Stop Pedestalising Women

by Cam Fraser // August 29 // 0 Comments

Stop pedestalising women.

Taken at face value, this may sound insensitive. But, this is a sexist phenomenon, largely explored by social psychologists Peter Glick and Susan Fiske, known as benevolent sexism.

Benevolent sexism represents evaluations of gender that appear positive, but are actually damaging. It can be thought of in three ways: paternalism, gender differentiation and heterosexuality (Glick & Fiske, 1997).

Paternalism implies that men have a duty to protect and care for women because they're weak. It's the reason why we say "Women and children first" and why women were historically not permitted to join the military.

Gender differentiation implies that women should not deviate from traditional gender roles (e.g. wife and mother) and assumes that men depend on women to fulfill these roles. For example, “These occupations are female-dominated because women suck at being in charge” is bullshit, but “These occupations are female-dominated because women are so good at caregiving“ is a routine observation.

Heterosexuality implies that women should be idolized by men as objects of affection for their sexual purity and availability, viewing romantic intimacy as necessary to complete a man, positioning women as the gate-keepers of sex. This is why we say that men "Get lucky" when they have casual sex with women.

Central to benevolent sexism is the idea that men depend on women to fulfill certain goals. This dependency leads to idolization and the placing of women on a pedestal. A classic illustration of this is the modern-day concept of chivalry (Herzog & Oreg, 2008).

Although seemingly positive, being placed upon a pedestal is inherently restrictive. This can be confusing, considering women sometimes find benevolently sexist men - or, chivalrous men - attractive (Bohner et al., 2009).

You may be thinking, "How can it be sexist? It's nice!" But, pedestalization reinforces sexist attitudes.

Cam Fraser is a Certified Professional Sex Coach and Certified Sexologist. Being a former Tantric Yoga Teacher, his work integrates scientifically validated, medically accurate information about sexual health, with sacred sexuality teachings from the mystery traditions. As a coach, he helps men go beyond surface-level sex and into full-bodied, self-expressed, pleasure-oriented sexual experiences free of anxiety or shame.

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