A game show that puts women in front of a panel of guys so they can look her over and declare her "fat or pregnant" deserves to sit pretty high on the Internet's growing list of epically bad ideas. But there may be something that deserves equal billing on said list: the way officials at KRO-NCRV, the Dutch TV channel airing Neem Je Zwemspullen Mee (which roughly translates to "Bring Your Bathing Suit" in English), are defending their decision to air the segment.
The execs at the TV channel claim the segment is "satirical" and "a way to laugh off all kinds of prejudices" -- despite a petition to have the program yanked from the air.
Ah yes, the age old: Hey, ladies, can't you just take a joke?
More from CafeMom: Ivanka Trump: Your Dad Works for You, So Speak TF Up
We can't, nor should we have to accept "I'm joking" in the face of bad behavior, despite centuries of people attempting to get out of trouble by claiming their intentions were comedic.
We see it all the time: The guy at the office asks if you're on the rag, and when you threaten to call HR, he claims it was a joke. A bunch of white college kids sport blackface and claim they're not racist, they're kidding!
Comedy can be used to take a deeper look at dark issues in society, but it takes skill to do so deftly and reverently, to truly move the conversation forward. There's no skill involved in placing women in the center of a room and treating them like pieces of meat, judging their worth based on appearance for laughs.
More from CafeMom: Kendall Jenner's Short-Lived Pepsi Ad Made Her a Savior We Never Needed
A segment like this isn't just in bad taste. It's cruel, and it's dangerous in a world where eating disorders quite literally take lives. It's also sexist. Can't imagine seeing a show that puts a man in the center of a bunch of women who get to judge the size of his package (or his beer gut) getting the green light? It wouldn't be. It shouldn't be. But then, this show shouldn't have been green-lit either.
Casting this as satire and continuing with similar segments (they've also aired one that featured contestants judging whether a woman's breasts were real) makes it clear the creators are not taking seriously the damaging effects their show could have on countless people (women and men both) in the viewing audience or on the show itself. Their pat "it's satire" response is nothing more than a brush-off, an "oops, we got caught, let's see how we can make ourselves look less sh-tty," rather than a true acknowledgement of the feelings of the aggrieved parties and consideration of the facts at hand.
More from CafeMom: Target's New Swimsuit Campaign Proves Unretouched Bodies Are Flawless
Until people stop hiding behind "it's a joke" every time they do something stupid, society will remain stuck in this gray area where it's okay to judge a woman based on the size of her stomach, and when she complains, she's cast as humorless for not "taking the joke."