Studies Show Chivalry Is Sexist

With the excellent debate going on in response to the recent Wise Guys question about men behaving chivalrously, we thought we’d stir the pot a bit by mentioning studies that suggest chivalrous behavior is a subtle yet harmful form of sexism, known as benevolent sexism. The term was coined in 1996 by the first study of this kind (as far as we know), which showed that men who exhibit signs of chivalry (opening doors open for women, always paying for the date, being protective) often exhibit signs of hostile sexism as well (thinking of women as less intelligent, weaker creatures whose place is in the home). These findings were supported by another study by the University of Michigan several years later. Dr. Daisy Grewal, writing for Psychology Today earlier this year, has a compelling round-up of a lot of the research on the topic, saying that “Both perspectives [hostile and benevolent sexism] fail to view women as multi-faceted equals to men.” She gets a heated response from a fellow Psych Today blogger, but Grewal holds her own in the comments section of that post (plus, that is the haircut of a smarmy benevolent sexist if ever we saw one). Have a read, then please to discuss.

Say Something

20 Comments on "Studies Show Chivalry Is Sexist"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
(opening doors open for women, always paying for the date, being protective) often exhibit signs of hostile sexism as well (thinking of women as less intelligent, weaker creatures whose place is in the home Ar you kidding me with this crap ok if you don’t damn well like it then don’t accept it. Another thing don’t bring your boys up to treat women with respect ugh god women are just never happy unless they can be bitches like this and i am tired of it. Seriously get off your perma pms and do something about it then you don’t like… Read more »

Non-feminists typically enjoy chivalry and don’t ever think it’s in any way demeaning. It’s only feminists that believe it to be “benevolent sexism.” As I said above, that makes it easy. Treat feminists equal to men; no chivalry for them, just the basic common courtesy that men give to other men is what feminists should get, nothing more, nothing less.

Benevolent sexism is everywhere. The “men opening doors” issue is just the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, has anyone read Ian Kerner’s “She Comes First?” I thought that book had a lot of benevolent sexism and demeaned female sexuality. Kerner acts like women should orgasm first during intercourse because they are sexually inferior. However, he does not mention that the REAL reason women should orgasm first is because of male weakness. After a man orgasms during intercourse, he can’t do anything. If a woman waits until a man climaxes, she will not get satisfied. Also, Kerner says it takes women… Read more »
I’m not shocked by those studies on benevolent sexism. I have found that men who INSISTED on opening the door for me are usually very male chauvinistic and believe that women need to be submissive. There is a difference between chivalry and courtesy. Chivalry is male chauvinistic but courtesy is egalitarian. Our culture needs to teach men to be courteous to women and other men. It’s embarassing when a man always holds the door open for me and holds out a chair for me. But it is disgusting when men slam the door in my face and arrogantly walk in… Read more »

Listen to Catch; they’ve got the right of it. And the great thing is, when you’re equal, you can both do “chivalrous” things for one another just because you like each other, not because anyone thinks they’re entitled to them.


The nice thing about dating a feminist is that it’s easier, cheaper, requires less thought and effort. It’s not much different than being with a guy since you don’t have to treat her any differently. You can show her the same (equal) level of courtesy and respect accorded a man. That is what feminism is about: equality.

Madamoselle L
A man opens a door for you, it is RUDE to either NOT go through the door (and even more rude to reprimand the man for trying to be nice) and RUDE to NOT thank him. I do not see this as “sexist” I see it as a man opening a door for me, period. I walk through, smile, nod, say, “Thank you, sir.” and keep walking. I have seen men actually GASP at my kindness. Why? I don’t know. Have other women given them dirty looks, or a lecture on 2nd wave feminism, there at the door? Or refused… Read more »