The effect of sexist humor on women's sense of possible-selves

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christopher Breeden (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Thomas Ford

Abstract: Social identity theory encourages the importance of maintaining a positive self-image, and positive view of one’s own group (Tajfel & Turner, 1986). A person’s sense of possible-selves (the imaginations of who they are and who they could be in any given interaction) can become damaged when interacting with an individual who encourages threatening stereotypes (Brown, 1998). The present study aims to extend the understandings of how one’s image can be threatened, via “social identity-threat,” using sexist humor. In this study, participants’ ideations of their “possible-selves” will be measured by how they respond to self-survey questionnaires. Participants will imagine interactions with a graduate Teaching Assistant who engages in humor by telling jokes. The humor will be sexist or neutral in manner. The imagined interaction will contain either a confederate (TA) who offers the jokes, or a different confederate whose behaviors are ambiguous and does not participate in the jokes. I hypothesize that by degrading and diminishing women, sexist humor will derogate and threaten women’s social identities, and break their sense of self-worth, in a way that isn’t limited to contextual factors.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Exclusion, Identity, Possible-Selves, Self, Sexist Humor
Wit and humor -- Psychological aspects
Sex discrimination against women
Sexism in language
Sexism in communication
Stereotypes (Social psychology)
Oppression (Psychology)

Email this document to