Everyone likes a good joke now and then, but experts tell us men who tell sexist jokes are often abusive to women.
Research has found a relationship between those men who tell sexist jokes and those with an orientation towards domestic abuse.
A study looked at 109 male university students between the ages of 18 and 26 who were given questionnaires that showed two series of jokes, one with and one without the type of denigration often found in sexist jokes. The students were then shown a series of scenes with different examples of women being battered, from minor to serious attacks. They were asked how they would react in situations involving these attacks.
Researchers found those who listened to sexist jokes were much more tolerant towards males battering women than those who didn’t like jokes that denigrated women. Those conducting this study say individuals who enjoy sexist humor show a tendency towards tolerating violence against women.
Some of the measures to assess men’s sexist attitudes included samples like these: “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.”
So what about a man raping an unconscious woman and considering that funny? Observe and Report’s scene that showed this was discussed by film critics and women’s groups, with the critics divided and women’s groups outraged. The publication Wired asked its readers to give their own reactions, since some critics had considered it ugly and painful to watch while others called it “fucking amazing.” Lewis Wallace, the writer of the piece, maintains he is in the “second camp” that believes it quite funny and well done. A number of women objected to Observe and Report,, underlining how particularly awful the film was for putting a date rape scene in a film as funny.
A woman’s media group responds to the whole notion of how rape is treated in our culture and that it is serious and not funny:
“There are many reasons sexual assault allegations must be taken seriously, and those found guilty must be made to face real justice. Some of them have to do with healing for the survivor. Some of them have to do with removing impunity — sending a message that this is a felony violent crime, and you can’t easily get away with it. But one of the most important reasons for holding rapists to account is prevention. Because solid research tells us that the majority of rapists are repeat rapists, averaging six victims before they even graduate college.
Sexist jokes, some women say quite strongly, really are not funny, especially when they are about rape.
1. Sexist jokes may be linked to domestic violence
2. Observe and Report’s shocking scene draws fire
3. Come and see the violence in our system
4. Meet the predators
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