NCBI ROFL: [Insert sexist joke here].

By ncbi rofl | September 1, 2010 7:00 pm

4926372666_a5eab7db38_zMore than “just a joke”: the prejudice-releasing function of sexist humor.

“The results of two experiments supported the hypothesis that, for sexist men, exposure to sexist humor can promote the behavioral release of prejudice against women. Experiment 1 demonstrated that hostile sexism predicted the amount of money participants were willing to donate to a women’s organization after reading sexist jokes but not after reading nonhumorous sexist statements or neutral jokes. Experiment 2 showed that hostile sexism predicted the amount of money participants cut from the budget of a women’s organization relative to four other student organizations upon exposure to sexist comedy skits but not neutral comedy skits. A perceived local norm of approval of funding cuts for the women’s organization mediated the relationship between hostile sexism and discrimination against the women’s organization.”

Bonus excerpt from the materials and methods:
“Participants in the sexist joke condition then read one neutral joke followed by four sexist jokes. The sexist jokes required the recipient to know various female stereotypes or gender role stereotypes to “get” the punch lines (e.g., “How can you tell if a blonde’s been using the computer? There’s White-Out on the screen!” and “A man and a woman were stranded in an elevator and they knew they were gonna die. The woman turns to the man and says, ‘Make me feel like a woman before I die.’ So he takes off his clothes and says, ‘Fold them!’”). Participants in the neutral joke condition read five neutral (nonsexist) jokes (e.g., “What’s the difference between a golfer and a skydiver? A golfer goes whack . . . ‘Damn!’ A skydiver goes ‘Damn!’ . . . whack”). Pretest ratings indicated that participants perceived the sexist jokes as more sexist but equally as funny as the neutral jokes (see Ford, 2000).”


Photo: flickr/dickobrien

Related content:
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: [Insert joke about women drivers here].
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: [Insert oral sex joke here].
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Humor and death: a qualitative study of The New Yorker cartoons (1986-2006).

WTF is NCBI ROFL? Read our FAQ!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: analysis taken too far, NCBI ROFL
  • Rhacodactylus

    It’s not really that surprising, a clever joke will change more minds than a clever slogan. They just resonate as truth to us for some reason, no matter how ludicrous they might be.

  • Idlewilde

    Whack..damn. Damn…whack. lol. But I think, in the skydiver’s case, a prolonged ”f*ck” would be more appropriate….

  • Joanna Cake

    But is it the clever jokes or is it just an insidious drip of anti-female propaganda that fuels some subconscious desire to keep women down? I’ll get off my feminist soapbox now 😛


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About ncbi rofl

NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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