The Issue of Benevolent Sexism Caused by the Practice of Etiquette in Society

Throughout all of history, there have been some forms of various rules of proper etiquette. Most of today’s etiquette rules are from the French Royal Court‘s rules in the 1600‘s, and were later adopted by other societies around the world These etiquette rules were designed as a way for social classes to separate themselves, and later on used to separate non»whites, immigrants, and children in both Europe and America (Herschman) As Judith, Nicholas, and Jacobina Martin tell us, “inchivalry originally applied only to upper-class ladies, and while a version of it was extended to the middle class in the nineteenth century, it never inspired anyone to defer to the lower classes” Despite the praise etiquette often receives in today’s society, it is extremely important to remember that etiquette not only undermines basic principles of egalitarianism but also promotes benevolent sexism.

Troy Patterson from Slate tells us that, “As is usual in matters of etiquette, true elites are principled egalitarians.

” This immediately creates a problem with social and dining etiquette, as well as the idea of socially appropriate clothing For example, what type of clothing that is considered socially appropriate varies from class to class, and therefore there is often a lot of discrepancy that is left for people, most often the upper class, to decide what is appropriate and what is not, according to these ‘chivalrous’ standards This inherently discriminates against lower classes and those who may not be able to afford clothing that is not considered appropriate by the upper classes that are practicing this idea of etiquette.

Get quality help now

Proficient in: Gender

5 (339)

“ KarrieWrites did such a phenomenal job on this assignment! He completed it prior to its deadline and was thorough and informative. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

Patterson continues and he tells us that “in the let century, mounting an intellectually coherent defense of this habit [of opening doors for women], [a man] must commit to opening doors for, yes, all women, offering equality of access to cordiality of ingress”

However, in the status quo, we are seeing that more often than not, men only open doors for women who are dressed appropriately; in some cases, women dressed ‘inappropriately‘ are not even allowed to walk through the door, much less have it held open for them Another issue is that the rules of social and dining etiquette, which are presented as rules for the consideration of others, are in fact class indicators to benefit those practicing such rules; those who do so practice these rules to merely avoid appearing as if they are from a lower social class than they truly are (Fox). These class indicators do nothing more than promote the gap in the social classes that exists in the status quo. Benevolent sexism that occurs through the practice of etiquette is working against gender equality in today’s society Jim Goh from Northeastern University tells us that etiquette and the idea of chivalry involves “a very paternalistic, protective view of women, and it seems kind of appealing as a sort of chivalry, but it does contribute to inequality because these men don’t expect women to achieve high goals” (Feltman).

An example of this is the act of waiting for women to sit down before men do; although this seems like a courteous gesture, it is actually a paternalistic practice that encourages the different treatments of genders Other examples include the act of pulling out a woman’s chair or holding a door open for a woman, which may seem like merely proper manners, acts of chivalry, or simply proper social etiquette, but in fact are actually acts that prolong and promote gender inequality through benevolent sexism. Judith Hall tells us this when he says: Benevolent sexism is like a wolf in sheep‘s clothing that perpetuates support for gender inequality among women at an interpersonal leveli These supposed gestures of good faith may entice women to accept the status quo in society because sexism literally looks welcoming, appealing, and harmless, (Benevolent Sexism) The impact of this benevolent sexism that is promoted through etiquette is a heavy one. Jacqueline Yi tells us “the endorsement of benevolent sexism is associated with placing blame on female victims of rape and domestic violence, while dismissing the intentions of male perpetrators.”

As we progress as a society, the ideas of egalitarianism and gender equality emerge as two very prevalent societal issues. If something is hindering societal progress, despite what the stated purpose of it is, it should not be continued Despite the fact that social etiquette, dining etiquette, and appropriate clothing are presented as good concepts that encourage good manners and interactions with others, the truth cannot be ignored. These etiquette rules are undermining the idea of egalitarianism, prolong the existing gap in social classes, and promote benevolent sexism, and therefore should not be practiced in order for society to truly progress and overcome some of the issues it faces. Chivalry is not dead, but it should be slaughtered and buried six feet under as soon as possible.

Cite this page

The Issue of Benevolent Sexism Caused by the Practice of Etiquette in Society. (2022, Nov 20). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7