Turns out, women are hard-wired to be much more attracted to male protectors who espouse so-called "benevolent sexism" than men who treat them as equals. And the best part: this is true even for hardcore feminists, scientists found.
According to a new study from University of Kent and Iowa State University scientists, which was published on Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, women overwhelmingly preferred chivalrous men who viewed women as needing protecting. Researchers Pelin Gul and Tom Kupfer classify this apparently "patronizing" behavior as "benevolent sexism" (BS), or well-meaning sexism. The researchers suggest that women are hard-wired to overlook the "harmful consequences" of BS, "because BS mates are perceived as willing to invest (protect, provide, and commit)," reads the study's abstract. Gul and Kupfer chalk this up to natural selection, a symptom of which women have yet to shake.
As noted by The Daily Mail, the research was collected from five study groups full of women, with the largest group comprising of 233 women, and the smallest with 104. The females were asked to view scenarios of interactions from men, which "included men who were kind but in what is considered a sexist way, and men who treated the women as equals and didn't offer any special treatment." They were then asked to rate the men's "warmth and attractiveness, and how willing they thought they would be to provide for, protect or commit to them." They also divulged their own degree of their feminist leanings, outlining how "patronizing" or "undermining" they found the behavior.
"Women find benevolent sexist [BS] men attractive, not because they are ignorant of the harmful effects, but despite being aware of them," the scientists found. "This suggests that the desirable aspects of BS attitudes and behaviors are sufficient to overcome the perceived negative effects."
"Our proposal is that women approve of BS attitudes and behaviors because they are taken as cues that a man is willing to invest by being protective, providing, and committed," the duo added.
And it gets even worse for feminists who promote sameness instead of equality for the sexes: they desire "sexist" men, too!
"Evidence shows that many women – even those who desire [equal] relationships – want a man to be chivalrous, by, for example, paying for dates and opening doors for them," wrote the researchers. "Furthermore, the finding that high feminist women, and not only low feminist women, rated a [sexist] potential romantic partner as more attractive despite being more aware of the detrimental effects, suggests that the attraction may be a mate preference for women in general, and not just for women who endorse traditional gender roles."
Uh-oh, looks like we have a whole gender full of "internalized misogynists." Or maybe it's just biology; and men and women value different things and generally play different roles because — gasp — they are different.