WHY DID THE WOMAN CROSS THE ROAD? THE EFFECT OF SEXIST HUMOR ON MEN'S RAPE PROCLIVITY

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Abstract

Previous research has shown that exposure to sexist (vs. non-sexist) humor results in more tolerance of sexist discrimination (Ford & Fergusson, 2004). In the current research, three studies investigated the effects of exposure to sexist humor on men's rape proclivity. In Study 1, male students were exposed to either sexist or non-sexist jokes. Males exposed to sexist jokes reported higher levels of rape proclivity in comparison to males exposed to non-sexist jokes. Study 2 was an online study in which we replicated Study 1, but also measured male participants' levels of hostile and benevolent sexism. Study 3 was a replication of Study 2, in which we controlled for the sexual content of the jokes. Overall, the results of Study 2 and Study 3 indicated that men who scored high (vs. low) on hostile sexism reported higher levels of rape proclivity after exposure to sexist versus non-sexist jokes. No such effects were obtained for benevolent sexism.

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