Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in late 2019, fear and panic dominated the content of online news. Simultaneously, there was a prevalence of jokes and satire on the different social media sites. During the crisis, most Arab countries went through a nationwide lockdown for weeks that people found themselves trapped in their homes and resorted to social media to express their frustrations about the prevailing happenings. They began exchanging jokes and parodies on social media that indirectly reflected stereotypes about them. 1424 jokes were collected from Facebook and WhatsApp messages during a period of three months and were categorized based on the themes they covered. Gender-related jokes ranked the highest, and were predominantly targeting women. Hence, this study is an attempt to explore how Arab Women were stereotyped in Jokes circulated on social media during the Coronavirus crisis. The 508 gender-related jokes were analysed in light of the General Theory of Verbal Humor (GTVH). The analysis generated 4 main themes, namely 'marital relations' (33%), 'habits and attributes' (26%), 'beauty and makeup' (23%) and 'violence' (18%). Women were stereotyped as being ugly and less feminine without makeup, talkative, shopaholic, despising and annoying wives, and violent and harmful partners in their private sphere. The study concludes that such negative stereotypes might be unintentionally produced and reinforced through laughter-eliciting humor that circulates fast in the virtual world.
Al-Abbas, L. S. & Haider, A. S. (2020). ‘The representation of homosexuals in Arabic-language news outlets’. Equality, Diversity Inclusion: An International Journal, pp. 1-29. doi:https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-05-2020-0130.
Al-Abbas, L. S., Haider, A. S. & Hussein, R. F. (2020). ‘Google autocomplete search algorithms and the Arabs’ perspectives on gender: A case study of Google Egypt’. GEMA Online® Journal of Language Studies 20 (4), pp. 95-112. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.17576/gema-2020-2004-06.
Almahasees, Z. & Jaccomard, H. (2020). ‘Facebook Translation Service (FTS) usage among Jordanians during COVID-19 lockdown’. Advances in Science, Technology, Engineering Systems Journal 5 (6), pp. 514-519. doi: https://doi.org/10.25046/aj050661.
Al-Salman, S. & Haider, A. S. (2021a). ‘COVID-19 trending neologisms and word formation processes in English’. Russian Journal of Linguistics 25 (1). doi: https://doi.org/10.22363/2687-0088-2021-25-1-00-00.
Al-Salman, S. & Haider, A. S. (2021b). ‘Jordanian university students’ views on emergency online learning during COVID-19’. Online Learning 25 (1), pp. 286-302. doi: https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v25i1.2470.
Anderson, M. L. (2008). Thinking about Women: Sociological and Feminist Perspectives. New York: Mac Millan.
Archakis, A., Lampropoulou, S., Tsakona, V. & Tsami, V. (2014). ‘Linguistic varieties in style: Humorous representations in Greek mass culture texts’. Discourse, Context Media 3, pp. 46-55. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcm.2014.01.001.
Attardo, S. (1994). Linguistic Theories of Humor. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Bauman, Z. (2006). Liquid Fear. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Bemiller, M. L. & Schneider, R. Z. (2010). ‘It's not just a joke’. Sociological Spectrum 30 (4), pp. 459-479. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/02732171003641040.
Berger, A. A. (2016). ‘Culture: Identity’, in Berger, A. A., Applied Discourse Analysis: Popular Culture, Media, and Everyday Life, San Francisco: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 167-177.
Bergmann, M. (1986). ‘How many feminists does it take to make a joke? Sexist humor and what's wrong with it’. Hypatia 1 (1), pp. 63-82. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1527-2001.1986.tb00522.x.
Blommaert, J. (2005). Discourse: A Critical Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Breeze, R. (2011). ‘Critical discourse analysis and its critics’. Pragmatics 21 (4), pp. 493-525. doi: https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.21.4.01bre.
Buttle, F. (1992). ‘Shopping motives constructionist perspective’. Service Industries Journal 12 (3), pp. 349-367. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/02642069200000044.
Caldas-Coulthard, C. R. (1995). ‘Man in the news: the misrepresentation of women speaking in news-as-narrative-discourse’, in Mills, S. (ed.), Language Gender: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, London: Longman, pp. 226-239.
Cameron, D. (1998). ‘Performing gender identity: Young men’s talk and the construction of heterosexual masculinity’, in Coates, J. (ed.), Language Gender: A Reader, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 270-284.
Cameron, D. (2003). ‘Gender and language ideologies’, in Holmes, J. & Meyerhoff, M. (eds.), The Handbook of Language and Gender, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 447-467.
Cendra, A. N., Triutami, T. D. & Bram, B. (2019). ‘Gender stereotypes depicted in online sexist jokes’. The European Journal of Humour Research 7 (2), pp. 44-66. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7592/EJHR2019.7.2.cendra.
Collins, D. & Tisdell, C. (2002). ‘Gender and differences in travel life cycles’. Journal of Travel Research 41 (2), pp. 133-143.
Douki, S., Nacef, F., Belhadj, A., Bouasker, A. & Ghachem, R. (2003). ‘Violence against women in Arab and Islamic countries’. Archives of Women’s Mental Health 6 (3), pp. 165-171. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-003-0170-x.
Eckert, P. & McConnell-Ginet, S. (2013). Language and Gender. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ehrhart, J. K. & Sandler, B. R. (1985). Campus Gang Rape: Party Games? Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges.
Fairclough, N. (2003). Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research. London: Routledge.
Fairclough, N. & Wodak, R. (1997). ‘Critical Discourse Analysis’, in van Dijk, T. A. (ed.), Introduction to Discourse Analysis, London: Routledge, pp. 258-284.
Fawzi, A. & Szymkowiak, A. (2014). ‘An investigation into gender role conformity in an online social networking environment’. Paper presented at the International Conference on Social Computing and Social Media.
Ghoussoub, M. (1987). ‘Feminism – or the eternal masculine – in the Arab world’. New Left Review 161 (1), pp. 3-18.
Haider, A. S. (2019). ‘Using corpus linguistic techniques in (critical) discourse studies reduces but does not remove bias: Evidence from an Arabic corpus about refugees’. Poznan Studies in Contemporary Linguistics 55 (1), pp. 89-133. doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/psicl-2019-0004.
Haider, A. S. & Al-Salman, S. (2020). ‘Dataset of Jordanian university students’ psychological health impacted by using e-learning tools during COVID-19’. Data in Brief 32, pp. 1-8. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2020.106104.
Haider, A. S. & Hussein, R. F. (2020). ‘Analysing headlines as a way of downsizing news corpora: Evidence from an Arabic–English comparable corpus of newspaper articles’. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities 35 (4), pp. 826–844. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/llc/fqz074.
Haider, A. S. & Olimy, S. (2019). ‘The representation of Laji’een (refugees) and Muhajireen (migrants) in the headlines of Jordan news agency (PETRA)’. International Journal for the Semiotics of Law-Revue internationale de Sémiotique juridique 32, pp. 155-186. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11196-018-9550-4.
Haider, A. S., Olimy, S. S. & Al-Abbas, L. S. (2021). ‘Media coverage of Syrian female refugees in Jordan and Lebanon’. SAGE Open 11 (1), pp. 1-21. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244021994811.
Heidari-Shahreza, M. A. (2019). ‘A sociolinguistic analysis of gender in Persian verbal humor: The case of online jokes’. Gender Issues 36 (1), pp. 46-66. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12147-017-9206-9.
Holmes, J. (1992). ‘Women's talk in public contexts’. Discourse & Society 3 (2), pp. 131-150. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0957926592003002001.
Judd, C. M. & Park, B. (1993). ‘Definition and assessment of accuracy in social stereotypes’. Psychological Review 100 (1), pp. 109. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295x.100.1.109.
Kianbakht, S. (2020). ‘Towards a comprehensive theory of culturally constructed humour’. The European Journal of Humour Research 8 (2), pp. 1-24. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.7592/EJHR2020.8.2.Kianbakht.
Kierkegaard, S. A. H. (2009). Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Crumbs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kotthoff, H. (2006). ‘Gender and humor: The state of the art’. Journal of Pragmatics 38 (1), pp. 4-25. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2005.06.003.
Marzuki, A., Chin, T. L. & Razak, A. A. (2012). ‘What women want: Hotel characteristics preferences of women travellers’, in Kasimoglu, M. (ed.), Strategies for Tourism Industry-Micro and Macro Perspectives, London: InTech, pp. 143-164.
Masaeli, B. & Heidari-Shahreza, M. A. (2016). ‘A linguistic analysis of Persian online jokes in light of general theory of verbal humor’. Journal of Applied Linguistics Language Research 3 (7), pp. 230-239.
McGhee, P. E. (1979). Humor, its Origin and Development. San Francisco: WH Freeman.
Moody, A. (2013). ‘Language ideology in the discourse of popular culture’, in Chapelle, C. A. (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics, Oxford: Blackwell.
Morreall, J. (2014). ‘Humor, philosophy and education’. Educational Philosophy Theory 46 (2), pp. 120-131. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/00131857.2012.721735.
Mulkay, M. J. (1988). On Humour: Its Nature and its Place in Modern Society. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Nayef, H. & El-Nashar, M. (2015). ‘Who is the culprit: The structure or the culture? Indirect sexism: Linguistic representation of women in Egyptian print media’. International Journal of Linguistics Communication 3 (2), pp. 164-175. doi: https://doi.org/10.15640/ijlc.v3n2a15.
Nezlek, J. B. & Derks, P. (2001). ‘Use of humor as a coping mechanism, psychological adjustment, and social interaction’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 14 (4), pp. 395-413. doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/humr.2001.011.
Pasaribu, T. A. & Kadarisman, A. E. (2016). ‘Coding logical mechanism and stereotyping in gender cyber humours’. A Journal of Culture, English Language Teaching Literature 16, pp. 22-48. doi: https://doi.org/10.24167/celt.v16i1.485.
Rashad, S. & Azher, M. (2018). ‘Women in jokes: A linguistic analysis of jokes on Pakistani social media in light of the General Theory of Verbal Humour’. Pakistan Journal of Women's Studies 25 (2), pp. doi: https://doi.org/10.46521/pjws.025.02.0049.
Schopenhauer, A. (1966). The World as Will and Representation (Vol. 1). New York: Dover Publications.
Schur, E. M. (1984). Labeling Women Deviant: Gender, Stigma, and Social Control. New York: Random House.
Sherman, D. K. & Cohen, G. L. (2006).’The psychology of self‐defense: Self‐affirmation theory’, in Zanna, M. P. (ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 38), San Diego, CA: Academic Press, pp. 183-242.
Shifman, L. & Lemish, D. (2010). ‘Between feminism and fun(ny)mism: Analysing gender in popular internet humour’. Information, Communication and Society 13 (6), pp. 870-891. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/13691180903490560.
Stangor, C. (2000). Stereotypes and Prejudice: Essential Readings. Psychology Press.
Sunderland, J. (2004). Gendered Discourses. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Talbot, M. M. (1998). Language and Gender: An Introduction. Polity: Cambridge.
Van Dijk, T. A. (2008). Discourse and Power. Houndsmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
Weatherall, A. (2002). Gender, Language and Discourse. Hove: Routledge
Weitz, R. (2004). Rapunzel's Daughters: What Women’s Hair Tells Us About Women's Lives. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
Wilson, C. P. (1979). Jokes: Form, Content, Use, and Function. London: Academic Press.
Woodruffe, H. R. (1997). ‘Compensatory consumption: why women go shopping when they’re fed up and other stories’. Marketing Intelligence Planning 14 (2), pp. 325-334. doi: https://doi.org/10.1108/02634509710193172.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Copyright (c) 2022 The European Journal of Humour Research