A quote in bold print in Resource 13 about quiet ‘ladies’ – cows – caused quite a racket. Professor Bettina Bock understands the commotion. ‘You have to remember that a joke like that is rarely harmless.’
Professor Bettina Bock. © Stijn Rademaker / Hollandse Hoogte
‘It can be quite nice to be surrounded by 28 ladies who don’t talk back.’ This quote was published in the Resource of 7 March in an interview with a student who wants to become a farmer. The seemingly innocent joke, which was placed in large print, led to quite a few complaints and discussion.
Resource spoke with Bettina Bock, professor of Inclusive Rural Development with a particular interest in gender and diversity, and asked her whether it was sexist to print the quote (in oversized lettering). ‘People don’t like being address regarding sexism’, Bock says. ‘But you don’t have to be a sexist person to reproduce and reinforce a sexist stereotype.’