Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Being a Gentleman is actually sexist!

I get complained all the time about how un-gentleman i am. Often, i will be compared to guys who are willing to help a girl lift her stuff, clean her room, wash a clothes, cook for her and buy her all sorts of expensive stuff by some of my female friends. To them, a definition of a good boyfriend material is a guy who is gentleman, and by gentleman i mean a guy who is willing to do all the stuff listed above, without complaints. Maybe that's the reason why i'm still hopelessly single.


Well, you see, the problem it this.

The girls that normally complain that i'm not gentleman enough are also the girls that believes fervently in gender equality. According to them, women are equally as capable as men in terms of intellect, leadership abilities and every other domains you can think of. Therefore, when it comes to job opportunities, they believe that women can perform equally well if not better than men. To them, men who view women as incapable and would do better if they stay at home are sexists and should be burned to death.


This type of thinking, wanting guys to be gentleman and non-sexist at the same time often strikes me as being a little  ironic and contradictory most of the time.

If you have not noticed, chivalrous acts normally performed by gentlemen, such as helping women with her chores, indirectly encourages sexism. There's a word for it in psychology. It's called "benevolent sexism".

Let me explain.

Benevolent sexism in short, means "chivalrous attitude toward women that feels favorable but is actually sexist because it casts women as weak creatures in need of men's protection." It should not be confused with another type of sexism, hostile sexism, which is more explicit, direct and observable and the more widely seen version of sexism. Stereotypes such as "women are bad drivers" are an example of hostile sexism.

Benevolent sexism, on the other hand, takes on a more harmless, noble, or even "romantic" approach, but it's still sexism because the thinking still stems from the belief that women are inferior. It still prefers to keep women in traditional stereotyped roles such as housekeeper and non-working mother, it only uses more accepted explanation to justify the discrimination. For example, instead of saying "Women cannot work as well as men do and therefore she needs to stay at home", benevolent sexists say "Women should be protected from the evils of the working world and therefore should stay at home". Although the second explanation sounds much more nobler and chivalrous, it still stems from the thinking that women are incapable of taking care of themselves in the working world.

True gender equality means viewing women in the same terms of men. That if i think that men are able to withstand the amount of stress in work, women should do fine too. If a man can be a CEO, so can a woman. Unless, of course, you're not very favorable towards gender equality.

So to all my female friends out there, the next time you see me acting un-gentlemanly, don't complain that i'm not a gentleman, i'm just doing my part in promoting gender equality.


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