Sexism and humor "Just a joke"

Sexism and humor "Just a joke"

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  1. #1

    Sexism and humor "Just a joke"

    Do you believe humor can be classified as sexist/prejudice?
    If so, do you think such types of humor can have a negative effect?
    What sort of relationship do you think there is between outcomes and sexist humor? Do you think it's more that people who are likely to express sexist humor are sexist and thus more likely to behave in ways arguably sexist or do you think there's a causal effect in which people who are exposed to sexist humor are more likely to then behave in a sexist way.

    1. Sexist beliefs -> Sexist behaviour/humor
    2. Sexist humor -> Sexist behaviour/beliefs

    Is it bi-directional so are correct? Is this effect insignificant or is it a valid issue to try and effect in the workplace and other places? What do you think is the overall effect of humor? What do jokes reflect about a person really and regardless of what they reflect, what effect do they have regardless of intention?
    Does belonging to the group one disparage change anything or is sexism sexism no matter where it comes from?

    A Framework for Thinking about the (not-so-funny) Effects of Sexist Humor
    The prevalence of sexist humor in popular culture and its disguise as benign amusement or ―just a joke‖ give it potential to cultivate distress and harassment for women and to facilitate tolerance of sexism and discriminatory behavior among men. Thus,understanding the social consequences of sexist humor is a critical project for research in social psychology. The purpose of our paper is to provide researchers with a conceptual framework for organizing and evaluating empirical research and theories on sexist humor. We divided research on sexist humor into two categories: direct effects and indirect effects. Research on direct effects addresses questions about variables tha tmoderate the interpretation of sexist humor as benign amusement versus a reprehensible expression of sexism. Research on indirect effects considers questions about the broader social consequences of exposure to sexist humor. For instance, "how does exposure to sexist humor affect the way people think about women and their perceptions of discrimination against women?" and "does sexist humor promote sexist behavior among men?" For each category of research, we describe representative empirical research and theoretical frameworks used to guide that research. Importantly,we also raise important issues or questions that require further empirical research or theoretical development. We hope that this research will cultivate further interest in theoretically guided empirical research on sexist humor.

    Sexist Humor and Beliefs that Justify Societal Sexism
    Research suggests that sexist humor creates a context that justifies the expression of prejudice against women. The present research investigates whether sexist humor has broader social consequences related to societal sexism. An experiment supported our hypothesis that men higher in hostile sexist attitudes express beliefs that justify the gender status-quo to a greater degree after exposure to sexist humor versus neutral humor or non-humorous sexist material.Specifically, male participants higher in hostile sexism reported greater acceptance of current gender relations and greater acceptance of societal devaluation of women after reading sexist jokes than after reading neutral(nonsexist) jokes or non-humorous sexist material.

    Humor researchers have emphasized the role that sex differences and attitudes toward women play in moderating amusement with sexist humor. In-group/out-group conflict and the adherence to hostile sexist attitudes have been shown to accurately determine the evaluation of sexist humor. The present research contributes to this literature by addressing the role that the social context plays in determining whether people adopt a humor mindset versus a serious mindset for interpreting sexist humor. We hypothesized that the norms of some social contexts(office) discourage the adoption of a non-serious "humor mindset" for interpreting sexist humor,leading people to perceive the humor as offensive. In contrast, the norms of other contexts(comedy club) encourage the adoption of a non-serious humor mindset, causing people to perceive the humor as less offensive. One hundred eighteen women and 84 men were prompted to imagine themselves in a comedy club, office or neutral setting and then asked to rate both sexist and neutral jokes in terms of offensiveness. It was found that imagining oneself in a comedy club significantly reduces offensiveness ratings of sexist humor. The office context had the opposite effect, where offensiveness ratings increased. Thus the adoption of a non-critical humor mindset can be manipulated by social context. The evaluation of sexist humor is not merely a function of gender in-group/out-group differences or attitudes towards women. The social context in which the jokes were told is also an influential piece to the puzzle.

    Irony of ironies?: ‘Meta-disparagement’ humor and its impact on prejudice
    “Meta-disparagement” humor refers to jokes that explicitly target a minority while implicitly ridiculing those who would laugh at the joke at face value. Through the use of irony, an implicit bigot is summoned as the true joke target. But at an explicit level, these jokes are offensive perpetuations of stereotypes. Thus, while meta-disparagement humor purports to undermine stereotypes, it may in fact reinforce and perpetuate them. Using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, this dissertation investigates this possibility vis-ŕ-vis humor that targets women, blacks, gay people, and Arabs. A discursive textual analysis of this type of humor in popular television series reveals that meta-disparagement humor most often derives from “hyperbole of prejudice” to ultimately critique political correctness. For all four groups, metadisparagement humor is a double-edged phenomenon, indulging in stereotypes to ridicule them. A quantitative content analysis of the same television series determinesthe prevalence of and power dynamics embedded in this type of humor. A survey establishes baseline attitudes towards these groups. Finally, a series of six experiments tests the effects meta-disparagement versus direct disparagement humor of the four groups of interest on attitudes towards these groups using a variety of outcome variables. Overall, the experiments point to negative effects of this type of humor, such that stereotypes are more salient and impact subsequent judgments.

    Sexual Harassment and the Communication Conundrum
    The rise in both sexual harassment complains and litigation has made many companies react with strict no tolerance policies causing widespread concern among emplyoees that anything they say might be misconstrued and lead to their termination. This fear is largely unjustified. Most people understand what is being said and do not misinterpret offhand and innocent remarks as sexually harassing. This paper examines some of the areas where the sexes are in agreement as to what does and does not constitute sexual harassment. In doing so, certain forms of behaviour are discerned that pose a particular problem. By pinpointing specific areas where communication is especially ambigious, educators and trainers can focus their resources and dramatically reduce sexual harassment in the workplace.
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  2. #2

    For the most part people have become too easily offended on principal. A prime example for this would be tumblr "feminists". As for the humor, nobody has the same taste in it. I don't think sexist jokes equate sexism just as I don't see racist jokes equate racism and so on. I sometimes enjoy dark humor for a laugh or two, but that doesn't mean I'm some psychopathic murderer.

    Although I do differentiate a mean-spirited "joke" from an actual joke. You can catch those pretty easily though, they're usually very clearly directed at somebody and are accompanied by a condescending smile or whatnot.

  3. #3

    Quote Originally Posted by sink View Post
    For the most part people have become too easily offended on principal. A prime example for this would be tumblr "feminists". As for the humor, nobody has the same taste in it. I don't think sexist jokes equate sexism just as I don't see racist jokes equate racism and so on. I sometimes enjoy dark humor for a laugh or two, but that doesn't mean I'm some psychopathic murderer.

    Although I do differentiate a mean-spirited "joke" from an actual joke. You can catch those pretty easily though, they're usually very clearly directed at somebody and are accompanied by a condescending smile or whatnot.
    How do you think a sexist joke doesn't equate to sexism?
    Though I believe i'm thinking more semantics here, because if a joke is sexist, then by definition it equates to sexism otherwise I don't think you'd call it a sexist joke.
    I think it's an interesting point, is it no longer sexist because of how it's received perhaps though in another context it might be taken as such?

    Also curious to what looks to me like an assumed equivalency with the example of liking dark humor but this not resulting in you becoming a psychopathic murder, a rather extreme example XD
    But I don't think the case put forth is to say racist humor makes one go out commit hate crimes.
    More, that it seems likely such cultural acceptance of such kinds of humor lends itself to dismissals of racism/sexism when brought up. To contribute to the likelihood that when someone voices such a grievance of experiencing prejudice, their concerns are dismissed as irrelevant and insignificant because it's just a joke.
    That the more likely extreme case would be whether humor makes someone more likely to behave in a way that is discriminatory.
    For example, there seems to be research that tries to examine rape myth acceptance and enjoyment of sexist jokes, that's a real world effect if true.

    But in support of humor thought offensive I get curious to a point made by the entertaining Slavoj Žižek on using politically incorrect humor to bond.
    From 4:40

    Transcription - To the best of my ability
    I think even racism can be ambiguous, you know. Once I made an interview where I was asked how do we find reactionary racism? You know what was my answer? With progressive racism. Ugh ugh, what do you mean? Of course, I didn't mean racism, what I meant is the following things. Of course, racist jokes and so on can be extremely oppressive, humiliating and so on. But the solution I think, is to create a atmosphere or to practice these jokes in such a way that they really function as that little bit of obscene contact which establishes through proximity between us.

    And I'm talking from own past political experience, actual Slavia. I remember when I was young, when I met, from other, when I met with other people from ex-Yugoslavic Republic, Serbs, Croats, Bosnians and so on. We were all the time telling dirty jokes about each other. But not so much against the other. We were in a wonderful way competing who will be able to tell a nastier joke about ourselves. This was obscene racists jokes, but their effect was a wonderful sense of careful obscene solidarity. And I have another proof here. Do you know that when civil war exploded in Yugoslavia, early 90's, and already before in the 80's ethnic tensions. The first victims were these jokes, they immediately disappeared. Because people felt that well, for example, let's say I visit another country. I hate this politically correct respect, oh, what is your food, what are your cultural forms. No, I tell them to tell me a dirty joke about yourself and we will be friends and so on, it works.

    So you see this ambiguity - that's my problem with political correctness. No, it's just a form of self-discipline which doesn't really allow you to overcome racism. It's just oppressed controlled racism. And the same goes here. I will tell you a wonderful story, a simple one. It happened to me a year ago around the corner here in the bookstore. I was signing a book of mine. Two black guys came, African Americans, I don't like the term. My black friends also not, because for obvious reasons it can be even more racist. But the point is and they asked me to sign a book and seeing them there I couldn't resist the worst racist remark. When I was returning the books to them I told them you know, I don't know which one is for whom, you know, you blaacks like yellow guys, you look all the same. They embraced me and they told me you can call me nigga.
    You know when they tell you this it means we are really close. They instantly got this. Another stupid problem I had. At some talk there was a mute and a deaf guy and he asked if a translator can be there. And I couldn't resist it. In the middle of the talk in front of 200-300 people I said what are you doing there guys. My idea was that if you watched the gestures of the translator it looked to me as if some obscene message or what. The guy laughed so much we became friends. And some old stupid lady reported me for making fun of crippled people. It was so didn't she see that's how I became friends with the guy.
    But i'm - wait a minute. Now i'm not an idiot. I'm well aware this doesn't mean we should just walk around and humiliate each other. It's a great art how to do it. I'm just saying that's my hypothesis. Without such a tiny exchange of friendly obscenities you don't have real contact with another.
    I think this is where his point relates well to your own in it not being so much against others as much as something with them. So it may well be directed at someone but with feedback showing they received it well there's no concern, but then what if someone is bothered by it.
    I presume the reasonable thing to do is to make apologies and move on, though I imagine some people take offense at others taking offense and becomes a larger conflict in itself perhaps XD

    Turns out there's philosophy of humor.
    Philosophy of Humor (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
    And just found a paper looking to examine ethics of humor.
    Taking Humour (Ethics) Seriously, But Not Too Seriously
    Humour is worthy of serious ethical consideration. However, it is often taken far too seriously. In this paper, it is argued that while humour is sometimes unethical,it is wrong much less often than many people think. Non-contextual criticisms,which claim that certain kinds of humour are always wrong, are rejected. Contextual criticisms, which take issue with particular instances of humour rather than types of humour, are more promising. However, it is common to overstate the number of contexts in which humour is wrong. Various mistakes of this kind are highlighted and cautioned against.
    I find this particularly interesting and perhaps this is what I'm most curious about in trying to see the dynamics of humor to best see where some fuzzy lines are drawn.

    Many philosophers have warned against the maliciousness associated with humor. This is because when a person makes a joke, it is typically at the expense of another person; this establishes a hierarchy between the person delivering the joke and the butt of the joke. In Philebus, Plato makes an argument to be weary of those who find pleasure in humor as it is a form of malice, finding happiness in other’s misfortunes (90). Thomas Hobbes argues that humor is “nothing else but a sudden glory arising from some sudden conception of eminency in ourselves, by comparison with the infirmity of others, or with our own formerly” (Smuts 335).This, in a sense, works as a form of “othering” by creating a boundary between those that find pleasure in the joke and those that are subject to the adversities of the joke.

    Otto Santa Ana analyzed the power of a joke in influencing social opinions based on late night comedy. Specifically, he studied audiences’ response to Jay Leno’s undocumented immigrant jokes. Santa Ana came to the conclusion that off-color comedy creates a social boundary between those in on the jokes and those of the butt of the joke, arguing that “no one of them, in this moment of satisfaction, can ever be one of us” (40). He goes on to argue that once this hierarchy is established, it is difficult to ever sympathize with the butt of the joke: “People are incapable of pitying the butts of successful jokes, for we cannot get the release; that particularly primal pleasure of putting them below us, if we sympathize with them” (40).
    And I think it touches on the interesting group dynamic, in line with Zizek, it can be bonding. But it can also be bonding at the expense of others who aren't in on the joke, lines are drawn.
    Last edited by Wellsy; 08-13-2015 at 05:24 AM.
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  4. #4

    Quote Originally Posted by Wellsy View Post
    How do you think a sexist joke doesn't equate to sexism?
    Though I believe i'm thinking more semantics here, because if a joke is sexist, then by definition it equates to sexism otherwise I don't think you'd call it a sexist joke.
    I think it's an interesting point, is it no longer sexist because of how it's received perhaps though in another context it might be taken as such?

    Also curious to what looks to me like an assumed equivalency with the example of liking dark humor but this not resulting in you becoming a psychopathic murder, a rather extreme example XD
    That's pretty much what I meant. Both the giving and receiving end need to understand that it is a joke. Laughing with the people and not against them, kind of thing. I wanted to give an extreme example to try and get my point across easier.

    Let me provide an example; a person makes a sexist joke all in good fun and the receiver doesn't take it too well. In this case the person making the joke should just apologize, explaining they meant no harm by it and make a mental note to not engage in such humor with this individual any further, as they do not appreciate it. If that person were to persist in their sexist jokes with this individual that made it clear they dislike them, then we can talk about doing harm. It's all about tact, really.

    Slavoj Žižek explained it pretty decently. As someone living in an ex-Yugoslavic country, I can understand it even more. Political correctness can be a big nuisance at times and it can encourage to treat people with gloves on, so to speak. People need to learn not to take themselves too seriously all the time and humor can promote that really well, if done correctly.
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  5. #5

    Quote Originally Posted by Wellsy View Post
    Do you believe humor can be classified as sexist/prejudice?
    Not if it is purely humorous. There is a big difference between trying to get a laugh vs. directly insulting somebody (regardless of if people find it funny, which if they do is evil)

    Everybody laughs at jokes targeting other groups but get so offended when the joke is on them. This shows immaturity. People should be able to laugh at themselves if they can laugh at other people.

    I don't think jokes reflect the way a person behaves. You are only interpreting how their joke relates to their life which is subjective at the very least, so what proof does that hold?

    I love the example Bill Burr gives, A bar put out a sign that says "We like our beer like we like our violence, domestic"
    The 2 people in charge of the bar who put out that sign were fired. Bill explains how nobody is going to be driving home, then read the sign and say "hmm you know what? They are right! I better beat my wife" And taking down the sign isn't going to prevent any future domestic violence acts.

    Just loved his point of view on the subject,
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  6. #6

    Quote Originally Posted by WhoIsJake View Post
    I love the example Bill Burr gives, A bar put out a sign that says "We like our beer like we like our violence, domestic"
    The 2 people in charge of the bar who put out that sign were fired. Bill explains how nobody is going to be driving home, then read the sign and say "hmm you know what? They are right! I better beat my wife" And taking down the sign isn't going to prevent any future domestic violence acts.

    Just loved his point of view on the subject,
    Which is a logical point, but I think this is also one of the advantages in comedy where people accept simplifications that lack nuance and don't entail as much critical thinking as the topic perhaps warrants.
    Comedians must also consider the influence that comes with their celebrity status. Manycomedians will joke about a political or social issue with no intent on shifting public opinion.While the comedian may not structure their act with the purpose of influencing their audience,humor as it stands alone always creates a substantial impact on audiences. Santa Ana argues thatthe structure of humor and its delivery can have a greater influence on public opinion than theinput of a credible news reporter (26). He states:

    In contrast to news reporting practices, the discourse practices of humorestablish a more personal relationship with the audience, making for morecompelling communication. Within comedy (a genre that simplifies narrative),joke-telling discourse reinforces political messaging by way of its verbal felicityand conciseness (which facilitate memory) and with its ability to divert counterargumentsby reducing critical thinking among its audience. (26)
    I think this is where one can see the effects of how persuasive humor can be interestingly enough.
    Because from Bill Burr's joke, one can infer what one thinks the oppositions dialogue was in that joke. As in the Joke sets up that the people who criticize the sign made the argument that the sign would be a causal factor of domestic violence and because it's not significantly causal, removing it doesn't change anything. Which isn't a good argument because he's touching on something that is somewhat largely true and it resonates with the audience's reasoning in the simple way comedy goes.

    I'll use a post (Follow link for more context) from another thread to help elaborate on the sort of relationship that's more likely to be argued about the effects of humor like that sign.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wellsy View Post
    Violent media is more complicated in it's effects and this unfortunately has people strawman the issue it as they think only causally. I think there has been pretty good evidence over the years though that violent media isn't consistently benign.
    Violent media is correlates but isn't so much causal, so it won't exactly cause a person to become a murder but that's also only going to extremes. It may still have effects of making them more violent but this again may only depend on risk factors for them as an individual in their biology and environmental experiences that interact.
    So it can help cause greater violence in some individuals but not all individuals, this applies similarly with objecitifcation in the media and the culture at large.
    This is because causal effects with human beings are best expressed with multidimensional models as opposed to single dimension causal models. So, instead of arguing something is purely biological, purely environmental, can combined things and say they both have an effect to some degree.
    This video helps explain this sort of dynamic but in the context of porn.
    This is the sort of relationship that is likely to be present with humor that expresses such sentiments.
    So, it's not likely that upon seeing the sign that one will as Bill Burr describes, go home and beat his wife on account of being exposed to it. But what it might relate to is an overall culture in which domestic violence is trivialized and historically this has been true as it's been seen as a private affair between those involved.
    So what it might do is affirm the idea that men beating their wives isn't that significant as an issue than if they weren't exposed to such messages. It becomes a point to the wider communities attitude towards domestic violence, which is actually become a increasingly politically hot topic here in Australia with it being quite prevalent.
    Not sure the amount of research on it, but it doesn't seem to be a subject completely ignored.

    Contribution of Media to the Normalization and Perpetuation of Domestic Violence
    Domestic violence (DV) is becoming more prevalent in social media as well as academic literature. Based on the astonishing prevalence rates of DV there are good reasons to consider this issue an epidemic. This paper discusses the mechanisms through which DV is normalized and desensitized in the public’s eye. Specifically, DV awareness campaigns, psychosocial interventions, legal definitions, religious traditions, and family cultural influences are each ways in which people understand the issue of DV. However, there are mechanisms through which DV is normalized and condoned through the media. These media outlets unfortunately tend to address DV by portraying sexism, devaluation of women, and most importantly, violence against women. Furthermore, DV continues to be normalized through its comedic portrayal via news outlets, magazines, advertisements, and television shows. Although there is a growing body of research and literature focused on the media’s comedic portrayal of domestic violence, it is quite limited. Suggest that using sexist humor, offensive and prejudicial humor, jokes promoting destruction to victims of DV, and language in connection with DV allow society to view this type of violence as more acceptable. Behavioral scientists should work to reverse this trend by demonstrating how the media irresponsibly shapes peoples’ perception of DV through a lighthearted and comical fashion.
    It has a section on humor.
    Humorous Portrayal of Domestic Violence in the Media

    Although research on the combination of humor and violence in the media and its influence on viewers are currently limited, it is becoming more prevalent. As such, [34] discuss how humor can be used as a form of sexism and can make DV seem more publicly acceptable if it is turned into a joke. The authors suggest that sexist humor (i.e. offensive and prejudicial humor⁄jokes causing destruction to the target person) and language can be used to make women appear inferior to men through means of nonchalance: “humor allows insult and disrespect to enter dialogue in a disguised and deniable form” [34,38]. Concurs that sexist humor is extremely powerful and can cause and legitimize prejudice against the opposite sex. Sexist humor allows jokes to be made that sexually objectify women, devalue women in their personal and professional lives, and support and normalize aggression and violence against women [34]. However, others assert that it is not simply sexist language that is the problem but who controls the language; patriarchal culture assumes that men would be in control of such language [39].

    A woman’s response to these jokes is also extremely important and has numerous conflicting social implications. There is a proverbial ‘double–edged sword’ in play when a woman is told a sexist joke. If she laughs at the joke, she is seen as devaluing her own group; however, if she does not laugh at the joke, she is seen as not having a sense of humor. In either situation the woman’s “social power” is lowered [34]. Conducted a study that examined themes in various sexist jokes found on internet websites dedicated to jokes; the authors found five themes, four of which are of particular relevance: devaluation of personal characteristics, backlash against feminism, sexual objectification of women, and violence against women [34]. Suggest that jokes “downplay the seriousness of DV” and allowsociety to view this violence as more acceptable. The authors conclude that disparaging humor such as this belittles and “silences” the target social groups (women), normalizing and desensitizing society to violence against women [40]. Indicate that sexist jokes do not simply reflect underlying assumptions about women but also facilitate an atmosphere of tolerance for the disparagement of women.

    Domestic violence in magazines

    Looks at how social media, particularly in magazines, presents DV in a light, amusing, and humorous way [41]. Notes that male and female magazines largely differ in the way they discuss DV. Magazines geared towards female readers tend to connote women as victims and responsible, whereas male magazines seem to present a “tolerance for and celebration of domestic violence” through humor and exoneration [41]. Male magazines specifically introduce the topic of DV through patriarchal ideals that condone and excuse male aggression in an amusing way. Though domestic violence seems to be mentioned briefly, it is presented in humorous ways that undermine the seriousness of its effects. When discussing the effects of DV, male magazine Sports Illustrated wrote, “You needn’t be M. Night Shyamalan to know how these stories often end. I see dead people” to illustrate fatality in humorous tone [41]. In addition, a 2013 advertisement in the DuJour magazine features the image of a woman laying face down on the ground as her head is being crushed by a large suitcase. The image, used for The Standard hotel, insensitively demonstrates violence against women as a way to advertise traveling in a ludicrous way [41,42]. Argues that popular media shapes social and cultural values and that magazines “have a direct bearing on how individuals and the public perceive and respond” to DV issues (p. 5).

    Television, movies, and video games

    The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) revealed that more than half of all games are rated as containing violence [43]. Long–term exposure to the violence of these portrayed in these video games and television shows may result in an increased acceptance of violence. Further research shows that television media seems to echo magazine representations of domestic abuse. Multiple forms of media produce a cyclical construction of individual “values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structure of the larger society” [41]. A 2011 episode on the widely familiarized television sitcom, Family Guy, highlighted an abusive relationship. With few moments of somberness, the majority of the episode translated relational abuse in a light–hearted and comical way as a woman was assaulted and beaten [44]. This type of comical illustration can aid in sending the message that hitting women is a laughing matter. Portrayal of DV in an amusing fashion continues to send the message that male aggression and domestic abuse is acceptable and insignificant. During the Domestic Violence Awareness Month in 2013, the focus was to create public awareness of domestic violence in the popular culture. Popular romantic comediessuch as 500 Days of summer and There’s Something about Mary were discussed as films that normalize violent behaviors such as stalking and intense fights. This type of abuse is cinematically portrayed as romantic gestures rather than dangerous and ominous behaviors in violent relationships [45]. A study assessing how acceptable the audience finds reality television portrayals of domestic violence indicated that the public views this type of graphic material as normal aspects of relationships and therefore becoming desensitized [32].


    Investigated commercial advertisements aired during three Super Bowl games over a five–year period [46]. The authors identified the number of commercials with violent acts and counted the number of violent acts shown within each commercial, the number of commercial with humorous acts, and the number of commercials that combined humor and violence. The results indicated that 61.3% of the violent acts were combined with humor. Similarly, [47] conducted a study of nearly 4,500 commercial messages during one week of primetime television and assessed the presence of aggression. Yielding similar findings, they found forms of aggression in 12.3% of the advertisements, where, 53.5% of these advertisements also contained elements of humor [47].It is important to note that humor and violence in the media and advertising extends beyond simply targeting women [48]. Advertisement broadcasts during the Super Bowl of 1989, 1999, and 2009 and television advertising of the five most advertised brands in 2008 (i.e. Verizon, AT&T, Macy’s, Sprint, and Wal–Mart) were analyzed and assessed for the presence of aggression, the target of aggression (gender), and the type of aggression portrayed [49]. While not providing any statistics, analysis revealed that the three of the top five brands (Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint) advertised in 2008 used denigration humor that was often violent in nature. In addition, the researchers found that over the 20 year cross section of advertising, the use of disparagement, particularly physical aggression aimed at males, increased from 13.6% in 1989 to 73.4% in 2009. This number stands in contrast to the humorous ads with females as the target of aggression which only grew from 0% in 1989 to 10.8% in 2009. The researchers discuss plausible reasons for this disparity including the lack of research on female initiated interpersonal violence which may influence society’s perspective that violence on men is laughable and even acceptable [49]. Researchers suggest that although advertising often presents an incomplete, unrealistic, and distorted view of society, these distortions often shape societal culture [48,49].

    And this all relates to the post I've made in reference to violent media/video games, the point isn't so much the media it's causes wide spread violence and removing it would make it suddenly go away as a problem.
    Rather, it's a lesser but significant point that it' contributes to the problem in helping it be perpetuated rather than be taken seriously. I think then for a more on the nose argument, one would have then argue that despite any correlation, it's not so significant as to warrant removal, punishment or what ever.
    Which is where I think are more significant examination is to be made and argued for in either direction, because I think to people who wish to change these problems they see it as contributing so it's simple to them that changing these things is important. Some might say change the culture first as that's what causes these things, but culture is also shaped by these sorts of messages, it's bi-directional and I would argue many people think themselves unaffected.

    This is where my skepticism of people's self awareness and knowledge comes out on account that the common defense is use of hyberbole like the strawmanning of violent video games, a person claiming that it doesn't cause wide spread murderers. As opposed to the actually conclusion from research that depending on the individual it can help enhance certain negative outcomes.
    The same sort of reaction comes from peoples denial of the effectiveness of advertising. People presume themselves invulnerable as they don't develop an obsession with shopping that causes significant problems for them financially. And advertising agencies have capitalized on decades of psychology research to sell products effectively otherwise they simply wouldn't exist as they wouldn't be worth the investment, they'd show no returns to those that hire them.

    Actually just remembered a historical example of visual communication that originally depicted something for the grotesqueness it was about but was redone to look more friendly, diminishing the seriousness of it.
    It's curious to me in what ways we do this of many things in media, if someone witness someone being raped or murdered in TV, would they laugh if it was depicted as it is experienced in real life. We likely find something wrong with such a person, but the framing of media does depict certain things in a humorous way and we laugh.
    Makes me curious to making a transitional depiction of things where they are presented light heartedly but transition into more serious tone of presentation and see at what point a person's response receives the seriousness of the matter.
    Though bit hard since building mood is important in visual media I think.
    Last edited by Wellsy; 08-13-2015 at 07:26 AM.
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  7. #7

    I guess that it would depend on the context and who/how was saying the joke. It's a bit hard to explain the details, thought sexist jokes made only as jokes are not more than jokes IMO.

    For example, sometimes in a friends or coworkers group, people might throw in light sexist jokes to make fun of some situation, but people generally throw them to joke with outdated views itself (imagine a group talking about sexism and some people throws in typical jokes to make fun of these very jokes).

    People usually don't take such jokes badly and they might reply in a fun way (imagine a guy joking about "my wife don't cook for me" and someone else "cook it yourself! :P"). At least with my fellow friends and coworkers (IT field) I haven't noticed anyone with real sexist views (people generally seems open-minded - nowadays it's common for both men and women to work full-time anyways).
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  8. #8

    Quote Originally Posted by Wellsy View Post
    And this all relates to the post I've made in reference to violent media/video games, the point isn't so much the media it's causes wide spread violence and removing it would make it suddenly go away as a problem.
    Rather, it's a lesser but significant point that it' contributes to the problem in helping it be perpetuated rather than be taken seriously.
    I believe this is the core of humor. Taking extremely "serious" topics and turning them into laughable matters. You think this has negative impact? You might be going against the entire purpose of comedy right there. I can see why you might think its troubling, but I believe it does more good than harm.

    One could look at how the comedians shine light on how ridiculous these immoral acts or opinions are. Comedians have convinced me on several topics with their hilarious point of views. Like you said, they are quite convincing and personable.

    Maybe you are right though? I might be a sucker for feeling good and laughing at literally everything, even when it could be slowly destroying our society.
    Baldur and Wellsy thanked this post.

  9. #9

    I should note, I think comedy lies in truth. If somebody is speaking falsity, I more than likely won't be laughing.

  10. #10

    I kind of have a split opinion on this. On one hand, I like jokes, even sick jokes, so jokes about female inferiority often still strike me as funny. On the other hand, I think that too much joking like that can end up encouraging negative attitudes. My brother seems to have a touch of it, himself, and I try to curb that. The jokes are funny but it's not funny when the pejorative attitude in the jokes starts to show up in serious situations.

    Overall I think it has so much to do with the individual. My boyfriend cracks some jokes about women driving, etc., but he's always respectful and encouraging of women, and he does my laundry, so I'm not worried about him. My dad's like that, too - they're equal opportunity jokers for the most part. They'll make fun of a lot of groups, and I think that's important. It's when someone's really focusing on female-disparaging (or disparaging to any group they're not a part of) jokes more than any other jokes that it becomes concerning.

    It's a bit of a balancing act, I think. You don't want to be too serious or angry, because then people see you as zealous and unrelatable, and they end up pushing back against you. But you have to stand up for yourself and others being treated unfairly, as well.
    mushr00m, Wellsy, AriesLilith and 6 others thanked this post.

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