Home > gender discrimination, sexism, sexist humour > Sexist humour, not funny? Oh…really?

Sexist humour, not funny? Oh…really?

This is the most DUH thing ever, but at least there’s some “validity” about this now, even though there should have been enough before, based on how society works.

A research project led by a Western Carolina University psychology professor indicates that jokes about blondes and women drivers are not just harmless fun and games; instead, exposure to sexist humor can lead to toleration of hostile feelings and discrimination against women.

Well of course it leads to hostile feelings and discrimination against women! When you hear something so often, you just start believing it. I am even guilty of this, so just imagine how a man would take these things!

“Sexist humor is not simply benign amusement. It can affect men’s perceptions of their immediate social surroundings and allow them to feel comfortable with behavioral expressions of sexism without the fear of disapproval of their peers,” said Thomas E. Ford, a new faculty member in the psychology department at WCU. “Specifically, we propose that sexist humor acts as a ‘releaser’ of prejudice.”

“Our research demonstrates that exposure to sexist humor can create conditions that allow men – especially those who have antagonistic attitudes toward women – to express those attitudes in their behavior,” he said. “The acceptance of sexist humor leads men to believe that sexist behavior falls within the bounds of social acceptability.”

I definitely believe this all to be true. I think we can all say that we’ve been in situations where men have said extremely sexist things and don’t even realize it, because they ultimately think that it’s socially acceptable; however, externally, they just put it off as completely humourous and say they don’t believe all that…but now we know what’s really going on!

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  1. Anonymous
    January 13, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    It’s funny that the above ignores the inverse situation, dumb Man jokes or even worse, racist jokes … it is no secret that ALL humor has some basis in reality or prejudice … But stating the obvious while saying nothing at all seems to be par for the course here …

  2. rebecca
    January 31, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Dumb man jokes are not funny either. However, men have not historically been subject to pay discrimination, rape, have not been the victims of domestic violence and and are generally not the object of sexual harassment. So I think there is a point made here.

    There is this deliberate blindness that amazes me, even in some of my closest friends, when it comes to admitting that sexist attitudes are doing violence to women and the self-image of girls. It has been my experience with a few of my male friends that they are much, much more sensitized to racism than to sexism. Often I come across an out and out willingness to enjoy images that are demeaning and even violent toward women without batting an eyelash, so to speak. Whereas if you put a racial image in front of them, they will have a basic education on what that signifies.

  3. Sarah
    January 28, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Rebecca – too true, I agree.

    Women are perpetually taken for granted and demeaned and I don’t see how judging someone for not having a penis is any different for judging the colour of one’s skin. Too many sexist men lump women altogether like they are exactly the same.

    Take the Presidential race – when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were running for the democratic seat – my dad could not stop heralding the fact that a black man was running for office. When I proposed that also a woman was, he just smiled.

    I cannot stand the attitudes of so many sexist men that I know that it makes me want to become a radical feminist!

    No more, “ohh, I care about men and women the same”. Men like this need to be punished!

    LOL!

    Good men need to be celebrated 😀

  4. August 17, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Yes! I saw a movie the other day, a comedy made by funny people that was mostly very funny, but what kind of got to me was the running joke that one of the (male) characters acted like a woman, and this was clearly the worst insult they could come up with. I don’t like that this is an insult.

    These jokes aren’t new and I usually brush them off pretty quickly, but in this movie they just went on and on. And watching it, I did think that if this is mainstream comedy, then for a lot of people it’s mainstream attitude. It made me feel a little sickish.

    I actually do hate dumb man jokes too. I think they detract from any kind of productive feminist discussion by saying, “Look, see, we think women are smarter than men. So shut up already.” For one thing, I find this very patronizing that anyone thinks we would fall for this. And for another, bringing one group up by putting another one down doesn’t help anything.

  5. hurrah
    December 30, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Sexist, blonde, dumb man, racist, etc. jokes can be funny. Sexist, blonde, dumb man, racist, etc. jokes can be unfunny.

  6. Me
    March 13, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    I am a student at Western and believe it or not, this dude was awarded a $300,000 grant to write this study. But tuition continues to rise and staff haven’t received a pay raise in over four years. And street harassment is out of control. WHAT A JOKE.

  1. February 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm

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