A university of Florida study has found that females are rarely the jokester in most comic strips and often are not even part of the humorous exchange.
An analysis of six of the most popular nationally syndicated comic strips over the course of a year shows that women appeared less than half of the time and when they did the gag was on them.
"When they do appear, for the most part, women don't say anything or act humorously but merely set up the joke and allow men to create the humor," said Daniel Fernandez-Baca, a Florida graduate study in sociology.
Women, he said, are used mostly to reinforce certain stereotypes such as the harried or henpecking housewife.
Why is this important?
"If comics perpetuate stereotypes of how men and women are supposed to act and what is appropriate to make fun about them, that is the way children will learn to behave," said Fernandez-Baca.
The six comic strips studied were "Blondie," "Beetle Bailey," "Family Circus," "Hagar," "Garfield," and "Dilbert."