June 16 2011

How Dare You be Nice to Me!

Anna Rittgers

Women beware!

Your husband, your boyfriend, your father, your son, even the male stranger who held the door open for you as you walked into your office building this morning are oppressing you...and you are not even aware of it!

Yes, I am talking about that ugly, yet heretofore unknown scourge of American society:

Benevolent Sexism.

At first glance, I thought the Daily Mail had fallen for a hoax, or at the very least a clever viral marketing campaign.

Alas, it is neither.

The Society for the Psychology of Women (it's real-I checked) published the study, conducted in America and Germany by Julia C. Becker and Janet K. Swim (yep, both real people). Their research was peer-reviewed, which doesn't necessarily mean that this is not a hoax, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

According to the Daily Mail (UK), Becker and Swim found: 


Men who open doors for women are guilty of 'benevolent sexism' according to a new study by feminist psychologists.

Helping the ladies choose the right computer as well as carrying their shopping are also signs of 'unseen' sexism in society, according to the report.

Referring to a group of men and women as 'guys' is also a no-no, says the research, meaning that even men who seem enlightened could be unknowingly committing daily acts of sexism.

It could also mean that women, too, are unaware of it but are unwittingly affected because it helps to create a culture of women being seen as the vulnerable sex who need a man's help.

Other examples of unseen sexism include calling women 'girls' but not referring to men as 'boys' and a man offering to do the driving on a long journey instead of a female partner.

But women don't get off so easily here---their research concludes that you, too, are to blame:

'Women endorse sexist beliefs, at least in part, because they do not attend to subtle, aggregate forms of sexism in their personal lives. ...

The study claims that both men and women are 'not aware of the overall prevalence and extent of sexism in their personal lives.'

But even though they are not aware of it, such regular and daily sexism only reinforces inequality and injustice, it is argued.

It is only by being aware that such 'unseen' and benevolent sexism can be tackled, said the report.

Be aware that Benevolent Sexism is not solely comprised of acts that were once considered chivalrous or polite:

"even romantic statements from men about how they cannot live without a woman or how much they 'cherish' women, said the study."

Hmm. So according to these professors, if men act like jerks and treat women poorly, they are sexists. And if men are nice to women, and let women know how much they appreciate them, they are still sexists--albeit benevolent sexists.

First the SlutWalk, now benevolent sexism . . . I'm beginning to suspect that the modern feminist movement is actually comprised of a bunch of honest-to-goodness misogynists whose goal is to make women look ridiculous.

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