Benevolent sexism is a part of a model of sexism developed by Peter Glick and Susan Fiske in 1996. Benevolent sexism, as opposed to hostile sexism, often seems to be a favorable view towards females, despite being grounded in gender stereotypes. For example, the beliefs that women are more nurturing, the men should always pay for a date, and that women should be rescued first from a sinking ship are all indicative of benevolent sexism. Benevolent sexism has three sources: protective paternalism (wanting to protect women), complementary gender differentiation (viewing women as different and better), and heterosexual intimacy (worshiping women).

A problem can arise when women are opposed to hostile sexism but not benevolent sexism, such as demanding equal pay for equal work but also believing a man should open the door for a woman. Men often view this as a double standard.

Glick and Fiske found that both types of sexism can, and generally do, coexist. Men who exhibit signs of benevolent sexism also tend to exhibit signs of hostile sexism. This is part of the reason that benevolent sexism may not be as harmless as it seems: it is clearly linked to the more injurious hostile sexism. This may help explain why sexism is still so prevalent in our society. Since the two are related, we can't eliminate the one without the other. Allowing benevolent sexism to remain may be forcing hostile sexism to stay, too.

Based on the published works of Glick and Fiske and a recent lecture in my psych of sex differences class.