Sunday, November 11

Study: Sexist Humor Is No Joke.....

Jokes about female drivers and dumb blondes may be told in good fun, but they can promote discrimination against women, researchers say.

Hmmmmm....Could It be the Conservatives tell too many sexist jokes??

Researchers found: "..... that, upon exposure to sexist humor, men higher in sexism discriminated against women by allocating larger funding cuts to a women’s organization than they did to other organizations," Ford said.

"We also found that, in the presence of sexist humor, participants believed the other participants would approve of the funding cuts to women’s organizations," he said. "We believe this shows that humorous disparagement creates the perception of a shared standard of tolerance of discrimination that may guide behavior when people believe others feel the same way."

LINK: LiveScience
LINK: Women Enjoy Humor More, Study Suggests
LINK: Study: Humor Makes Us Hopeful

Feminist reactions to sexist email jokes:

  • First, the feminist reader may simply critically reject these jokes – for example, by deleting them and/or asking the person who forwarded them not to do so again.
  • Secondly, she may engage in ‘resistant reading’: she may recognize and negatively evaluate the sexist discourse, thus resist and contest the jokes’ presuppositions, but continue to read, analytically. She may position herself as an ‘overhearer’ of a text addressed to men, in order to resist interpellation through identifying with a subject position of ‘men’, or of ‘women’.
  • Thirdly, she may critically enjoy the text. For example, as suggested above, she may co-construct the text’s ironic potential, ‘double discourse’ the text, and take critical intellectual pleasure in that. “Jokes at the expense of others can also intersect in complex ways with those at one’s own expense” holds very true. But if this is the case, then we can also see the jokes as being (at least in part) not about women at all, but rather about the writers and (male) consumers of the jokes – suggesting a fourth reading.
  • This fourth reading is to ‘reclaim’ the jokes, from a feminist perspective. Cognitively more complex, but perhaps ultimately more satisfying, is to ‘refocalise’ (ironicise?) the jokes for ourselves and take the woman’s perspective, moving the ‘object’ of the joke (women) to subject position and make the original focalisers, men, the object.

This allows us to see humour in the fact that these tired old stereotypes are still in circulation and that some people still enjoy them: “Nice spoofs – but how silly these jokes and their producers and the consumers who unthinkingly find their presuppositions funny are!”

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