At first it looks like a parody.
It looks as though someone with less than tender feelings about feminism had published some pseudo-research that would make feminists look like fools.
The Onion could not have done a better job.
Unfortunately, it’s not a parody. It’s what passes these days for serious research by scholars from a serious American university.
With heavy heart we turn to Kathleen Connelly and Martin Heesacker’s article, entitled: “Why Is Benevolent Sexism Appealing?” Co-authored by a graduate student and a professor at the University of Florida, is has been published by a scholarly Journal called the Psychology of Women Quarterly.
Here is how the PWQ describes itself:
Psychology of Women Quarterly (PWQ) is a feminist, scientific, peer-reviewed journal that publishes empirical research, critical reviews and theoretical articles that advance a field of inquiry, brief reports on timely topics, teaching briefs, and invited book reviews related to the psychology of women and gender.
The journal is so reputable that it charges $25.00 to read Connelly and Heesacker’s pseudo-research.
The buzz words in the description—“scientific,” “peer-reviewed,” “empirical research”—would lead you to believe that the articles in this review aspire to present objective facts.
In truth, they present feminist propaganda organ gussied up as serious academic research.
It’s easier to indoctrinate your students in your ideology if you pretend that your dogmas are hard science.
When a journal uses the trappings that accompany serious scholarship to hide its game, it is doing what I would call it cargo-cult scholarship.
The term cargo-cult originated with indigenous Pacific Islanders during World War II. Until the American military arrived in their midst these peoples had never before seen airplanes deliver provisions. When the cargo planes began to arrive they noticed that prior to each landing the soldiers set out two rows of smudge pots to demarcate a landing zone.
Naturally enough, they concluded that if they needed some now provisions all they had to do was to put out the smudge pots.
Thus, a cargo cult goes through the motions but does not deliver the goods.
A more benevolent soul than I, Charles Murray declares the Connelly/Heesacker research a window into the wild and wacky world of academic research. I see it as a sign of the systematic corruption of the marketplace of ideas.
Here is the authors’ abstract of the results of their research:
Previous research suggests that benevolent sexism is an ideology that perpetuates gender inequality. But despite its negative consequences, benevolent sexism is a prevalent ideology that some even find attractive. To better understand why women and men alike might be motivated to adopt benevolent sexism, the current study tested system justification theory’s prediction that benevolent sexism might have a positive linkage to life satisfaction through increased diffuse system justification, or the sense that the status quo is fair. A structural equation model revealed that benevolent sexism was positively associated with diffuse system justification within a sample of 274 college women and 111 college men. Additionally, benevolent sexism was indirectly associated with life satisfaction for both women and men through diffuse system justification. In contrast, hostile sexism was not related to diffuse system justification or life satisfaction. The results imply that although benevolent sexism perpetuates inequality at the structural level, it might offer some benefits at the personal level. Thus, our findings reinforce the dangerous nature of benevolent sexism and emphasize the need for interventions to reduce its prevalence.
Murray points out that “benevolent sexism” means gentlemanly behavior. He entitles his post: “The bad news is that gentlemanly behavior makes people happy.”
I’m assuming that the authors are echoing the concept of “benevolent despotism,” an eighteenth century practice whereby European rulers tried to manage the rising demands for greater freedom by instituting “benevolent” reforms.
Connelly/Heesacker have discovered that when men behave like gentlemen toward women it produces “life satisfaction” for both parties.
They conclude that gentlemanly behavior is “dangerous” and that we must intervene “to reduce its prevalence.”
By their pseudo-reasoning, the positive benefits that accrue to men and women when men act like gentlemen provide a false sense of satisfaction that undermines the feminist revolution.
It’s not a new idea. It echoes an old idea that we owe to Karl Marx. Translated it means that “benevolent sexism” is the opiate of the masses.
Since I did not spring for the $25.00 fee to read the article, I can only surmise that by benevolent sexism the authors mean such simple courtesies as asking a woman out on a date, paying for her, holding the door for her, helping her with her coat, accompanying her home and so on.
This argument is not new. It came in with second wave feminism. It was intended to assert women’s independence and autonomy. It resulted in more men treating more women discourteously and disrespectfully.
From a feminist perspective, if a man acted like a gentleman, a woman was expected to act like a lady. This was a bad thing, a betrayal of a woman's allegiance to the feminist cult.
Feminists believed that gentlemanly behavior signified that women were the weaker sex, needing male protection.
They also believed that when a man paid for dinner and a show a woman felt obligated to repay the favor with her “favors.”
From a feminist perspective it’s better for women to give it away for free because then she will not feel that she is being bought.
As I say, feminists have been rebelling against “benevolent sexism” for around four decades now.
As a result, women are more likely to be abused. They are more likely to be used for sex. They are less likely to be involved in sustained relationships.
Men have been excoriated for acting courteously and politely, lest they be accused of being patronizing, so they have concluded that they need to act badly toward women.
Men concluded that they could further the revolutionary feminist cause by being revolting.
When feminism decided that courtship and even dating was a relic of a bygone age, all the rude, lewd, crude dudes rejoiced.
Today, Connelly and Heesacker have their backs.