The Problem When Sexism Sounds Friendly
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

The Problem When Sexism Sounds Friendly

Is benevolent sexism the new form of chivalry?

158
The Problem When Sexism Sounds Friendly
Feimineach

A while back, I wrote about a conversation I had with a male friend. I mentioned that as a response to something I stated, he remarked, "You're being overemotional. Stop acting like a girl." For reasons unknown to me at the time, this phrase was a trigger. Now that I've been able to reflect on this conversation three months later, I've come to realize that this phrase was a trigger because it is a degrading and sexist remark.

Recently, I had an argument with the same male friend and he made a new remark that upset me: "Your female intuition is failing." To another person, I will be deemed as being "extra" or "too emotional" because no one sees the issue with this phrase. For those very reasons, it is pertinent for me to explain how this phrase is a prime example of benevolent sexism.

Benevolent sexism is one of the hardest forms of sexism to recognize. This form of sexism appears as "a chivalrous attitude toward women that feels favorable, but is actually sexist because it casts women as weak creatures in need of men's protection." So how is the phrase counted as benevolent sexism? This phrase is benevolent sexism because it sounds (almost) complimentary. "Your female intuition is failing." That alludes to the idea that women are naturally more intuitive than men, but it also subtly implies that women are incapable of thinking logically. So if women are unable to think logically, does that mean men "pick up our slack?" Precisely (or at least that is the assumption).

And this is the issue with benevolent sexism. Most women fail to recognize it, because something that sounds friendly can't possibly be sexist, right? Wrong. It may sound like a compliment, but it still counts as sexism. Men use benevolent sexism (whether overtly or covertly) in an effort to justify women's subordinate status to their male counterparts.

The true issue arises when both women and men fail to understand the problem with benevolent sexism. If these sexist remarks seem to be nothing more than compliments, then why are they problematic? For starters, the "positive" comments leave a trail of typical stereotypes concerning women, and it hints to the idea of masculine dominance (the man is the provider and the woman is his dependent). Some women may still see no issue with this and that is okay, but to other women, especially women working in a male-dominated field, benevolent sexism is a serious issue.

As aforementioned, benevolent sexism can be difficult to spot. Unfortunately, it is likely that most women have already encountered it. Benevolent sexism appears in phrases such as: "Women have motherly instincts," "Women are more nurturing" and "Women are more intuitive." These common phrases support society's stereotypes of women, but at the same time, it contributes to the benevolent sexism that affects men. When these phrases reinforce the stereotypes about women, it suggests that men are not allowed to express gentleness, kindness and intuition. Men are deemed to be more aggressive and more logical, but bad at household chores and communicating.

There is no guarantee that benevolent sexism (and all forms of sexism) will cease to exist, but it is no secret that steps need to be taken. Most benevolent sexism is spoken by men, so because men seem to admire these qualities about women, they should work to achieve those qualities themselves. When men do possess these qualities, they should not be penalized and/or ostracized for them. The first step to eradicating benevolent sexism is to first be able to recognize it when it occurs.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Black Friday: Explained

Time to question this unofficial corporate holiday.

712
Flickr/John Henderson

On a personal level, Black Friday has always confused me. Everyone just ate a ton and spent all day with their families—why would we want to go out and vigorously shop, fighting crowds? I totally see why other people want to go do it, but I’ve never quite understood the concept myself. While I’ve been Black Friday shopping once or twice, I don’t get that excited about it unless it’s an opportunity to spend time with family or friends. Don’t get me wrong; I am the queen of bargains. Still, I never seem to have the energy to go out into the jungle of shoppers early the day after Thanksgiving, or even immediately after Thanksgiving dinner. Many people, though—including my loved ones—are enthusiastic about Black Friday shopping, and it seems most other Americans are the same way. So, it’s worth looking at the reasons for this commercially-driven, unofficial American holiday.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

#OptOutside This Black Friday

I am opting to go outside this Black Friday, and I hope you do so as well.

3032
Ross Woodhall

The day after Thanksgiving has always been regarded by many as the beginning of the Christmas season. While not a federal holiday, many people take off work, spend time at home with their families, and enjoy the beginning of the holiday season. This Friday off turned into a prime opportunity to begin the never-ending chore of Christmas shopping. Soon it became one of the busiest shopping days a year, which companies capitalized on by bringing the best deals of the year to this day we know as Black Friday.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

7 Moments You Only Experience As A Night Owl

Cereal never seemed more appealing than at 10 pm.

5434
7 Moments You Only Experience As A Night Owl

There is almost nothing more annoying in the world than waking up to the sound of an alarm. From the moment you get up until the time you get to bed, you are bombarded with responsibilities. You have to go to work and school, run errands, and do favors. But if you're a night owl then you have an advantage of getting a few more extra hours in the day. Here are seven perks to being a night owl:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

17 tasty foods to cook in an air fryer

Air fryers are becoming a staple in all health conscious households because of its delicious, yet grease free way of cooking your favorite dishes! We all love a good fried chicken dish, but this is a great alternative if you are eating mindfully.

There are plenty of places that sell air fryers such as Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and Amazon.

4681
Air Fryed Avocado Fries
Photo by: Tatum Oblonsky

Keep Reading... Show less
Wallpapers Pro

The Thanksgiving season is a time we spend with our loved ones giving thanks for the blessings we are given. Here are 20 Bible verses that remind us of what Thanksgiving is all about:

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments