There are already plenty of reasons to not date a sexist man, see adjective, but here’s another just in case you were faltering in regard to life choices – it might make you sexist.
A new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that a woman becomes more sexist when she dates a sexist man long-term. Mammy was right about unsavoury company – bad manners rubs off.
Social psychologist Matthew Hammond led the study at the University of Illinois which encompassed more than 1000 heterosexual couples in North America and New Zealand. (The University of Auckland also worked on the study.) Female participants were asked to categorise their own sexism and then their partner’s sexism. The women catergorised whether they or their significant other displayed ‘hostile’ or ‘benevolent’ sexism.
Hostile sexism was when you endorsed derogoatory beliefs about women – bad drivers, dishonest – and you thought women tried to gain more power by controlling men. Benevolent sexism was a less blatant kind of sexism, with a lot of it tied up with chivalry – men should look after their woman and protect her.
Participants were later asked to rate themselves again. The study found that women’s level of their perceived sexism shifted over time while men’s remained the same. If the partner was benevolently sexist, the woman tended to align herself similarly.
On the outside, tolerating benevolent sexism seems much better than being in a situation where hostile sexism runs rife. However, it can lead to women developing feelings of incompetence and much worse. Fusion quoted Hammond as writing the following: “Women’s acceptance of benevolent sexism is linked with felt incompetence, a lack of desire for independent success, harsher attitudes toward victims of acquaintance rape and decreased support for societal policies promoting women’s workplace advancement.”
The good news from the study? If you date a feminist you internalize all that nasty misogyny a lot less, so look for guys who like to Netflix and chill with a side serving of The Good Wife.