Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

HUMOR

International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

4 Issues per year


IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.660
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.059

CiteScore 2017: 1.27

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.415
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 1.228

Print + Online
See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 28, Issue 2

Issues

Sexist humor as a trigger of state self-objectification in women

Thomas E. Ford / Julie A. Woodzicka / Whitney E. Petit / Kyle Richardson / Shaun K. Lappi
Published Online: 2015-04-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2015-0018

Abstract

We conducted two experiments to test the possibility that sexist humor triggers a state of self-objectification in women. Our findings supported two hypotheses derived from self-objectification theory. In Experiment 1, we found that women (but not men) reported greater state self-objectification following exposure to sexist comedy clips than neutral comedy clips. Experiment 2 replicated this finding for women and further demonstrated that sexist humor causes women to engage in more body surveillance compared to neutral humor.

Keywords: Sexist humor; sexism; self-objectification

References

  • Aronson, Joshua, Diane M Quinn & Steven J Spencer. 1998. Stereotype threat and the academic underperformance of minorities and women. In J.K. Swim & C. Stangor (eds.), Prejudice: The target’s perspective, 83–103. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, Inc.Google Scholar

  • Bell, Myrtle P., Mary E. McLaughlin & Jennifer M. Sequeira. 2002. Discrimination, harassment, and the glass ceiling: Women executives as change agents. Journal of Business Ethics 37. 65–76.Google Scholar

  • Bemiller, Michelle L. & Rachel Zimmer Schneider. 2010. It’s not just a joke. Sociological Spectrum 30. 459–479.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Berlyne, Daniel E. 1972. Humor and its kin. In J. H. Goldstein & P. E. McGhee (eds.), The psychology of humor, 43–60. New York: Academic.Google Scholar

  • Brown, Lisa M. 1998. Ethnic stigma as a contextual experience: A possible selves perspective. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 24(2). 163–172.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Buhrmester, Michael D., Tracy Kwang & Samuel D. Gosling. 2011. Amazon’s mechanical Turk: A new source of inexpensive, yet high quality data? Perspectives on Psychological Science 6. 3–5. CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Calogero, Rachel M. 2004. A test of objectification theory: Effect of the male gaze on appearance concerns in college women. Psychology of Women Quarterly 28. 16–21.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Calogero, Rachel M., William N Davis & J. Kevin Thompson. 2005. The role of self-objectification in the experience of women with eating disorders. Sex Roles 52. 43–50.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Calogero, Rachel M., Sylvia Herbozo & J. Kevin Thompson. 2009. Complementary weightism: The potential costs of appearance-related commentary for women’s self-objectification. Psychology of Women Quarterly 33. 120–132. CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Calogero, Rachel M. & John T. Jost. 2011. Self-subjugation among women: Exposure to sexist ideology, self-objectification, and the protective function of the need to avoid closure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 100(2). 211–228. CrossrefPubMedWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Calogero, Rachel M. & Afroditi Pina. 2011. Body guilt: Preliminary evidence for a further subjective experience of self-objectification. Psychology of Women Quarterly 35. 428–440. CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Calogero, Rachel M., Afroditi Pina & Robbie M. Sutton. 2013. Cutting words: Priming self-objectification increases women’s intention to pursue cosmetic surgery. Psychology of Women Quarterly 38(2). 197–207. CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Ford, Thomas E. 2000. Effects of sexist humor on tolerance of sexist events. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 26(9). 1094–1107. CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ford, Thomas E., Christie F. Boxer, Jacob A Armstrong & Jessica R. Edel. 2008. More than just a joke: The prejudice-releasing function of sexist humor. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 34. 159–170. CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Ford, Thomas E. & Mark A. Ferguson. 2004. Social consequences of disparagement humor: A prejudiced norm theory. Personality and Social Psychology Review 8. 79–94. CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ford, Thomas E., Julie A. Woodzicka, Shane R Triplett & Annie O Kochersberger. 2013. Sexist humor and beliefs that justify societal sexism. Current Research in Social Psychology September. 64–81.Google Scholar

  • Fredrickson, Barbara L. & Toni-Ann Roberts. 1997. Objectification theory: Toward understanding women’s lived experiences and mental health risks. Psychology of Women Quarterly 21. 173–206. CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Fredrickson, Barbara L., Toni-Ann Roberts, Stephanie M. Noll, Diane M Quinn & Jean M. Twenge. 1998. That swimsuit becomes you: Sex differences in self objectification, restrained eating, and math performance. Journal of personality and social psychology 75. 269–284. CrossrefPubMedGoogle Scholar

  • Glick, Peter & Susan T. Fiske. 1996. The ambivalent sexism inventory: Differentiating hostile and benevolent sexism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 70. 491–512. CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Greenwood, Dara & Linda M. Isbell. 2002. Ambivalent sexism and the dumb blonde: Men’s and women’s reactions to sexist jokes. Psychology of Women Quarterly 26. 341–350.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Gruner, Charles R. 1997. The game of humor: A comprehensive theory of why we laugh. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.Google Scholar

  • Harper, Brit & Marika Tiggemann. 2008. The effect of thin ideal images on women’s self-objectification, mood, and body image. Sex Roles 58. 649–657. CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Hemmasi, Masoud & Lee A Graf. 1998. Sexual and sexist humor in the work place: Just “good fun” or sexual harassment? Proceedings of Decision Sciences Institute, 455–457. Las Vegas, NE: DSI.PubMedGoogle Scholar

  • Jost, John T., Mahzarin Banaji & Brian A. Nosek. 2004. A decade of system justification theory: Accumulated evidence of conscious and unconscious bolstering of the status quo. Political Psychology 25. 881–919.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Kuhn, Manfred H. & Thomas S. McPartland. 1954. An empirical investigation of self-attitudes. American Sociological Review 19. 68–76.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • LaFrance, Marianne & Julie A. Woodzicka. 1998. No laughing matter: Women’s verbal and nonverbal reactions to sexist humor. In J. Swim & C. Stangor (eds.), Prejudice: The target’s perspective, 61–80. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar

  • Love, Ann M. & Lambert H Deckers. 1989. Humor appreciation as a function of sexual, aggressive, and sexist content. Sex Roles 20. 649–654.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • McGhee, Paul E. 1972. On the cognitive origins of incongruity humor: Fantasy assimilation versus reality assimilation. In J. H. Goldstein & P. E. McGhee (eds.), The psychology of humor, 61–79. New York: Academic.Google Scholar

  • McKinley, Nita Mary & Janet Shibley Hyde. 1996. The objectified body consciousness scale: Development and validation. Psychology of Women Quarterly 20. 181–215. CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Montemurro, Beth. 2003. Not a laughing matter: Sexual harassment as “material” on workplace-based situation comedies. Sex Roles 48(9–10). 433–445.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Neuliep, James W. 1987. Gender differences in the perception of sexual and nonsexual humor. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 2. 345–351.Google Scholar

  • Noll, Stephanie M. & Barbara L Fredrickson. 1998. A mediational model linking self-objectification, body shame, and disordered eating. Psychology of Women Quarterly 22. 623–636. CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Quinn, Diane M., Rachel W Kallen, Jean M Twenge & Barbara L Fredrickson. 2006. The disruptive effect of self-objectification on performance. Psychology of Women Quarterly 30. 59–64.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Quinn, Diane M. & Steven J Spencer. 2001. The interference of stereotype threat with women’s generation of mathematical problem-solving strategies. Journal of Social Issues 57. 55–71.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Roberts, Toni-Ann & Jennifer Y Gettman. 2004. Mere exposure: Gender differences in the negative effects of priming a state of self-objectification. Sex Roles 51. 17–27.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Romero-Sanchez, Monica, Mercedes Duran, Hugo Carretero-Dios, Jesus L Megias & Miguel Moya. 2010. Exposure to sexist humor and rape proclivity: The moderator effect of aversiveness ratings. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 25(12). 2339–2350. CrossrefPubMedWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Ryan, Kathryn M. & Jeanne Kanjorski. 1998. The enjoyment of sexist humor, rape attitudes, and relationship aggression in college students. Sex Roles 38. 743–756. CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Saguy, Tamar, Diane M. Quinn, John F. Dovidio & Felicia Pratto. 2010. Interacting like a body: Objectification can lead women to narrow their presence in social interactions. Psychological Science 21. 178–182.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Sev’er, Aysan & Sheldon Ungar. 1997. No laughing matter: Boundaries of gender-based humour in the classroom. Journal of Higher Education 68. 87–105.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Steele, Claude M. 1997. A threat in the air: How stereotypes shape intellectual identity and performance. American Psychologist 52. 613–629.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Steele, Claude M. & Joshua Aronson. 1995. Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African Americans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 69. 797–811.CrossrefPubMedGoogle Scholar

  • Tiggemann, Marika. 2011. Mental health risks of self-objectification: A review of the empirical evidence for disordered eating, depressed mood, and sexual dysfunction. In R. M. Calogero, S. Tantleff-Dunn, & J. K. Thompson (eds.), Self-objectification in women: Causes, consequences, and counteractions, 139–159. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar

  • Tiggemann, Marika & Michelle Boundy. 2008. Effect of environment and appearance compliment on college women’s self-objectification, mood, body shame, and cognitive performance. Psychology of Women Quarterly 32. 399–405.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Tiggemann, Marika & J. K Kuring. 2004. The role of body objectification in disordered eating and depressed mood. British Journal of Clinical Psychology 43. 299–311.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Thomae, Manuela & G Tendayi Viki. 2013. Why did the woman cross the road? The effect of sexist humor on men’s rape proclivity. Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology 7(3). 250.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

About the article

Thomas E. Ford

Thomas E. Ford is a Professor of Psychology at Western Carolina University. He received his B.S. from Texas Christian University and his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Maryland. His research interests include the role of disparagement humor in promoting expressions of prejudice and the relationship between humor and subjective well-being.

Julie A. Woodzicka

Julie A. Woodzicka is a Professor of Psychology at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, United States. She received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and her Ph.D. from Boston College. Her research examines social and interpersonal consequences of disparagement humor.

Whitney E. Petit

Whitney E. Petit is a Ph.D. student studying social psychology at the University of Houston. She received her M.A. in general/experimental psychology from Western Carolina University in 2014. Her research interests focus on disparagement humor and close relationships.

Kyle Richardson

Kyle Richardson is a M.A. student at Western Carolina University. He received his B.A. in psychology at Appalachian State University in 2012. His research interests focus on group processes, social influence, and the relationship between disparagement humor and discrimination.

Shaun K. Lappi

Shaun K. Lappi is a M.A. student at Western Carolina University. He received his B.A. in psychology at Western Carolina University in 2014. His research interests focus on the social consequences of sexist humor, and the relationship between humor styles and happiness.


Published Online: 2015-04-02

Published in Print: 2015-05-01


Funding: This research was supported by National Science Foundation Grants BCS-1014567 awarded to Thomas E. Ford and BCS-1014562 awarded to Julie A. Woodzicka. Funding for this project is gratefully acknowledged.


Citation Information: HUMOR, Volume 28, Issue 2, Pages 253–269, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2015-0018.

Export Citation

©2015 by De Gruyter Mouton.Get Permission

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

[1]
Rotem Kahalon, Nurit Shnabel, and Julia C. Becker
Frontiers in Psychology, 2018, Volume 9
[2]
Evelyn C. Ferstl, Laura Israel, and Lisa Putzar
Discourse Processes, 2017, Volume 54, Number 4, Page 259
[3]
L. Monique Ward
The Journal of Sex Research, 2016, Volume 53, Number 4-5, Page 560

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in