haggis: (Celtic)
[personal profile] haggis
While I am on a roll, I am going to rant about another defence of Tim Hunt -that he 'meant well'.
This article (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/psysociety/benevolent-sexism/) does a really good job of summarising what benevolent sexism is and why it is damaging.

"[Benevolent sexism is] a subjectively positive orientation of protection, idealization, and affection directed toward women that, like hostile sexism, serves to justify women’s subordinate status to men."

Under the touchy-feely stuff, benevolent sexism implies that women are weak, sensitive creatures that need to be “protected.”  They are naturally interested in motherhood and caring for others ... so we don't need to praise them for doing those things or acknowledge that they require hard work.

Benevolent sexism is usually contrasted with hostile sexism, which is characterised by obvious hate and fear of women but the two are strongly linked.  In a study across different countries, Glick and Fiske found that countries with high rates of benevolent sexism have high rates of hostile sexism and that countries with high rates of benevolent sexism had the most gender inequality. Gender equality in this context means "men lived longer, were more educated, had higher literacy rates, made significantly more money, and actively participated in the political and economic spheres more than their female counterparts".

Benevolent sexism is enraging because it is harder to challenge than hostile sexism and because benevolent sexists are psychologically protected against recognising their own sexism.  "He meant well" is NOT a defence for the stupidity of advocating for "separate but equal" gender segregated science labs.

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