Behavior Modification

Why Some Women Are Into Benevolent Sexism

Why Some Women Are Into Benevolent Sexism

Women who respond positively to benevolent sexism aren’t unaware of its links to sexism, new research suggests.

For example, while some women like it when a man opens the door on a first date or offers to pay the bill at dinner, others find these kinds of gestures insulting.

Pelin Gul, a social psychologist and postdoctoral researcher at Iowa State University, says previous researchers have shown such gestures can undermine women, which is why they labeled the gestures “benevolent sexism.” Additional studies have found women prefer men with these behaviors, and claim women are unaware of the potentially negative consequences of men’s benevolence.

“As researchers, we’re not looking to give relationship advice…”

Gul wanted to know if there could be another explanation. To find out, she and colleague Tom Kupfer at the University of Kent in the UK designed a series of studies to test theories on mate preferences that they thought would help explain this apparent contradiction. Their work confirms women prefer men to be benevolent, but contradicting previous assumptions, they found women did recognize the potential harm.

“We found women were aware benevolent sexist men may be patronizing and undermining. However, they still found these men more attractive, because these behaviors signal a willingness to protect, provide, and commit,” Gul says.

The studies asked women to read profiles of men with or without benevolent sexist attitudes and then measure perceived warmth, attractiveness, willingness to protect, provide, and commit, as well as patronizing and undermining behavior. The paper appears in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

The researchers measured how women responded to benevolent behaviors in personal and professional relationships. Gul says in both cases, women were attracted to benevolent men, but it was stronger in the dating context. Interestingly, this was true for women who rated themselves as high as well as low feminists. High feminists rated the benevolent sexist men as more patronizing and undermining than low feminists did, but the positive sides of benevolent sexism outweighed the negatives, even for high feminist women.

“We know from previous research that women, across cultures, prefer a mate who is able to invest by providing resources,” Kupfer says. “Women also may be especially attentive to cues of willingness to invest when evaluating a man as a potential mate. Benevolent attitudes and behaviors may signal that willingness.”

While the research does provide an alternative explanation, it also raises questions. Gul says future work should look at whether awareness provides a protective factor, in that women might develop tactics to defend against benevolent sexist attitudes and behaviors.

She says it is also important to find out why women perceive benevolent men to be undermining and whether men use benevolence intentionally to undermine women. Gul cautions against trying to change these behaviors completely given their findings.

“As researchers, we’re not looking to give relationship advice, but understanding the detrimental and beneficial aspects of men’s benevolent sexism could help women and men have more satisfying relationships,” Gul says.

“Given a sufficiently nuanced understanding, it may be possible to reduce the harmful effects of benevolent sexism without rejecting men’s benevolence and its beneficial aspects.”

Source: Iowa State University

Related Books:

{amazonWS:searchindex=Books;keywords=Benevolent Sexism;maxresults=3}


 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

More Articles By This Author

You May Also Like

INNERSELF VOICES

illustration of a film strip with various scenic pictures on each frame
Designing a New Future for Yourself
by Carl Greer PhD, PsyD
In the physical world, things have a past and a future, a beginning, and an end. For example, I’m…
teacher standing in front of students in an open classroom
Becoming Passionate About Public Education Again
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
We are almost all lucky to have someone in our lives to encourage and motivate us and try to show…
Aurora photo by Valerie Pond, October 10, 2021, Yellowknife, NT, Canada
Horoscope Current Week: October 11 - 17, 2021
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
Flower growing through a chain-link fence
So Many Questions... So Many Answers?
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
We go through life with so many questions. Some are simple. What day is it? What will I have for…
rainbow over a field
Give Yourself Time, Be Kind, and Heal in Your Own Way
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
Unfortunately many of us have become victims of instant gratification. We want to succeed and we…
woman's head with a crack and with tree growing from the back of her head
Opening to a Whole New Way of Being
by Rabbi Wayne Dosick
Sometimes a pandemic—no matter how devastating—is just a pandemic. But sometimes— most times—it is…
Image of an open book floating in the sky with a tree growing out of the open book
Do You Believe in Miracles?
by Barry Vissell
Albert Einstein famously said, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing…
a rainbow in the palm of an open hand
Finding Silver Linings and Rainbows
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
Be open to discovering the gifts life is offering you -- expect silver linings and rainbows, be on…
Exercise: Sitting with the Shadow
Exercise: Sitting with the Shadow
by Raven Digitalis
We all have it ... those inner voices of pessimism and opti­mism ... an angel on one shoulder and a…
Why Geniuses Have Genius: The Power of Passion
Why Geniuses Have Genius: The Power of Passion
by Suzanne Falter
What geniuses do is straightforward enough — they recognize their gifts, and then they fully and…
2018 bleeding heart flower
Horoscope Week: October 15 to 21, 2018
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…

MOST READ

How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
by Jackie Cassell, Professor of Primary Care Epidemiology, Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
The precarious economies of many traditional seaside towns have declined still further since the…
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
by Sonja Grace
As you experience being an earth angel, you will discover that the path of service is riddled with…
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
by Barbara Berger
One of the biggest things I've discovered working with clients everyday is how extremely difficult…
What Men’s Roles In 1970s Anti-sexism Campaigns Can Teach Us About Consent
What Men’s Roles In 1970s Anti-sexism Campaigns Can Teach Us About Consent
by Lucy Delap, University of Cambridge
The 1970s anti-sexist men’s movement had an infrastructure of magazines, conferences, men’s centres…
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
by Susan Campbell, Ph.D.
According to most of the singles I have met in my travels, the typical dating situation is fraught…
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
by Glen Park
Flamenco dancing is a delight to watch. A good flamenco dancer exudes an exuberant self-confidence…
Giving Up All Hope Could Be Beneficial For You
Giving Up All Hope Could Be Beneficial For You
by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
If you're waiting for a change and frustrated it's not happening, maybe it would be beneficial to…
An Astrologer introduces the Nine Dangers of Astrology
An Astrologer introduces the Nine Dangers of Astrology
by Tracy Marks
Astrology is a powerful art, capable of enhancing our lives by enabling us to understand our own…

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeeliwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptroruesswsvthtrukurvi

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.