come across many such jokes: “They say that Salome Kapanadze caught a gold fish earlier, but they don’t understand what she spent her third wish on”; ” A very big-breasted girl doesn’t even send CV anymore, one interview and she’s hired, both”; “Miss Russia yawned by chance and everyone understood how she became Miss Russia”.

Another case, which was voiced by Jimi Abesadze, emphasizes both the idea of ​​women’s lack of rights and is a classic example of understanding – “Maybe this girl like an angel would not be my partner today, but what kind of cards was I getting, Levanika, you know? I had a total of two jokers in my hand.”

Beauty standards and limits of femininity are set, and at the same time, even those who, according to the joke author, do not fit into this framework become an object of ridicule. For example, in a joke about Khatia Tsereteli, it is said that once she forgot to apply makeup and people broke up before singing, and the second joke is like this – “Miss Kharagauli got Mr. Kharagauli drunk.” Perhaps, it is easy to understand that this joke does not concern the drinking skills of Kharagauli men and is an attempt to degrade the women living in the region (in this case, Kharagauli).

If in the case of women, they use the breast as a tool of objectifying, in the case of men, the size of the penis fits the same function, and in this part too, the many-time “hero” of this article, Givi Sikharulidze stands out:

Gia Faradashvili: You should see it with focus.

Givi: Not even with the focus, you can’t show us, you’re so big [points to the smallness of the size with his fingers].

Another anecdote, which contains a directly harmful stereotype towards men, was also heard in the anecdote show: after the death of his wife, Mikho’s friends reassure him that time will pass, and Mikho asks the question – “Yes, but who should I fu*k tonight?”. With such a joke, on the one hand, a stereotype is spread about the sexual dissatisfaction of a man and he is seen as nothing more than a sex addict, without feelings, and on the other hand, a woman is presented as an object of sexual desire only.

Surprisingly, there were no jokes about driving ability in the programs studied during this period. There was only one, according to which the girl parked the car correctly and then flew to her planet.

As for women politicians, nothing much has been said about this either. During the research period, we saw a total of two such cases in the programs, one of which Givi Sikharulidze followed again and again and tried to embarrass an unidentified female politician with sex: ” This happened to me, a female politician, whom we all know, so I pulled out my cards from here [puts his hand on the groin area]. I told him that the all d*cks you have seen, you should have pulled it out from there. In the second case, Giorgi Gabunia responded to Khatia Dekanoidze’s phrase that we should not trust those who use “ladies” in the third person when talking about equality. Giorgi Gabunia used the word “diatsi” in response to Khatia Dekanoidze. A joke mentioned in one of the episodes of “Make them Make Them Laugh and Win” served to degrade the sexually active woman – “Tako were called Jeka, because those who feed them in the club, then followed her home.”

In different episodes of “Make Them Laugh and Win” there were other jokes that should be mentioned. Among them, the first repeatedly presents women as a man’s property — ” a wedding is a public celebration of the confiscation of private property,” and the second joke refers to the widespread “necessity” for a girl to know how to cook before marriage, because “it doesn’t matter who [they marry].” He will definitely be hungry.” The same reservations are taken into account by the couplet of the song performed in Giorgi Gabunia’s night show, although in this case the female character sings about her own expectations: “how many apartments she had, she probably earns a lot of money, in a month or two I will bake khachapuri in this kitchen”.

In addition, it should be said that the presenters and guests of various programs are jointly involved in the efforts to “marry” those men and women who, in their opinion, should have gotten married by now, but were “late”. Boris Bedia and Anri Jokhadze are especially popular in this regard, who are constantly repeating that it is time to get a wife. Such cases are another illustration of the fact that in television shows, topics are defined according to established gender concepts and family formation is considered as one of the necessary constituent parts of social inclusion and maturity, while in this process the individual’s personal choice and desire is completely neglected.

And what should be the dynamics of relations in family relations, the participants of the prime show “teach” us. The main focus of several episodes of the program was the personality characteristics of the contestants, husband and wife, and their inconsistency with the accepted family hierarchy – first, there was an active discussion that people refer to them collectively by the wife’s surname, followed by conversations about the wife not leaving her husband to talk, being dominant in the relationship and the husband Has complexes. The couple denied the accusation, but the participants stubbornly continued to talk about the same topic. The program, which takes many hours of home news, decided that a show could be made with family relations, damaging conversations about hierarchy.

The show is completely reliant on fan engagement, with controversial topics favored by the contestants often being dictated by the audience’s reaction to specific phrases played on the show. Active discussion of the program on various social networks was followed by the current discussion on family hierarchy – it was written that “the husband is the wife, the wife is the husband”, insulting words were used against the husband, his identity as a man was belittled, and the wife, on the contrary, resented the fact that she “jumps on her husband’s head”. . In response, discussion of the topic and defamation continued until the narrative exhausted itself and the audience moved on to other topics.

What Should I do When I Hear and See Things that I Consider Harmful?

“Criticism has not become our habit, and saying that you don’t like something that people have taken as a norm is not appropriate. Or we express disdain, but do not resort to criticism. This criticism also helps the artist who considers the feedback and thinks, “Why is this happening? Why do they criticize me?”. When you have other social challenges, there may be no more space to be open-minded, but we have to realize that there are sexists and homophobes in all of us, and the main thing is to understand that,” says Venero, adding that diversity in humor, the appearance of new comedians, Occupying public space will change the culture — “ The stand-up culture has a lot of customers among the youth, where telling a joke like this will result in no one listening. However, this stand-up scene is not at all politically correct, we say a lot of things that may earn us a “boo”, but harmful material is less forgiven to young comedians, which is not the case on television.”

And Nina tells us that the solution is to increase the audience, change the order and realize what violates and damages human rights and what does not.

“When you watch a television product and have the skills to identify what is ethical and what is not; When human rights are violated, having a position on it, expressing an opinion is the solution. Changing the order will change the approach of employees in television stations. Criticism, expressing dissatisfaction clearly is important. We have moved forward, we have grown, but we have a lot to do. The media, when they see that their actions are followed by anger and their ratings are damaged, will change their approach. Ethical journalism and ratings are not in conflict with each other, you can prepare a quality product and make it available to the masses. It’s not the media’s business to just display simple, palm-sized incompetence on the screen.”

The growth of viewership and consequent change in order is a long way, but if you hear or see a scene in a program that you think is gender harmful or queerphobic, you can still take action. To deal with such examples, the media should have a self-regulatory mechanism. Authorized TV and radio broadcasters are obliged to do so by law.

According to the code of conduct of broadcasters, they are obliged to create an effective mechanism of self-regulation, which ensures consideration of complaints and a timely, justified response to them, and any interested person can apply for it, although they have 10 days after the information is disseminated to do so. According to the Code, an interested party is any person concerned or mentioned in a program or in a decision of the Broadcasting Self-Regulatory Authority. After review, if a violation is found, the broadcaster must reject the information in a proportionate manner and form — that is, the correction must be of the same length as the original material and aired around the same time as the original statement was published. The mentioned reservations do not apply to information that refers to an indefinite group of persons or the complainant is not unambiguously identified in the application, although a number of cases that refer to a specific person or group of persons may be appealed. If you believe that you have seen a harmful program on television, you can search for contact information on the website of the television stations and apply.

It seems that self-regulation tools are not actively used, which must be due to the lack of information about them. If we look at the websites of different television stations, we will see that:

  • PosTV has no information on self-regulation at all;
  • Only one decision is being searched on the Imedi website, which is from 2021;
  • 4 decisions are being searched on the website of Rustavi 2, all from 2019;
  • There are 4 decisions on the website of the Formula, in 2020, 2022, 2023 and 2024;
  • One decision is available on the Mtavari website, dated 2020;
  • Self-regulation of TV Pirveli has taken much more, 11 decisions.

Some of the broadcaster websites do not provide clear information about the appeal mechanisms, so if you believe that harmful information has been spread and you are an interested party, you can fill out this simple form on the Media Development Fund website. The Media Development Fund will assist you in preparing a complaint.

In addition, you can refer to the Charter of Journalistic Ethics of Georgia. The 7th principle of the Ethics Charter is fully in line with the issues mentioned in the article: “A journalist should understand the danger of encouraging discrimination by the media; Therefore, every effort should be made to prevent discrimination against any person on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin or any other reason”.

Unlike the broadcaster’s internal self-regulation, anyone can apply for the charter, regardless of whether they are mentioned in the material or not. You can apply for the ethics charter within one month from the publication of the material, for which you have to fill out a simple form. If the journalist who violated the principles is a signatory of the charter, the appeal period is 2 months.