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

Thomas E. Ford 1 , Julie A. Woodzicka 2 , Whitney E. Petit 3 , Kyle Richardson 1 , and Shaun K. Lappi 1
  • 1 Psychology, Western Carolina University, Killian Building, Room 301, Cullowhee, NC 28723, USA
  • 2 Psychology, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, USA
  • 3 Psychology, University of Houston, Houston, USA
Thomas E. Ford
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  • 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.
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, Julie A. Woodzicka
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  • 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.
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, Whitney E. Petit
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  • 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.
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, Kyle Richardson
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  • 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.
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and Shaun K. Lappi
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  • 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.
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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.

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