Psychology of Women Quarterly
Volume 26 Issue 4 Page 341 - December 2002

Women's Experiences
Ambivalent Sexism and the Dumb Blonde: Men's and Women's Reactions to Sexist Jokes
Dara Greenwood & Linda M. Isbell
This article examines the relationship between gender, hostile sexism, benevolent sexism and reactions to a seemingly innocuous genre of sexist humor, the dumb blonde joke. After hearing an audiotaped conversation in which two students swapped dumb blonde jokes, participants high in hostile sexism rated the jokes as more amusing and less offensive than those low in hostile sexism. Among individuals low in hostile sexism, however, benevolent sexism interacted with gender. Specifically, men high in benevolent sexism found the jokes significantly more amusing and less offensive than either women in the same group or men low in both hostile and benevolent sexism. This study replicates and extends previous research examining the relationship between hostile sexism and the enjoyment of sexist humor, and underscores the possibility that benevolent sexism may represent qualitatively distinct attitudes for men and women.