Benevolent Sexism: Do You Engage In It?

This whole post was brought about by a letter from a fella named Rob Fee, a write/comedian on the west coast. He wrote this, The Letter, and it was good. You should probably take a look at it as well. In it, he says, “Sure, there are males that experience this, but that doesn’t somehow negate the fact that all women do as well.”, which I found to be an honest observation. He sums it up well with, “Let’s stop trying to convince everyone that there isn’t a problem and start listening so we can figure out a solution.” Those are wise words. The words were measured and in an attempt to be helpful in the discussion. The man makes a living off of using words. I feel his perspective on the overall use of words in our society, is an informed one. He has perspective on this topic.

This whole discussion really did make me think. To be honest, it made my thoughts race. Having all girls, I want to do right by them. I wanna “give it my best shot” so to speak. But the whole debate seems so confusing and overwhelming.


Benevolent Sexism
In looking into this debate, my friend Lora, pointed out some studies and ideas being discussed in her academic sociology circles. That is to say, she studies this very layered topic and had some advice on where to start to grasp the notion of inequality among women in our country. She wasn’t proselytizing. She was being a caring friend, happy to share her knowledge with a dad who is really trying to sort through the hoopla. One study she sent me on the effects of over exposure to graphic pornography by heterosexual males, was titled “Pornography and the Sexist Attitudes Among Heterosexuals” mentioned “Benevolent Sexism”, a phrase I had never heard before. When I went to research it more, I found this article The Article. In it, it defines Benevolent Sexism as the following: “‘Benevolent sexism’ is the belief that women deserve to be protected and cherished by men, with the implicit understanding that these are perks in exchange for men’s general dominance.” To be frank, that makes me a little sick, that somehow that thinking could be inadvertently “programmed” into my girls psyche.

It makes me wanna buy them a fire arm as soon as they’re legally able to own one–but I know that’s a bit reactionary. Like Mr. Fee said, “start listening so we can figure out a solution.” I don’t know where to start, but I’m all ears on suggestions.

My girls are worth that effort, on my part, to present the truth to them, as best I see it. I owe them that much.


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