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International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

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Volume 28, Issue 2


Gender disparaging jokes: An investigation of sexist-nonstereotypical jokes on funniness, typicality, and the moderating role of ingroup identification

Jessica R. Abrams
  • Corresponding author
  • Communication Studies, California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Amy M. Bippus / Karen J. McGaughey
Published Online: 2015-04-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2015-0019


This experiment relied on social identity theory to investigate jokes that express superiority and denigration toward social groups. In particular, the social identity of gender is examined in the context of sexist-nonstereotypical jokes. Results revealed that sexist-nonstereotypical jokes had the greatest impact on women. Specifically, women rated jokes about men funnier than jokes about themselves, and highly identified women found jokes targeting men significantly funnier than jokes targeting women. These results, and others relating to prototypicality, offer insight into how disparaging intergroup jokes function to accentuate and attenuate intergroup relations.

Keywords: disparagement humor; jokes; social identity theory; gender; group identification


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About the article

Jessica R. Abrams

Jessica R. Abrams is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at California State University, Long Beach, where she studies intergroup communication. She is particularly interested in understanding the relationship between communication and identity and how mass media shape perceptions of social groups.

Amy M. Bippus

Amy M. Bippus is a Professor of Communication Studies and Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at California State University, Long Beach. Her research focuses on humor as a communication strategy in challenging interactions.

Karen J. McGaughey

Karen J. McGaughey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Statistics at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Her primary research interests are in design of experiments and mixed models with applications in sensory testing, engineering, and the social sciences.

Published Online: 2015-04-02

Published in Print: 2015-05-01

Citation Information: HUMOR, Volume 28, Issue 2, Pages 311–326, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2015-0019.

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