In case you’ve been hiding under a rock lately – or watching the soon to be canceled show “Playboy Club” – so-called ‘benevolent sexism’ means doing or saying nice things for sexist reasons. For example, holding open a door for a woman (when you don’t do it for men), or offering to install a female co-worker’s computer (again, when you wouldn’t offer the same help to a man). It’s “subjective affection as a form of prejudice,” according to researchers Peter Glick and Susan T. Fiske, who first came up with the term benevolent sexism. If sexism isn’t always hostile, does that mean that the kinder, gentler version is a good thing? Or, at least, not a bad thing?
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