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Benevolent sexism is a variety of sexism that is, on its surface, positive ("benevolent") toward women.

Examples

  • "Women are so good at communication"
    • This is an example of essentialism. To the extent that women seem to be better at communication than men, it's that higher expectations are placed on women.
  • "Women are great at understanding the user, so you should work on the front end" (Pigeonholing)
    • The belief that women have more empathy is another example of essentialism. Men are able to avoid learning social skills because they're not expected to be empathetic.
  • "Women are nicer and more polite than men"
    • This is benevolent sexism when stated as an innate truth about women, outside the context that women are systematically punished for not being excessively polite and deferential.
  • "Women are too smart to work long hours for little reward" [1]
    • If working long hours wasn't rewarding, then men wouldn't do it. Of course, many women don't want to work long hours for little reward, and most men don't either.
  • "Women are more interested in applications of technology to help people than in theoretical work"
  • "Women aren't violent"
    • Women can participate in the violent enforcement of patriarchy by committing violence against children and other women (an example of a patriarchal bargain). Women can and do commit child abuse; lesbian, bisexual or pansexual women in relationships with other women or with non-binary people can also engage in domestic violence against their non-male partners.

Research and further reading

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