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Firstly, let’s get this out of the way: am I a feminist? Damn straight I am. By what definition? This one:

There are just two pieces of dogma in my understanding of feminism:

1. Society deals with gender in a way that harms women

2. This is a problem that must be corrected

You’ll notice that they have nothing to do with: men, race, class, liberty, religion, teleology, biology, consumerism, violence, sex, or shoes. This is deliberate.

Next, this picture.

real_men_still_do_this-121767

The thing is: maybe they shouldn’t. This is a manifestation of what some researchers call benevolent sexism. It’s characterized by the belief that “women are pure, moral, pedestal-worthy objects of men’s adoration, protection, and provision. People who endorse benevolent sexism feel positively toward women, but only when women conform to highly traditional ideals about “how women should be.” [See this post]

Moreover, “Benevolent sexism motivates chivalrous acts that many women may welcome, such as a man’s offer to lift heavy boxes or install the new computer. While the path to benevolent sexism may be paved with good intentions, it reinforces the assumption that men possess greater competence than women, whom benevolent sexists view as wonderful, but weak and fragile.”

In other words, this could actually be the complete picture.

I’m not saying this is established fact, but it’s very much worth thinking about. Read more here and here.

In any case, please don’t interpret the above as my being against affirmative action for women. In fact, I think placing women in leadership roles (even if they don’t “win” those roles in competition with men) can create very beneficial results for entire societies. This experiment strongly supports that idea.

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