This study proves the real life dangers of sexist jokes

There’s no doubt about it — sexism is embedded into almost every part of our culture. From the onslaught of rape culture we are witnessing from the election, to the countless cases of violence against women, sexism is very real and very harmful for women and femme-identified people. It’s also something folks love to joke about, unable to admit their wrongdoing when called out for their offensive “humor.”

But how do sexist jokes impact the real-life sexism in this world?

One study, reports Broadly, gives us the answer.

Psychology of Men and Masculinity reports that men's magazines which feature celebrations of toxic masculinity (through jokes that objectify women, etc.) are normalizing violent sexism -- especially violence against women-- among young men, their core demographic.

423 men from the U.K., with an age range of 18-30 years old, participated in three studies to examine the effects of sexist jokes celebrated by magazines in heterosexual male culture. In the first study, they were surveyed regarding their  thoughts about sex, women, and lad mags. Researchers said that they were able to predict sexist attitudes based on how often these men read men’s magazines:

Researchers said that "ambivalent sexism predicted attitudes toward the consumption of lads' mags, but not other forms of direct sexual consumption (paying for sex or patronizing strip clubs)."

The next study attempted to dismantle the idea that sexist jokes aren’t violent or “hostile,” but “ironic.” Researchers had men look at quotes from convicted rapists and quotes from men’s magazines out of context — and many were unable to differentiate them when they weren’t printed in a magazine.

So what does that mean?

The sexist jokes in men’s magazine — and culture at large — aren’t just straight up NOT funny; they’re dangerous. This “humor” creates a culture where violence against women is normalized and accepted.

The results of the studies all show that we have a lot of work to do when it comes to overcoming sexism; it is deep rooted within our culture and society. But we also need men and boys to see the dangers of sexism and to actively work in disbanding it.