This paper examines the ideologies encoded in popular internet humor about gender in the context of contemporary debates about post-feminism. Five major themes in genderfocused humor were identified in a grounded analysis of 150 popular internet texts. In addition to three traditional themes-sex, marriage, and blondes-the two post-feminist themes found were gender differences, referred to as "Mars and Venus," and individualism and empowerment, tagged as "Girl Power." While seemingly new as themes and genres, our interpretation leads to the conclusion that these are, in fact, symptoms of "backlash" (namely, innovative repackaging of old sexist themes). Whereas sexist and post-feminist notions are dominant in these exemplars of popular online humor, critical feminist texts were found to be nearly absent, as was concern for the public sphere or issues of ethnicity, class and sexual preference. The concluding discussion focuses on the mechanism that enables popular internet humor to be a sophisticated and powerful vehicle for naturalization of so-called "universal" stereotypes about gender differences.
- "Mars and venus"
- Gender differences