Fulfillment at Any Age

How to remain productive and healthy into your later years

What Makes a Man a Great Romantic Partner?

Of the many factors that influence relationship quality, mutual respect and liking are at the top of the list. Having a man with non-sexist attitudes is one way to guarantee that you’ll get that respect. New research shows how these key beliefs are shaped early in life and how you can use this knowledge in ways that will enhance your current and future relationships. Read More

" Men’s attitudes toward

" Men’s attitudes toward women are classified according to the distinction between “hostile” and “benevolent” sexism. "

Unfortunately you miss out a third category: men who are neither. I think, also, that many people would contest that by treating a woman that they are romantically attached to as 'special' that is a form of sexism. I find that extremely odd.

Finally, the expectations and that women place on their male partners are also becoming increasingly viewed, in their own right, as sexist constructs. Though of course you don't mention this.

Re: Men's attitudes toward

Dear Ryan, Thank you for commenting on my post. I believe that I did, however, cover the category of men who are neither because they would be low on both types of sexism. I hope that was clear but maybe I didn't draw enough attention to that group which, as you correctly note, are an important category. In terms of putting women on a pedestal, I would just say that, as I may have mentioned, men who express benevolent sexism are more open to communicating with their partners. However, the danger to a woman's self-esteem of dealing with a man who puts her on a pedestal is that, over time, she questions her ability to do things on her own. Hope this helps and, again, thank you for your comments! Best, Susan

Yea, Ryan, my feminism never got me laid either.

Tell a friend.

The most sexist idea ever invented was the one about how only men can be sexist. No matter what guilt-tripping charges are filled by the Attitude Police, women are way bigger sexists than men could ever dream of being. Takes one to know one.

When the code of chivalry -- benevolent sexism -- was changed from woman's privilege to woman's oppression, the entire system began to break done. As well it should. And good riddance too!

How about, shamelessly

How about, shamelessly plugging your own cause on what's clearly a woman's issue being an act of blatant sexism and as already established, making our vaginas dry up and cease to want what you're offering :)

'' I think, also, that many

'' I think, also, that many people would contest that by treating a woman that they are romantically attached to as 'special' that is a form of sexism. I find that extremely odd.''

Indeed, I think that is odd too...

It isn't about pedestals.

I happen to like men who pay for lunch, dinner and occasionally give me gifts. I like the sentiment, and I don't see those men as sexist. And if you knew me, you would know that I am very independent minded and are unlikely to be swayed by any man. I will tell you that I am great friends with a lot of men and the men that I like treat me like gold (inc. my husband). I do things exclusively for myself, and I like to spoil the men who spoil me. Go figure!

It isn't about pedestals.

Dear Anonymous Bonobo Chimp,
Well, no statistical results ever cover everybody. It sounds like you have the best of all possible worlds! Best, Susan

Hi Susan Thanks for taking

Hi Susan

Thanks for taking the time to reply & clarifying the second point: I hadn't seen it in that manner. I do think, though, it is dangerous to label men as 'sexist' per se in this sense - even benevolently.

Why? Well, what are we to make of the component of women that encourage/expect men to pedestalize them in order to consider dating them at first -- or to remain in a relationship? These expectations are numerous in the relationship-blogging-advice-media sphere.

Are they sexist also perhaps? They're certainly not exempt from responsibility -- and for that reason I find it upsetting when men are negatively portrayed as 'sexist' for becoming the artefact of some women's expectations.

Unfortunately, as with many arguments of this sort, though it is men who carry the entirety of the negative labelling.


Re: Hi Susan Thanks for taking

These debates do get emotionally charged, and that's why it seems important to stick to the empirical evidence. I do hope my readers won't just take my word for it, but will use these articles to get them started on exploring the topics in more depth, should they wish to. Thanks again for your comments!

I would be hard pushed to

I would be hard pushed to accept there is an empirical measurement of the class of 'sexism' you are claiming. The differences expressed already in the comments section demonstrate the subjective nature of that property.

As a final comment, I happen to think that the majority of people would agree with me that an accusation of sexism towards men (or women for that matter) who treat a significant other as 'special' is extreme.


Ryan (in total emotional sobreity).

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her latest book is The Search for Fulfillment.


Subscribe to Fulfillment at Any Age

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.