On Saturday I presented a poster with my research about Sexism in Humor. The experience was wonderful and the conference was empowering. To be surrounding by people who are working towards and believe in similar things as you do…
My poster board presentation outlined examples of sexist jokes, key components, the effects they have and what to do about them. Under the effects I wrote a small blurb:
Sexist humor demeans, insults, stereotypes, victimizes and objectifies women based on their gender. We see sexist humor in the media, at the workplace and in social interactions.
“It’s only a joke,” is a comment most likely heard after a sexist joke has been told and “This may be sexist, but…” is a signal that the coming remark should be taken as humor.
In a research project led by Thomas E. Ford, Psychology expert at Western Carolina University, he found that “exposer to sexist humor can lead to toleration of hostile feelings and discrimination against women.” In other words, the sexist remarks and jokes create a perception that this humor is socially acceptable.
When this benign amusement affects the perceptions of people in social surroundings, causing them to be comfortable with the behavior. In his research, Ford came up with the conclusion that “exposure to sexist humor can create conditions that allow men [and women] – especially those who have antagonistic attitudes toward women – to express those attitudes in their behavior.”
A study done in the International Journal of Humor Research by Annie Kochersberger showed that sexist humor and the amusement of sexist humor has nothing to do with gender. Anyone can be sexist, anywhere, anytime.
Sexism masked in humor can be dangerous. The lightness of a joke to cover a hideous prejudice.
Another thing about the conference that I really appreciated was the guest speaker, Marlana Eck. During her talk, she mentioned something that I’ve been thinking about for the past two days…Woman-fluences. She challenged us to think about the women in our lives who have influenced us the most. I’m not going to share my list on here yet, but I was wondering – who are your women-fluences?