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.


  1. (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 it grab the chque first you don’t want him to then hold your own damn door instead of being a typical C U Next Tuesday. Maybe you would rather a guy tell you to go F yourself pay for your own dinner and stop his foot waiting for you to open the door for him would that be better? All I have to say is wow I am glad I grew up with a wonderful mother an amazing sister and one hell of a role model for a dad because i would never want to become bitter jaded and a flat out bitch like you . As i presume now you are going ohhhh I just posted it it was someone else that wrote it well ummm you who your the bitch that posted it so you must see some truth in it so get of your what you think you have as a high horse.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 around 20 minutes to orgasm, but neglects to mention that without intercourse, it takes a woman only 5 minutes to climax.

    Kerner says he wants to turn “foreplay” into “coreplay.” YUCK! Kerner privileges intercourse over all other sexual acts because it benefits the male.

    Kerner, like so many other sexologists, takes the sexiness out of sex because he’s a benevolent male chauvinist.

  4. 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 front of me. Both views are inherently anti-woman.

  5. 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.

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