New research suggests sexist jokes and accompanying humor are associated with mental mechanisms that could predispose violence and battering against women.

Men with strong macho attitudes appear to demonstrate the risky behavior. The theory will be present at a seminar about humor and its scientific applications (‘International Summer School and Symposium on Humor and Laughter: Theory, Research and Applications’) that will be held in Granada.

In order to carry out this research work, the scientists applied several questionnaires to a group of 109 university male students aged between 18 and 26 years old.

They showed them two series of jokes, one of them with sexist jokes where women were denigrated and another one with common jokes, without any kind of sexist content.

Next, the researchers proposed them several scenes with different cases of battering against women, from minor to serious attacks, to ask them how they would react in this kind of situation.

They are more tolerant with violence

The work proved that those who had listened to sexist jokes were much more tolerant with male battering than those who had not, this is, that this kind of humour favors the mental mechanisms tolerant with violent behaviour towards women.

However, the researchers warn those individuals affected by sexist humour showed a previous tendency to tolerate violence against women, as we can gather 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”.

Source: University of Granada