"What is this 'benevolent sexism?'" scoffs Katherine Timpf of National Review. "Sounds like a feminist conspiracy to shame men away from being nice to me. NICE IS NICE, FEMINIST KILLJOYS."
Benevolent sexism, or as I like to call it, BS, is the idea that men who treat women like they're super special humans who shouldn't have to open their own doors or pull out their own chairs aren't actually the Nice Guys they claim to be, but are actually just as sexist as the douchebro who goes "Ugh, WOMEN, amirite?"
It's also been around forever, so the recent study that came out adding evidence to the pile is pretty yawn-worthy to feminists who have already been talking about this for decades. But it's caught the attention of anti-feminists of all genders who have taken the opportunity to willfully miss the point and go "LOL silly feminist research scientists think being nice is sexist, what will they come up with next?" You know, right before they start screeching about feminists ruining men forever.
Timpf goes on to cherry pick sentences from an article that she can highlight to make it seem like the study is saying that being nice to ladies = sexism, entirely ignoring context to fuel her outrage that FEMINISTS, UGH.
The point of BS, of course, is that there are men who think that women suck and therefore should be treated badly, and then there are men who think that women suck and therefore should be treated like children. It's the difference between outright meanness and condescension. Is one really better than the other? Personally, I prefer to deal with straightforward assholery. I think a lot of people feel the same way.
It's also the difference between "Oh, that person looks cold, I will give them my jacket because I am not so cold" and "Oh, that women looks cold, if I give her my coat she'll have to fuck me in return!" The whole "vending machine" deal. No thanks, I'd rather be cold.
This all goes way over the head of Katherine Timpf (or more likely she chooses to duck under it) who thinks that the study is saying that any sign of niceness from any man to any woman under any circumstance is immediately sexism. She then goes on to say that she totally wants men to give her their coats and their spots on the lifeboat, because lol, who wants to drown, right? She also doesn't seem to understand that being put on a pedestal is actually not a good thing in any kind of human relationship. I'd rather not be dehumanized in such a way, because, you know, actual human beings are complex and have flaws. And falling off of that pedestal is not pleasant.
It's also hilarious how anti-feminists are reacting to this study considering how they're the ones that come to me to say that the Titanic "women and children first" deal is proof that men are actually the oppressed ones in our society.
"Look, men are expected to save those too weak to save themselves first, and in our society, that includes women, how unfair to men!" they cry. "Woe is me, how will I ever be on a boat?!"
Yet when we feminists say "actually, we don't want to be treated like children" it's "LOL silly feminists, go ahead and DROWN then, if that's what you want!"
There's no winning with these people.
The best (worst) part of this is that the second we try to explain benevolent sexism and ask that men just treat women like people, thus sparing them from the terrible burden of opening all those doors and giving away all their coats, the immediate reaction is "FINE then, we won't do ANYTHING for you EVER, we'll just OVERTLY treat you like SHIT if that's what you WANT. NO COATS FOR YOU, FEMINISTS. CHECKMATE."
Or in Katherine Timpf's case, worrying that studies on BS will make men too afraid to give her coats, because they might be seen as sexist! It's not like men are capable of actually considering the subconscious intent behind their actions or doing any kind of self-examination in terms of learned behavior and latent attitudes about women.
The only reason men might shy away from doing any nice things for women ever is because of articles like Katherine's that cherry pick shit and present everything out of context while deliberately misinterpreting every statement from the researchers in an attempt to make it seem like they're saying all nice things men do for women is sexism, even though if you read the original article, it's super clear that this is not the case. Way to go, Katherine.