Sexist jokes favour the mental mechanisms that spur violence against women, especially in men with “macho attitudes”. That was the conclusion of a study carried out at the University of Granada.
To carry out the research, a group of 109 male university students between the ages of 18 and 26 years completed several questionnaires. They showed them two series of jokes, one with sexist jokes where women were belittled and another with common jokes, without any kind of sexist content.
Next, the researchers proposed several scenes with different cases of violence against women – from minor to serious attacks – and asked the participants how they would react in this kind of situation.
More tolerant with violence
The research showed that those who had listened to sexist jokes were much more tolerant about violence against women than those who had not. This suggests that sexist humour favours the mental mechanisms associated with violent behaviour towards women.
However, the researchers warn the participants who were exposed to sexist humour in the study showed a previous tendency to tolerate violence against women – researchers gathered from a survey which weighed up sexist attitudes against women.
Some of the items of the scale used by the scientist to measure men's sexist attitudes were: "Deep down, feminist women intend women to be more powerful than men", "Most of the women do not fully appreciate what men do for them" or "There are many women who make sexual insinuations to men and later they reject their advances, just to make fun of them". – (EurekAlert!, July 2009)
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