, Volume 16, Issue 9-10, pp 521-531

Gender, attitudes towards women, and the appreciation of sexist humor

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According to the dispositional theory of humor, females should enjoy female-disparaging jokes less than male-disparaging jokes because the recipient of the disparagement in the former situation is a member of the respondent's reference group. Several studies have shown, however, that both men and women often prefer female-disparaging humor. In the present study, attitudinal disposition was measured using Spence and Helmreich's Attitudes Toward Women Scale. Participants were then asked to rate the funniness of sexist and nonsexist jokes. Although sexist jokes were, in general, rated funnier than nonsexist jokes, joke type interacted with attitudinal disposition such that males and females with less traditional views of women's roles showed reduced preference for sexist humor, compared to their more traditional counterparts.