This is the modern version of hostile sexism. Cool. You can leave a comment, or trackback from your own site. Women must be better at these jobs or be more naturally equipped for them, right? But the niceness stops there. Benevolent prejudice derives from their studies on ambivalent sexism, claiming that there are two main types of sexist attitudes: hostile and benevolent sexism. I’ve had the chance to test out a few different responses to this one, and I’ve found that saying, “No need to apologize. You think I can’t do it? This site uses cookies to provide you with a personalized browsing experience. And on the reverse side, saying something like, “All men are assholes” does some serious damage too. Women can say, “Oh yeah, men should cherish and protect women, for sure.” “Women are more pure and moral.” “A man needs a woman he can adore.” “He’s not complete without a woman.” Women can endorse that stuff as well. Because of course you need — you need — honest critical feedback! 33, pp. So is it actually two separate issues? As a result, even women and men who speak out against sexism can find themselves participating in benevolent or ambivalent sexism. Log in. In the case of gender in our society, classic males are dominant while classic females are subordinate. Because I have high standards and I think you will rise to meet them. So how do you resolve this paradox? These groups are typically at the mercy of the dominant groups (Pratto, et al., 2006). Know your HNGs from your FWBs? There’s this classic Motown song that goes, “I would kiss the ground she walks on, cause it’s my word, my word she’ll obey.”. Wrong. While the language may come off as complimentary, it also has a condescending nature that asserts that women are incomplete without men or are inferior to men. It’s this soft blanket that’s thrown over you and it’s very hard to reject. The effects are truly invisible. NLI: Why is it that priming benevolent sexism impairs performance but priming hostile sexism doesn’t? Hammond, M. D., Sibley, C. G., & Overall, N. C. (2014). Which Queen of Halloween Are You Based on Your Zodiac Sign? Dictionary.com Unabridged As great s this is, this means gender norms and gender-based language needs to be dismantled too. Sexist Message: A woman’s purpose is to serve a man’s every need. It’s not always going to be pleasant, but this is the aim, and it’s because I believe in you.”, Stay up to date with the latest from NLI's blog, Your Brain at Work, Copyright 2020 NeuroLeadership Institute | All Rights Reserved. “Affect” vs. “Effect”: Use The Correct Word Every Time. Benevolent sexism is not empowering. Women have lost their true identities and sights for what they need to become in the world of dominant men. Benevolent sexism is this view that women are wonderful, pure, fragile flowers in need of men’s protection and provision and being cherished and adored. Scientific American Global. Sure, the director was complimenting John’s cooking, but that doesn’t mean that the comment isn’t sexist. Most examples of benevolent sexism wouldn’t pass a typical sexism test. Women are socialized to believe they should gravitate toward compassionate or nurturing careers. Women often get softer feedback. And librarians, well, 83.8 percent women. PG: Right. And that’s why it becomes a female trait. But Glick and his colleagues have found that it actually undermines women’s careers by excluding them from challenging assignments and depriving them of honest, critical feedback. Benevolent sexism, unlike hostile sexism, feels positive and well-intentioned. Because benevolent sexism sounds really nice — and it is, by the way, subjectively positive on the part of men who hold these attitudes. Benevolent sexism, like hostile sexism, is an ideology that supports gender inequality, and in some ways benevolent sexism can be even more insidious. The females, in these cases are definitely the subordinate group while the men are the dominant group. This piece struck a chord with readers of both genders, and many shared experiences that, although not directly related to administrative tasks, fell into the category of ambivalent or benevolent sexism. These ideals are conditioned at the moment of birth by the type of words children hear at home, the influences of endless media exposure, and the influence of peers (Witt, 2000). Power and the creation of patronizing environments: The stereotype-based behaviors of the powerful and their effects on female performance in masculine domains. But challenging assignments are how you get promoted! A male co-worker, let’s call him John, baked and brought a pecan pie. And, hopefully, once I had taken this first step, other people at the table would have chimed in with similar sentiments. And unfortunately, the statistics won’t change until our attitudes do. A few months ago, I wrote a column about a situation I’ve experienced and witnessed more than I’d care for: being the only woman participating in a meeting or project—and thus being expected to become the team’s default administrative assistant. Translated into the workplace, ambivalent or benevolent sexism is behind the assumption that women are naturally better administrative assistants or naturally prepared to organize buying a gift for the boss. And certainly it is harmful to a society that strives for equal opportunity. This is a particularly good example of benevolent sexism because it’s efficient at insulting both men and women. Studies have found that it is an important perpetuating factor that helps maintain gender inequality (Hammond, et al., 2014). They thrive on that. When she’s not stuck in traffic, she enjoys writing poetry and running after her son. Men have to deal with this type of situation, too. If a man offers to help a female coworker set up an office computer, Glick said, and she accepts, she is perceived as warm, but lacking a level of competence. Benevolent sexist remarks help spread the stereotype of the weak, frail, and emotionally unstable female (Tannenbaum, 2013). His wife didn’t even help!”. It reinforces gender stereotypes and norms. So, again, acknowledging that these strategies are short-term fixes to a long-term cultural problem, I’ve collected a few responses that will help you tactfully handle these situations. What Is The Difference Between “It’s” And “Its”? Although s… Prior to our work, when you talked about sexism, people immediately thought about hostility toward women. Historically, and even today, men have more power and status. “Corporal,” “General,” “Sergeant,” “Private”: What’s The Order Of The Military Ranks? There I was, a graduate student who was writing a thesis about how sex education informs our conceptions of gender identity, who read feminist theory for fun, who had just marched around the capitol for an equal rights demonstration, and I had assumed that if a woman worked at a hospital, she was a nurse. It sounds a bit like a compliment to women. NLI: In what other ways does benevolent sexism undermine women? See more. It’s time to stop reinforcing it. Peter Glick is a psychologist who studies benevolent sexism — the paternalistic belief that women are pure, fragile flowers in need of men’s protection. For example, a few years ago, I was at our office’s holiday party. Since earning her BA from University of Virginia and her MFA from University of Utah, she's served in marketing and communication positions at a number of tech companies in the DC area. They tend to go together. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 658-672. Give us a break. But at the same time, this powerful group is intimately interdependent on the subordinated group!