The role of identification with a joke target in perceptions of disparaging humor

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

Abstract: In the present research I focus on identifying the variables that affect women’s perceptions of sexist humor. Previous research and theory have identified attitude toward women as the critical predictor of amusement with sexist humor; I propose that the degree of dis-identification with women as a social category is also an important predictor. I conducted two studies to investigate the role that dis-identification with women plays in predicting women's perceptions of sexist humor. In support of my hypothesis, results of Study 1 showed that more dis-identification with women predicted more amusement with sexist humor. Further, in addition to gender attitudes, degree of dis-identification with women mediated the effect of gender on amusement with sexist humor. In Study 2 I found that hostile sexism was related to dis-identification with feminists to a greater degree than with women in general or housewives, and that insofar as women are high in hostile sexism, they interpret the message of humor disparaging feminists less critically than humor disparaging other subgroups of women. Overall, my findings provide support for the hypothesis that women perceive sexist humor more positively to the extent that they dis-identify with women as a social category.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
Disparagement, Humor, Prejudice, Sexism
Wit and humor -- Psychological aspects
Wit and humor -- Social aspects
Wit and humor
Women -- Humor

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