Why women, including feminists, are still attracted to “benevolent sexist” men


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<p>If a man offers to help a woman with a heavy suitcase or parallel park a car, what should she do with that offer?</p>
<p>Is it a harmless act of etiquette? Or is it a sexist insult to her strength and ability?</p>
<p>This action is called “<a href=Benevolent sexism“I firmly support the latter view.

But researchers also revealed a paradox: Women prefer men Someone who behaves in a way that can be described as more compassionate and sexist than those who do not.

How can this be done?

Some say that women are confused by the flattering tone of the brand’s tenderness and simply overlook how benevolent sexism can undermine them.Psychologists suggest benevolent sexism Obviously more harmful than hostile sexism It is insidious and behaves like a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.

As social psychologists, we reserved these conclusions. Are women sophisticated enough to know when men are patronized?

Surprisingly, previous studies have not tested whether women are actually aware that benevolent sexism can be patronized and weakened. And given the evolutionary background, I wondered if these behaviors were still attractive because they showed a potential spouse’s willingness to invest resources in women and their descendants.

So we conducted a series of studies to further explore the attractiveness of women to sexist men.

What does benevolent sexism really show?

The concept of benevolent sexism was first developed in 1996. The creators of the idea argued that sexism is not always openly hostile. For them, the attitude that “women should be valued and protected by men” and the behavior of opening car doors for women are incompetent and always in need of help. I consider it. Thus, they argued that benevolent sexism subtly undermines gender equality.

Since then, social psychologists have been busy documenting the harmful effects of benevolent sexism on women.

Studies show that women who agree with this behavior More and more dependent on men for help..They are more happy Allow men to tell them what they can and cannot do, More ambiguous about Think for yourself, that is Not so ambitious Performance is also not good At work or in cognitive tests..

Given these documented shortcomings, why are women still attracted to this behavior?

The answer is that evolutionary biologistsParental investment theory.. “

Males can reproduce normally by donating some sex cells, but female reproductive success must be related to the ability to complete months of pregnancy and lactation.

During much of human history, women’s ability to choose a spouse who would be willing to support this process would have increased by providing food and protecting it from invaders. Her reproductive success..

Therefore, evolution has shaped the psychology of women to their liking, paying attention to peers whose characteristics and behaviors reveal their willingness to invest. The muscular physique of the future spouse (and today, his big purse) certainly shows that he has this ability. However, opening the car door or providing a coat shows that he may have the desired temperament.

Women weigh

In a recently published surveyIn five experiments, more than 700 women between the ages of 18 and 73 took attitudes and behaviors that could be described as sexist, such as wearing coats and helping them carry heavy items. I had him read the profile of a man. box.

Next, we asked the participants to evaluate the attractiveness of men. Willingness to protect, serve and commit. And the possibility that he will patronize.

Our findings confirm that women recognize that they are more likely to favor compassionate and sexist men and undermine their partners.

However, we also found that women in our study perceive these men to be more attractive, despite potential pitfalls.

So why is it attractive to participants? In their response, women in our study rated them as likely to protect, provide, and commit.

Next, I wondered if these findings could actually be applied only to women who had no problems with their traditional gender roles.

To rule out this possibility, we investigated the degree of feminism in the participants. In a widely used survey It measures the attitude of feminists. We asked them to agree with opinions such as “Women should not interfere with child-rearing if they wish.”

We have found that strong feminists rate men as patronizing and weakening men over traditional women. But like other women, they still found these men to be more attractive. The downside was that men were more willing to invest. Even stubborn feminists seem to prefer chivalry companions who either receive a check on their first date or approach the curb on the sidewalk.

In this era when gender relations were in dire straitsOur findings reassure women who are confused about how they feel about men who behave chivalry, and well-meaning men who wonder if they should change their behavior towards women. May be given.

However, some interesting questions remain. Does benevolent sexism always undermine women? It may vary depending on the context. If a man patronizes a female colleague too much, his ability to project professional abilities can be compromised. On the other hand, it’s hard to see the harm of helping women move heavy furniture in the house.

Understanding these nuances may help reduce the negative effects of benevolent sexism without allowing women to reject the real good things that can result from this behavior.

This article will be republished from conversation, A non-profit news site aimed at sharing ideas from academic experts.

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The author does not work, consult, own shares, or receive funding for companies or organizations that benefit from this article, and discloses alliances related to anything other than academic appointments. not.