Here’s a warning to all those politically correct “woke” guys out there who jump on feminist bandwagons at a moment’s notice: Girls don’t dig you.
That’s what new research suggests, at any rate.
A study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin says that women prefer men who display “benevolent” sexist attitudes because these indicate men are willing to make an investment — “protect, provide, and commit” — in a relationship.
Dr. David Ley in Psychology Today notes this “benevolent sexism” is “overtly less hostile and misogynistic” than typical sexism, and includes characteristics like believing “women should be ‘put on a pedestal,’” “women should be cherished and protected by men,” and “women are more virtuous than men.”
However, not is all beer and skittles with the concept. Utilizing different experiments, researchers Pelin Gul and Tom Kupfer found that although women found BS men more enticing, they also thought they were more “undermining and patronizing [and] were more likely to place restrictions on the women.”
Even in men who were not being scoped out as potential intimate partners, women were more likely to see sexist men as more attractive. Women who were both more and less feminist displayed similar levels of attraction to sexist men, so this effect isn’t the result of women not being “woke” enough.
One of the experiments tested whether women’s ratings of sexist men varied depending on cues about there being more hostile men around from whom the woman might need protection. But here again, women’s attraction towards sexist men wasn’t influenced by her potential need for safety from more hostile men.
Gul and Kupfer’s research offers a new way to approach these complex dynamics of attraction, integrating the role of evolutionary influences, with culturally-influenced social role expectations. It also challenges some of the misleading beliefs that blame both women and men for the persistence of sexism in our society. It’s important to note that sexism and misogyny are not identical concepts. Kate Manne suggests that misogyny is more about control of women than about hatred, and argues that sexism is more of an ideology that supports the reasons why we treat women differently.
Ley concludes that perhaps these studies will help us look beyond sexist men “as being misogynistic tools of the patriarchy,” and realize there are many factors that go into men’s and women’s choices beyond “power, hatred, or control.”
h/t Cynthia Garrett
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