Why LDS Women Are (Often) Sexist

Image result for depression eraIn a discussion about the election results, one of my friends asked why so many white women voted for Trump if he is so sexist. My intuitive response was “Because they are married to white men.” It was a guess that had a certain ring of truthiness to it, but I wasn’t entirely sure I could articulate why. What I meant by it is that, sexism aside, many Trump voters felt that the Republican platform will mean a better economic future for them, that they feel the Democrats have reduced their financial prospects, and that white men in particular feel held back and disenfranchised. If their wives are financially dependent on them (whether secondary income or no income), we shouldn’t be too surprised that they agreed with their husbands. [1] But to vote for Trump, even out of self-interest, voters in 2016 also had to overlook the misogyny of their candidate. To me, that was where the more interesting story was.

There was a great article in vox explaining why so many women voted for Trump. There had been a pre-election article that I blogged about here showing that Trump’s popularity correlated with hostile sexism among his supporters. This post-election article explained why women will support a hostile sexist, and the reasons sound pretty darn Mormon. Here are the conditions that foster sexism among women:

  • A sense that their opportunities are limited
  • Doom & gloom rhetoric about the world getting worse

Two Types of Sexism

Before we get into the culture that fosters sexism in women, let’s review a couple terms. There are two types of sexism, and both exist in our society at large and in the church.

  • Benevolent sexism. This is based on the idea that women are morally superior, kinder, gentler, more nurturing, and so on. Men should protect women, and women should be treated with extra special care and respect. See talks like “LDS women are incredible!” This type of sexism is patronizing, and literally, men are patrons (a person who gives financial or other support) to women.
  • Hostile sexism. The underlying belief of hostile sexism is that women are out to manipulate and trick men, that women act in bad faith, that they want something from men or are to blame for the shortcomings of men. This paints feminism as a zero-sum game. If women have opportunities, men are emasculated. Success for women is seen as a threat to men. Hostile sexism is also behind rape culture, victim blaming, and modesty rhetoric that implies men are not accountable for their actions if women dress a certain way. When Trump said that Bill’s infidelities were probably because Hillary wasn’t a good enough wife, that was hostile sexism. While most Mormons are not hostile sexists (neither are most people which makes Trump exceptional), there were a few chilling comments from female Trump supporters that illustrated what hostile sexism looks like coming from a woman.

For an interesting contrast between the two types of sexism, consider E. Oaks’ 2005 talk entitled “Pornography” that cautioned young women:

And young women, please understand that if you dress immodestly, you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you.

If he is saying this to protect women from men’s baser instincts, the statement is benevolent sexism. If he is saying this to blame women for the actions of men, the statement is hostile sexism. It all depends whether he views women as innocents who don’t understand the reactions they create in men (benevolent sexism) or as temptresses who understand only too well (hostile sexism).

Image result for woman pedestal sexismBy contrast, a non-sexist perspective would be to hold individuals accountable for their behavior regardless of sex, and to defend and protect those who are assaulted or victimized regardless of their sex–because they are people.  From the vox article, here’s how Benevolent Sexism interacts with Hostile Sexism:

Benevolent sexism is the carrot, Glick explained, and hostile sexism is the stick. If you’re a “good” woman who meets expected gender norms — who has warm feminine charms, who maintains strict beauty standards, whose ambitions are focused on home and hearth — you will be rewarded with affection, protection, and praise. But step outside those norms, and you risk being labeled as one of the “bad” girls who are abused and scorned only because they deserve it.

It’s a tidy little cycle. Benevolent sexism is supposed to protect women from hostile sexism, and hostile sexism is supposed to keep women in line with the ideals of benevolent sexism.

As the article points out, male dominance is difficult to maintain.

Male dominance actually requires a pretty delicate balance, Glick said. If men want to maintain the control over women they’ve enjoyed for thousands of years, and continue their species, and satisfy their desires for heterosexual love and companionship, they can’t just use brute force. They need women to actually like them and not resent their dominance.

And so a compromise emerged — or at least a “protection racket,” as Glick calls it, like when the Mafioso tells the businessman he’d hate to see his nice shop burn down, so why don’t they make a deal.

The basic agreement is that as long as women cater to men’s needs, men will protect and cherish women in return. If women have few good options for independent success, this is a pretty good deal — which explains why in more overtly sexist societies where women have fewer opportunities, cross-national studies show that women endorse benevolent sexism at even higher rates than men do.

The Politics of Sexism

To some extent, it’s easy to see why conservative women (married to conservative men) would be more tolerant of sexism, but there’s also a populist angle. Women with college degrees voted for Hillary; those without voted for Trump (see analysis here). Women overall supported Clinton over Trump by 54% to 42%; white women who were college graduates supported Clinton 51% vs. Trump 45%. White women who were non-college grads showed a marked preference for Trump, 62% vs. 34% for Clinton. If education is a proxy for opportunity, women with less opportunity felt drawn to Trump.

On one level, that sounds like an economic and political reason, even if they had to hold their noses to vote. If we look closer, though, we see that there’s an intersection between sexism and conservativism when women have limited financial prospects.

Image result for disbelief gifWomen who supported Trump said some very interesting things in his defense:

“I do find the words offensive, but that’s locker room talk. That’s the boys club.” Michelle Werntz

“I heard that he said something about groping women, and I’m thinking, Okay, No. 1, I think that’d be great. I like getting groped! I’m heterosexual. I’m a woman, and when a guy gropes me, I get groping on them! I grope them back. Groping is a healthy thing to do. When you’re heterosexual, you grope, okay? It’s a good thing.” Jane Biddick

Seeing feminism as a threat to masculinity is a hallmark of hostile sexism. Hostile sexists believe that “most women interpret innocent remarks as sexist” and “many women are seeking special favors under the guise of asking for equality.”:

“If women grabbed men like that, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But if men do that to women, they blow it out of proportion.” Valerie Still

“We have become so wussified. Pretty soon, saying hello to someone is going to be considered harassment.” Merchon Andersen

Another mark of hostile sexism is seeing women, particularly ambitious or independent women, as acting in bad faith, liars, untrustworthy, while holding men to a lesser standard, excusing their bad behaviors, applying different motives to men and women that exonerate men and condemn women.

“I honestly don’t trust Hillary Clinton. I just feel like she’s a liar.” Nicole Martin

“We believe that Trump has made some recent changes, growing stronger in his own Christian beliefs and putting Christian people around him. As a woman advocate, I still have no sympathy for Hillary Clinton. I’m sure if a woman were a godly person, I could be proud of that. But I would never be proud of Hillary. Unless she totally recanted, repented — and frankly, if she did that, she would reveal what’s she’s done, and she’d be in prison. She has a very dark side. I think Trump put it in good words, I just recently read, about a dark soul.” Debbie Eberly, comparing a Methodist grandmother who can’t manage her emails with an accused child rapist who is apparently an expert on dark souls

“I think Hillary is crooked enough to pay women to talk badly about Trump.” Valerie Still

Image result for disbelief gifSAHMs and Sexism

Voting statistics from this election showed that women support sexism when their opportunities are limited.  For those whose choices are limited through lack of education or financial dependence on a single breadwinner, sexism protects them, even though it’s also what limited them in the first place. Women in the church are encouraged to stay at home with children rather than pursuing a career, making them completely financially dependent on a husband. Sometimes women have been told to finish their degree as a “fallback” position, and yet without workplace experience, even a short off-ramp can drastically reduce opportunity for women. As one commenter on a recent blog post at By Common Consent put it:

I always prided myself that I got my degree. I never realized how worthless it would be twenty years later. How I could only get the same jobs my freshly out of high school kids could get. My degree seems to mean very little.

When a woman is dependent on sexism for survival, sexism doesn’t bother her–or at least she can maneuver her way around it; she can tell herself it’s normal (“boys will be boys”) or every man is like that. She can afford to overlook it. When sexism is a threat to her survival, it bothers her. She can’t afford to give it a pass.

Pessimism and Sexism

“The world is getting worse and worse” is a mantra we often hear at church.  The world is a dangerous place, increasing in wickedness until the second coming. If you don’t believe that, you must be wicked, too, or “past feeling.”

“In many ways, the world is like a jungle, with dangers that can harm or mutilate your body, enslave or destroy your mind, or decimate your morality.” E. Scott, Don’t Face the World Alone, 2007

“Friends, you know what I know—that there is in the modern world so much sin and moral decay affecting everyone, especially the young, and it seems to be getting worse by the day.” E. Holland, Standing Together for the Cause of Christ, 2012.

Image result for world getting worseThe thinking is so prevalent that it’s nearly unquestioned when it’s raised. I’ve often found that the surest way to find fellow progressives is to look for the others at church who raise their hands to refute this statement. The past we compare to is often worse in many ways.[2] One reason for this rhetoric, aside from conservative politics (which I’ll discuss in a moment) is premillenialism, a belief that the world will get wickeder until the Second Coming. From the Patheos blog:

“Not all Christians believe the world is getting worse. But those who hold to what is called “premillennialism” do, and they tend to dominate the evangelical conversation in North America. (In premillennialism, the expectation is that the world will get worse and worse overall until Christ enters history and establishes his peaceable milllennial kingdom.)

Premillennial evangelicals tend to be rather selective in identifying putative evidence that the world is getting worse. For example, they focus on issues like gay marriage and transgender washrooms. My concern here is not to debate the morality of gay marriage or transgender washrooms. Rather, my point is that even if you do believe that these things are morally errant, it would be absurd to think isolated examples like those are sufficient to establish an overall trajectory of societal decay.” Randall Rauser

This negative view of the modern world is consistent with conservative politics.  Conservative pundits have been known to rail on this topic, encouraging viewers to buy gold and stock up on guns. From the conservative site Townhall:

“I cannot imagine any thinking person who does not believe the world is getting worse.” Dennis Prager

Another factor is a tendency for the elderly to romanticize the past.  This phenomenon is called the “reminiscence” bump. People in their 70s are better at remembering events from their early life, between the ages of 10 and 30. They are more forgetful of what happened in their 30-60s. They also experience a positivity effect, meaning that positive events are more easily remembered than negative ones. We develop a rosier picture of our youth as we get older, and that in turn creates a nostalgia for a past that never really existed, or at least wasn’t as great as we remember it.

The doom & gloom rhetoric from the right and nostalgia for a disappearing (and often mythical) past creates an environment in which women who are financially dependent on men may feel hopeless about their own prospects and look for ways to be protected or supported by men since they believe they are vulnerable. Given the doomsaying in most Mormon congregations and even General Conference talks, is it any wonder that women in the church (many of whom are vulnerable financially because of complete dependence on their husbands thanks to the single breadwinner model so encouraged at church) support sexism? It is in their self-interest to do so.

The second verse of “Follow the Prophet” sounds like it was ripped from a Fox News broadcast, and its refrain is all too common at church: “Now we have a world where people are confused. If you don’t believe it, go and watch the news.” Given the minor chords in this song, particularly with the voice of children singing it, it sounds very cynical indeed.  There’s a common belief that everyone at church will agree with this pessimistic view of “the world” and that things are getting worse and worse.

A third factor is that in a dual-income economy, families who are doggedly pursuing the single breadwinner model are in fact more vulnerable to economic turmoil. Their situations are worse because they are more fragile. Voting to preserve their economic standing without adapting to economic realities we live in may feel right to some, but it probably won’t actually provide real financial security.

Financial dependence on men, pessimistic outlook for the future, and economic instability: these are the conditions in which sexism thrives. Mormonism provides a unique recipe for creating female sexists.

Discuss, but nicely please, as if you were on a tiny little pedestal and might fall off at any moment.

[1] Bear in mind that one of the original arguments that only white men should vote was that they were the land owners; therefore, they were seen as having more stake in economic policies and legislation.

[2] Conservatives like to decry abortion, but in ancient Rome, it was legal to leave an unwanted infant in the streets to die. That’s pretty outrageously pro-choice.


  1. Thank you for the interesting insights. I tend to agree with you.

  2. Look, I think this is an enormously complicated problem that you’re describing, but you’re bringing to the table far more expertise than I’ll ever have, so I’m grateful. The tl;dr might be “who knows why lds women can be sexist, but there are some predominant theories”, but even that is a bit misleading because people are so varied. I wonder if many people aren’t motivated by many of these concerns at the same time.

  3. I appreciated the thoughtful analysis but some of the assumptions are somewhat flawed.

    Nowhere in there do I see an accounting for the all-too-often real possibility that husbands might need to support their wives because of the very real physical demands and disability that some women experience around pregnancy.

    Because I have some published some articles on that topic, and thus am considered somewhat of an expert, I am often asked to provide counsel and support to women who are suffering through severe nausea and vomiting, gestational diabetes, and other issues that make it impossible for them to hold down paid employment while they are producing a baby. Which makes me relive that hell again from my own experience.

    My screen name comes from a happier sci-fi future when women can become mothers through the technology of uterine replicators.

    Until that day, I will continue to be glad that the church properly asks men to support their families.

    I voted for Clinton.

    So what do we call the kind of sexism that asks women to pretend that they are the same as men when it comes to gestation and lactation? And fails to recognize and value their work and sacrifices in that area?

  4. Naismith: a policy of a year of paid maternity leave would help with that issue. Yes, it’d be costly, but I suspect it’s a lot less costly than the loss of productivity that occurs from qualified women leaving the workforce for much longer periods–or the choosing not to have children until they are pushing or even past 40, or forgoing reproduction altogether.

    The OP is spot on about the way that “good women” are the foot soldiers of hostile sexism, BTW. My mother is one of those “good women.”

  5. Naismith: I agree with APM. The policies that create disincentives for women to work are the real flaw. Husbands don’t have to provide for women when employers are required to provide a fair safety net for all rather than the status quo discriminatory policies we have today. Pregnancy, even when it is physically debilitating, need not require an exit ramp, and it doesn’t in many other countries. You could argue that pregnancy creates an advantage to employees in Australia where they have 2 year paid maternity leave. A scenario in which women must rely on a husband financially will always incapacitate families near the poverty line. Many poor women have decided not to marry at all because their prospective husbands are a liability rather than an asset.

  6. I find it fascinating that so much of this happens at a gut or subconscious level. It’s taken days after the shock and the hind-sight of 20/20 for thinkers like you to begin untangling it all. (BTW, nice write-up!)

    The underlying drive in electing MULTIPLE misogynistic, bigoted, and even liberty-crushing candidates was primal, instinctual, and all that stuff Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in ‘Blink’. After voters selected a “tribe” (or side) with a gut decision, people justified it with completely illogical responses and gorged on false information that supported their position and slammed the opposition. (We have seen countless examples of everyday people suddenly becoming rape and sexual assault apologists for their candidate when they would normally abhor and condemn such actions.) Isn’t it interesting that people could identify and shoot down false news from the opposition, showing that they indeed had some sort of evaluative skills, but be ‘info blind’ themselves (perhaps like being ‘nose blind’ to your own funk?), completely overlooking egregious hypocrisy? Does this phenomenon have a name?

  7. Jadis of Charn says:

    Because you are posting links regarding the alleged rape of the 13 year old, it would be slightly more honest to post a link to the most recent article from the Daily Mail, revealing the suit as a fabrication:


  8. For a feminist, this is pretty dismissive of the very real needs and perspectives of women who didn’t act the way they are told to act.

    It is the same whether it is The Patriarchy or other women who are dictating what a woman should think or do.

    I could never vote for Trump. But I listened to them, and realized I couldn’t denigrate them for placing what they see as their survival over ideals.

    As a moderate, I truly see no practical difference between the two sides any more. This is a very unfortunate analysis. I doubt any of the people you discuss here would recognize themselves in your description. It gives a great deal of insight, however, into how people like you see the world around them.

  9. Naismith, I always wondered if you were a fellow Bujold fan! That series is probably my #1 favorite.

    Personally I would prefer the church encourage every member to prepare themselves to support their family financially. The “women need special protection because they get pregnant” reasoning is one of the reasons why women were historically paid less than men and why insurance companies automatically charged women more than men regardless of reproductive status. That worldview ends up hurting single women, women who don’t have kids, single mothers, and men who lose the ability to work due to illness or disability, and is besides becoming more and more untenable economically.

  10. Silver Rain, I’d be more convinced if you advanced your own (more noble, I assume?) theory of women voting for Trump. What part of their “survival” do you think he addressed, or is likely to make possible? (I also love the idea that these women literally would not have survived under a Clinton presidency.)

    “A true feminist would celebrate women voting for a misogynist!” is a pretty nonsensical Internet-age argument. It’s a close cousin of “You claim to be open-minded, but then why are you always so close-minded toward bigotry?”

  11. I’m an LDS woman who voted for Trump over Hillary. I think its fairly sexist of you to assume that women, LDS or otherwise, are incapable or unwilling to come to an independent voting decision without their husband’s input.

    You overlook the fact that a large percentage of women would be rightly appalled at Hillary’s support for abortion up to the moment of birth.

    As a military family (and we are not alone), you overlook Hillary’s disregard and disdain for Secret Service and military personnel tasked with her protection.

    As a conservative, you overlook the fact that several Supreme Court nominations are probably going to happen in the next few years. I wasn’t leaving that to Hillary!

    You overlook her Clinton Foundation/bribery links and her disregard for protecting classified information. As security clearance holders (yes, both of us) this was HUGE!

    Trump was not my horse in the race, but I sure as heck wasn’t “with her”, and I didn’t need my husband to help me come to that conclusion.

  12. Barb: “I think its fairly sexist of you to assume that women, LDS or otherwise, are incapable or unwilling to come to an independent voting decision without their husband’s input.” I didn’t state that–merely that it’s not surprising that a couple’s interests align. Your views on Clinton are certainly consistent with misinformation and exaggerations from alt-right sources (your view of Benghazi and complete mischaracterization of her stance on late term abortions), so you won’t be convinced by my contrary opinions there. It sounds like you vote straight party. But to do so in this case, given the candidate you had in front of you, you had to hold your nose to get past his misogyny.

  13. It’s true that you can’t talk about this without setting Trump aside for a second and looking at the incredible, baked-in antipathy to Hillary Clinton among conservative (and/or Mormon) women of a certain generation. I see this in friends and relatives my age and particularly their parents all the time.

    It’s sort of funny, 25 years later, but to a lot of people she is still a potent symbol of the wrong kind of woman, the first First Lady who talked proudly and ambitiously about her career and said slightly snarky things about Eisenhower-era gender roles and cookie-baking moms before handlers softened her out.

  14. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    My sisters held their noses and voted Trump for the same concern about Supreme Court justices as well as concerns about Clinton integrity. They didn’t like Trump per se. I don’t quite understand the general LDS/Conservative party goal of totally repealing Roe v Wade, as our own church policy allows agency to choose abortion for certain circumstances–and if conservative judges are responsible for criminalizing abortion, the agency to follow the policy of the church disappears.

  15. I didn’t even bring up Benghazi, although that is another point against her and President Obama. I can’t vote against him anymore, so she’s left holding the bag. Leadership works that way.

    She voiced her abortion stance in the debate, so no misinformation there. My opinions on her SS interactions are from the experience of my friends when we lived in DC during Clinton’s presidency. All conservative opinions aren’t alt-right, but way to dismiss a differing opinion as fringe.

  16. Aussie Mormon says:

    Angela: It’s actually 12 months of unpaid parental leave here (a second 12 month period immediately after the first can be requested, but the request can be denied), with 18 weeks* of paid maternity leave.

    *This may change in the near future.

  17. If you don’t know a single LDS woman who voted for Trump, or you can’t understand why his persona was attractive to LDS women, then you live in a bubble. #iwaswithheranyway

  18. This and the article by Rebecca make me wonder why my SAHM wife stays in our marriage. Is it because she loves me or is she trapped and has no better option.

  19. Pen Dragon says:

    tl;dr: LDS women voted for a misogynist because LDS culture teaches, trains and perpetuates misogyny in theory and practice. Also, General Authorities routinely make misleading statements about the state and direction of the world.

  20. Naismith: “Until that day, I will continue to be glad that the church properly asks men to support their families.”

    Sure, but while doing so they don’t have to discourage women who wish to pursue a career.

    Angela, your article rings true for my own conservative family. I’d also add it is the more active LDS women who seem less interested in politics in general, and typically defer to their passionately conservative husbands instead of really doing their own research. That isn’t a charitable view but it’s what I’ve noticed.

  21. queno: I do know plenty of LDS women who voted for Trump. Quite a few of them are totally OK with justifying the routine sexism they encounter at church, too.

  22. “I’d be more convinced if you advanced your own (more noble, I assume?) theory of women voting for Trump.”

    Unlike some, I believe that the reasons women might vote for Trump are as varied as why men might vote for Trump. I have very little interest in trying to shoebox people.

  23. Angela, this is a really helpful articulation of several complicated and interrelated problems–thank you!

    It seems to me that Mormon men and women tend not to even see institutional sexism; we think of “sexist” as a descriptor of particular personal attitudes (and mostly only hostile sexism counts. In Mormon discourse, benevolent sexism is perceived as not only permissible, but desirable and even divinely sanctioned.) It happens all the time that, when someone describes the Church as “sexist,” a Mormon man will say “but I respect women. My wife totally runs the household!” Similarly, anti-feminist Mormon women will insist that they feel respected and valued in the Church, so it can’t possibly be a sexist institution. Maybe we need a different word for the kinds of sex discrimination that create the invisible sexist structure of both the Church and individual Mormon consciousness. I think this invisible and unconscious architecture both scaffolds and obscures all the kinds of sexist and misogynist thinking that you describe.

  24. Angela, Thank you for taking the time and your resources to write this all out. Something that stuck out to me here, and simply in regards to my own life is the ways in which many of these things have played out for me personally, and most of them have taken me until age 32 to even begin to sort out. For example, I remember my dad asking my mom who she voted for when I was in 7th grade, when she said Clinton, he was genuinely offended and upset that she would not vote the same as him. He was also very embarrassed and sad that she had to work because he never quite made enough. I remember being proud of my mom, and frustrated in the way that my dad (who is a super nice guy) assumed that he had some ownership over my mom’s beliefs and politics. It came up again recently when both my mom and I were not stoked or calmed in the way my dad wanted us to be with the letter that came out to be read in wards after gay marriage was legalized. It was shocking to me how personally offended he was that my mom and I were not jumping on board with what he said just because he is a bishop and he thought he was doing us a favor by reading the letter early to us. I don’t even know exactly how this fits into your post, except that there is a real sense of ownership of family, or the head of family, among the conservative, more black and white thinking members that I’ve known, including my own household growing up. I’ve had to do a lot of work to stand up for myself to my dad, not so much because he was ever unkind, or intentionally misogynistic, he just didn’t see me on a level playing field, especially, most especially when it came to politics, which we always had differing opinions on, even from a very young age. More recently the playing field has evened simply because we choose not to engage.

    In more recent years, I’ve learned to completely shed and disregard the talk of the world getting worse. Sure, I want to be aware, sure there are ugly things, but also, the fear of those things did their part in making me feel like my only choice was to stay at home with my kids and not pursue a career. For a time, the rhetoric of fear handed to me over the years made me think, “how could anyone but me take care of my children?” “How can I keep them out of the world?” It didn’t take me very long to realize though that I wanted many people that are not me to take part in raising my children, and no, I don’t want to keep them out of the world because, turns out, there is a lot of beauty there.

    So, this was a real long comment, but I guess what I want to say is thank you for asking us to think further and deeper about these things. I’m a white, liberal woman, so I’ve read enough to know that I have no idea how I am allowed to feel about this election, but between you and me, I am deeply saddened. I want to better understand the conservative woman, particularly the LDS ones who voted for Trump, because I don’t fully understand why, and I’d like to. I’m sad if the underpinnings of our decisions are in any way based in fear that we are not enough, that we aren’t on equal playing ground, that our decisions are not our own to make, or that in order to do well, we have to set the bar so low that we listen to a man speak trash about women and minorities. Seems we all have work to do.

  25. Angela, your post resonates with me and has haunted me since I read it this morning. It’s such a frustrating conversation to have, because no one wants to acknowledge their own sexism, especially when they benefit from sexism. But the fact remains that if Donald Trump had been a female candidate who spoke and acted the way Trump speaks and acts, she would have never made it into the door. The only reason that Trump was able to appeal to such a large group of conservatives is because of a level of misogyny so normalized and expected that he could literally say women want to be assaulted by him and this was not a deal-breaker. It wasn’t a deal-breaker when he ridiculed a reporter with a physical disability. It wasn’t a deal-breaker when he spoke highly of waterboarding or threatened to ban Muslims from entering the country. As a man, he was given permission to cross these lines, give utterance to these improprieties, “apologize” by sloughing his comments off as exaggeration, “locker room talk.” I don’t think anyone in this thread could deny with a straight face that had Donald Trump been female, there is no way a conservative audience would have been so quick to excuse, forgive, “hold their noses” and vote for her.

    It is Donald Trump’s maleness that got him the presidency. And white women were a considerable percentage of that vote.

    The lines that haunt me the most from this post are these: “When a woman is dependent on sexism for survival, sexism doesn’t bother her–or at least she can maneuver her way around it; she can tell herself it’s normal (“boys will be boys”) or every man is like that.” I don’t think that “boys will be boys” is doctrinal to the LDS church, not in the sense that boys are ultimately more exempt from politeness and kindness because of their male anatomy. But this sentiment is certainly engrained in our culture and in the way we talk about gender and intimacy. It pains me to think about how this mentality helped Donald Trump win the election. Posts like these work to combat this mentality by exposing it.

    Just remember: if you voted for Trump, you never would have put up with the things he said and did if he were saying them as a female. Try to picture it. Try to imagine it. That is what this post underscores for me.

  26. “I want to better understand the conservative woman, particularly the LDS ones who voted for Trump, because I don’t fully understand why, and I’d like to.”

    Ashmae, it’s not very difficult to ask them. What’s sad is how sexist many liberal women respond toward their fellow sisters when they get a response they don’t want to hear. The mere fact that we’re having a “conversation” without actually giving the soap box to a woman who supported Trump on this site speaks volumes. It’s more of an echo chamber…

    For the record, I didn’t support Trump, but accusations of sexism against people who simply don’t agree with your world view and/or your conclusions are so sadly misguided.

    Finally, if many more women chose to vote for Hillary, in spite of her many flaws, we wouldn’t have talks of sexism (other than perhaps to keep piling on?). If women chose to vote against Hillary and for a flawed man who at many times was very sexist and pigish, suddenly the topic is sexism. Tragic that so many can’t even see how sexist that is! So many women would rather put a person like Trump in office than Clinton, and the only reason has to be sexism, not you know something (or many things) Clinton has done or said.

    You’d like women to judge a person by their character, and they do — albeit to a different conclusion than you — and the response is there must be outright sexism or deep seated sexism. How sexist that implication is to reject the rationale and just put a label on it. You might as well just call your sisters a bunch of dumb blondes who don’t deserve the right to vote, while congratulating yourselves for not being sexist like them. Yes, that’s extreme, but all this hand wringing in your echo chamber, when there are plenty of women who will tell you why they disagree with your world view.

    But you reject them. Is that sexist? Or just disagreement? If so, why can’t their argument be evaluated on similar terms without the hominem.

  27. rebeccadalmas says:

    1. I do think the world in general is getting better. However, we cannot assume that it will continue to do so. Good things can come to an end.

    2. I agree that women are more sexist when it benefits them. So are men. It all follows laws of incentives and paths of least resistance.

    So how do people change? Do they change? Are sexist and less sexist women and men merely products of their environment or do they choose?

    I think I’m less sexist now than before. I notice more offensive sexist things and I bet it’s no coincidence that I’ve felt less protected by the patriarchy in recent times.

    Yet I do think there was an element of choice even though my life experiences made sexism less advantageous for me: I tried to I the right myself and expect it of others and not just assume they did right when faced with evidence to the contrary. Somewhere within me I believe that right makes might to an extent, that there is power in doing the right thing even if it doesn’t seem strategically beneficial at the time.

    And that’s helped me clear my head of confusion when influences try to undermine with lies.

  28. I totally support family leave policies. And I voted for Hillary Clinton because of her pro-family views. It was during her husband’s administration that FMLA finally became a reality, a step in the right direction.

    But such policies may not be near enough for LDS women who choose to listen to the Spirit regarding their family size, which may end up being larger than is socially acceptable or covered by legal protections.

    My husband never vomited once or wrenched his back during our pregnancies, I am tired of pretending that childbearing does not impact women more than men.

    The answer of some feminists (de Beauvoir’s seminal “The Second Sex”) is not to have any children. More recent feminists (Hirschman’s “Get to Work”) warn against no more than one child, a philosophy my younger colleagues recite all the time. That was incompatible with my personal path of stewardship and inspiration.

    “Husbands don’t have to provide for women when employers are required to provide a fair safety net for all rather than the status quo discriminatory policies we have today….”

    Nice job of dismissing my needs and concerns. I consider myself a non-feminist, not an anti-feminist. But this makes me understand anti-feminists better.

    Husbands are still going to need to provide for women who are unlucky in the biological lottery, if their physical needs exceed the months of leave provided. Or if their childbearing years take up more time than is allowed by policies.

    And why are we buying into the notion that full-time employment is the norm into which women should fit if they want to be a respected member of society? Why can’t we consider that maybe some things–like perhaps even raising a righteous posterity–are more important?

    Why aren’t we also working to provide on-ramps for parents who work at home for a season? I’ve had to do that twice, and both times one of the major barriers is the judgmental attitudes of people who had no respect for the work of homemaking.

    My experience is that the church does promote self-sufficiency for all. When I was at BYU, it was always stressed to be ready to provide for one’s family should the need arise. In my cohort of women with whom I have kept in touch, who graduated around 1980, all of us have stayed in career on a part-time basis or returned to paid employment after our childbearing was over, in part because we are the first generation of do-it-yourself (401k) retirement.

    Many of the BYU faculty who speak at devotionals nowadays are mothers, some with young children, providing role models who feel that path is right for them. And the church’s Perpetual Education Fund provides education funding for women, including some mothers. I think there is a huge gap between the church promoting full-time parenthood as an option, which young people may not hear anyplace else, and discouraging career.

    When I was given a stake calling with three young children and a part-time position that later led to grad school and a career, the stake presidency gave me a blessing that I could do everything I needed to. There was no judgment or discouragement. We were living in Tallahassee FL at the time, far from the Intermountain West and I understand others may have different experiences.

  29. r Lee cook says:

    Your article implies that college education for women (or men) is entirely benevolent just about increased career oops. But ignores the fact that US colleges and universities have been controlled and guided by anti religion, anti family, anti nation premises ie. Cultural Marxism for decades, which aligns closely with the Democratic party themes, sadly. For me, this neglect skews your conclusions badly.

  30. Frustrated in Utah says:

    Angela – great post. And Ashmae’s comment is spot on.

    Trump had and has no articulated concrete plans for accomplishing his campaign promises. His personal life and history indicates that he doesn’t know and doesn’t care about major issues in our country. Regarding abortion – the law of the land is that late term partial birth abortions are illegal under Carhart. There’s no exception for the health of the mother. The kind of misinformation I’ve heard from Trump supporters (men and women) shows that they are lazy consumers of media and don’t bother to understand the issues on a substantive level.

    The irony is that Trump is going to hand over the presidency to the Republicans who actually do know what they are doing. He wanted to win the campaign – not be the President. So if you voted for Trump thinking he would shake things up – sorry, folks.

  31. r Lee,
    Can you define cultural Marxism please?

  32. Uneducated, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, deplorable bigots. And now we don’t accurately remember that life was better as we were growing up. This elitist, smug, condescension of many on the far left is one of the myriad reasons I voted for Donald Trump, other reasons being rampant terrorism, secure borders, national security, skyrocketing college tuition costs, the trend toward globalism, free trade, the economy, rising health care costs, etc., etc., etc.

    Until the far left begins to listen to understand the concerns of all Americans, it can expect the White House, both houses of Congress, and most of the nations governorships and state legislatures to remain in Republican control.

  33. Deborah Christensen says:

    This is a big topic to address. Kudos for trying. I’d like to point out a possible reason why women w/degrees voted more for Clinton. Part of higher education is learning how to analyze information for accuracy. When I listened to Trump I heard partial truths, over-generalizations, and a lot of false information. He appeals to emotion rather than facts. Clinton, on the other hand, gave accurate information, even if I don’t agree with her

  34. tl;dr: LDS women voted for a misogynist because LDS culture teaches, trains and perpetuates misogyny in theory and practice. Also, General Authorities routinely make misleading statements about the state and direction of the world.

    Pendragon upthread hits it pretty accurately, as far as LDS women go. We are socialized, and tied to spiritual and eternal progression, through obedience to the patriarchal order. Breaking out of it doesn’t just stand to jeopardize our worldly situation, but our perceived eternal one. I disagree with that as an eternal principle, because I don’t believe God is a jerk, but there is clearly a correlation in our temporal workings.

    Angela, this is a really useful post with some clear bookmarks for reference when trying to suss out when we know something is wrong, but cannot put our finger on why/what. Gratitude.

  35. Lady Didymus says:

    Thank you Naismith! Count me as one of the unfortunates for whom pregnancy wasn’t a breeze. My extremely painful and stressful pregnancy left me with medical complications that I still deal with daily nine years later. My pelvic floor is a mess even after hours of painful physical therapy, I have permanent nerve damage for which there is little relief (the occasional nerve block helps but those can be just as painful if not done right) and all the autoimmune genes I was unaware I had kicked into high gear after my son was born. I’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, endometriosis (had my fifth surgery 3 weeks ago and a CT scan yesterday), vulvodynia, Hashimoto’s disease and pudendal neuralgia (this all in addition to IBS and IC). Thankfully I at least got a bachelor’s before I got pregnant. I wish with all my heart I could work to help take some of the load off my husband. I wish I could work so I could have something completely my own and have a bigger influence in the world. I wish I had contact with a larger diversity of people. I wish I had a life outside my home and family. But alas, my illnesses don’t allow me to work even part time. Healing is literally a full time job. I have an Etsy shop where I make purses and jewelry for fun; I don’t make much there but it’s more to pay for my artistic whims. I write screenplays but have yet to sell one and I’m currently struggling to focus on any writing at the moment as I’ve been battling overwhelming pain. However … even I think that the church must correct the “male should be the sole breadwinner” message STAT. The ideal would be a First Presidency letter read allowed in Sacrament meeting that states “all families are unique and each has different needs. We support all families and their efforts to care for children and other dependent family members. In the past we have advocated the ‘man as the solebreadwinner’ model for all families. Times have changed and doors have opened. Our membership is diverse and varied and one model no longer fits all. We trust each family to make their own financial decisions based on what’s best for their situation. We encourage all members to get an education in their desired field. No honest work should be denigrated by our members.” Or something like that. :)

  36. ” I voted for Donald Trump, other reasons being rampant terrorism, secure borders, national security, skyrocketing college tuition costs, the trend toward globalism, free trade, the economy, rising health care”

    “Skyrocketing tuition costs” are you aware Pres-elect Trump just settled a lawsuit against his fake university for $25 million? And that his clothing line is manufactured in China? That the steel he uses comes from China?

    Trump sold you a bill of goods. The fact remains, it is a global economy. Jobs have moved offshore due, in large part, to lower wages and those products are now being sold in those foreign markets as well. If manufacturing jobs come back they will largely be done by automation–robots. As Hillary said the only way forward is to adapt–become highly skilled for those new jobs.

    Are you aware economists estimated Trump’s first economic plan was seen as dramatically increasing the debt and possibly causing a recession? (Trump filed a tax return in 1995 claiming a $900 billion loss)

  37. Deborah Christensen says:

    To Tina at 8:15: everyone is forgetful of the past. We all paint the past with roses. It’s not an attempt to ridicule or belittle people who voted for Trump.

  38. Great post. These are issues that Mormons need to start dealing with, especially the doom and gloom narrative that has been going on now for almost 190 years. I wonder how many Mormons really truly believe that Missouri 2016 is more evil than Missouri 1838. Same goes for just about anywhere you choose. But we have to believe that narrative. Our whole theological system is built upon it.

    On another topic, I am always mildly amazed at the arguments Trump voters employ to justify voting for a man who campaigned as a fascist. Look the word up. That’s the territory he staked out. Usually these arguments rest on one of two assumptions—that Hillary is so corrupt that no one in their right mind (pun intended) could vote for her or that Trump, in spite of his abhorrent personality and predatory behavior, will put another Scalia on the Supreme Court. To respond briefly to these two assumptions, first, most of the “scandals” whirling around Clinton are fabrications of the right-wing talking heads who have been after her for decades. Ask them exactly how many times Clinton has actually been found guilty of anything and they come up empty. Benghazi is the best example. Sure, Clinton is imperfect and has skirted ethical boundaries a few times, but certainly nowhere near as often or as seriously as Trump. Second, Trump is not going to put a conservative on the court. Another Scalia would never make it past the Democrats in the Senate, especially after the unconstitutional behavior by their Republican counterparts in refusing to even vote on Obama’s nominee. At best, they’ll get a moderate along the lines of John Roberts. Also, remember what the conservative-leaning court has given us in recent years: support for Roe v. Wade, confirmation that same-sex marriage is constitutional, the awful Citizens United decision, and an interpretation of the Second Amendment that turned a hundred and fifty years of sound judicial reasoning on its head. So, we careful what you wish for.

  39. What Kristine said, as usual. It’s the entire framework within which LDS women are reared and it is not just about their life on earth but also their eternal progression. Within that box, they are dependent on the sexism that supports the sides of the box, and they too will support it, because it serves their interests.

  40. This post and comments have devolved once again into childish “This is -their- problem”, “We’re nothing like that”, etc that posts in many places that try to work out “What’s wrong with -them-?” without actually engaging or even talking to “them”. Trying to assume the motivations of a group you do not belong to (in this case Mormons who voted for Trump, in other cases those liberal elite), you might get a post that makes you feel better about your assumptions, but nothing productive toward resolving the conflicts.

  41. Tina 8:15. “other reasons being rampant terrorism, secure borders, national security, skyrocketing college tuition costs, the trend toward globalism, free trade, the economy, rising health care costs, etc.” As noted, that was one of the two key factors from the studies in the vox article quoted above: doom & gloom rhetoric of the right.

    “Until the far left begins to listen to understand the concerns of all Americans, it can expect the White House, both houses of Congress, and most of the nations governorships and state legislatures to remain in Republican control.” As an independent, I tend to think we switch teams back and forth frequently because America is so divided between the two viewpoints. If you voted for Trump, you did so because you see the world the way he does (or at least the way he talked). You’re mistaken if you think that he won because the “far left” (Clinton is very moderate) didn’t understand the concerns of all Americans. Trump also didn’t understand the concerns of all Americans–disdained and sneered at and tweeted nastily about the concerns of a LOT of Americans–and he still got elected. Clinton won the popular vote, meaning more Americans voted for her. Neither candidate addressed the concerns of ALL Americans. What will determine what happens next is how the conservative policies do over the next 4 years while they are largely unchecked. If the policies fail, the next election will open up for a shift back to the left. If they succeed, conservatives will probably stay in power. That’s how the system is set up to work.

    The vox analysis simply shows how women justified voting for him despite his misogyny. A similar analysis about why people of color voted for him would also be interesting, but that wasn’t the source material I was working with. There were many women who favor conservative policies who voted third party or for Clinton or who didn’t vote because they couldn’t get past Trump’s character. That’s what this article was about – why some did while others did not.

  42. I have been distraught over Trump getting elected, and I too have been wondering how so many people I respect could possibly have voted for him. I’m not surprised a feminist would ask how he could get so many votes from women, and it’s an excellent question. I’ve been asking myself how a Christian could possibly have voted for him. It’s natural to start from the position of moral superiority and then try to explain others’ inferior choices from that perspective, but I’m not convinced that necessarily sheds a whole lot of illumination. You really need to entertain the idea that their values are actually different than yours and that they didn’t necessarily act against theirs or others’ best interest, even if you still disagree with them in the end. Personally, I’ve seen little evidence that the herd mentality of the educated is any less strong than that of the ignorant.

    The OP uses the Dallin Oaks quote as an example of a sexist statement that can be interpreted as benevolent or hostile and proceeds from there. I know that statement has gotten a lot of internet mileage and been the subject of much outrage, even being used as an example of Mormon rape culture. I think, though, that your typical Mormon woman exposed to this quote for the first time in the manner of the OP (isolated, but explained to be in the context of a pornography talk) it wouldn’t create much of a reaction. They’d probably think, “yeah, of course”. Sure, you can chalk that up to them having been raised in Mormon rape culture, or you can entertain the idea that these women believe that men and women (as groups) experience sexuality somewhat differently and need to learn to care for each others’ differences, and that they’ve come to this conclusion based on personal experience as much as religious or cultural brainwashing. To entertain the latter, you’d have to accept that possibly their perspective has merit — that maybe women’s and men’s bodies/brains might be different enough to be treated differently, at least in some cases. Could there be another category of sexism other than benevolent or hostile, such as, say, justifiable? That wouldn’t mean that the first two categories didn’t exist, or even that unoffended women weren’t heavily influenced by Mormon rape culture.

    I have been trying hard to grasp what it is I have been missing that caused people I love and respect to vote for Trump — some argument that might have merit. I’ll still disagree, but I’m hoping that my outrage will recede. I can’t accept that they’re just dupes, and I can’t feel this bad in my heart and still claim moral superiority.

  43. I think that for married women in and out of the church its impossible to look at these issues without realizing what is good for their spouses economically and culturally is also good for the family as a whole.

    When the left attacks white males like it does and attempts to demonize working class white males its also attacking their spouses and dependent children and their role in society.

    That is why Trump won a majority of white married women. The perception was that the Dems are hostile to white men. White married women have spouses and male children and their futures are linked together.

    Craziness on campuses and in the press and in popular culture led to this crazy result.

  44. Frank, I would argue that this thread has not devolved into “childish” accusations. There are people on both sides who are very good, well-intentioned people, and it’s clear here, and in so many other places that we have a long, difficult road to traverse in order to understand one another. Dialogue, even where misunderstood and grappled over, is entirely necessary if we are to ever understand one another better. It doesn’t seem useful to come in at the end and call that attempt, even in some places, a failed attempt and bridging that misunderstanding, childish. Pieces like this post are necessary and vital to bring about thought. It’s clear that we can’t as a nation, and in this case, as a church, continue on without making whatever and all attempts we can at speaking and speaking a lot until we can get something that works better for all of us.

  45. That Dorothea Lange photo. That’s the one.

    I agree with the OP. LDS women in my family voted for Trump and it didn’t surprise me at all. Saddened, but not surprised. These are strong, take-no-crap women in my family, make no mistake, and yet, they could look past all of it and vote for this man.

  46. @Martin @ 1:18 PM

    No offense meant, but the term “justifiable sexism” makes me want to barf.

  47. This post is a wonderful example of why the feminist memeplex will never offer a sufficient lens for understanding the world. Sad.

  48. Wilhelm,
    What do you mean by memeplex here? What alternate view of looking at the world are you suggesting? Why? I hate for you to despair of our poor understanding without offering something substantive for us to consider and learn from.

  49. My mother-in-law voted for Trump because she feels that its an embracement on the world stage for a country to have a female leader.
    I also can’t help that some women fear that if Hillary Clinton won, that it would result in policies (welfare, social security, tax cuts, etc) which would be geared towards women being employed, and for whatever reason, they don’t want to be employed. They don’t want society to point out “The rules have changed, and you are now an undesirable abnormality.”

  50. RockiesGma says:

    My folks and friends who voted for Trump did so for various reasons. Maybe sexism was a part of it, but it isn’t obvious if so. It bothers me that so many I admire and respect here and other blogs speak of sexism, misogyny, bigotry, and xenophobia as descriptors of Trump voters, but seem to feel Hillary voters are none of these things. Yet to label the Trumpers as such is really quite ignorant IMHO. It’s Trumpaphobic. It’s bigotry toward them! It’s painting with a very broad brush. It’s very arrogant and condescending to say one cannot fathom how anyone could vote for Mr. Trump and call themselves Christian, or sane, or right-thinking, or learned, or any other number of things I’ve seen listed around the web. I did not vote for this man, but those I know who did are almost all highly educated. They want the same old politicians gone. They wanted to try a businessman rather than a politician in the Oval Office. They want a wall for protection, not to be mean. They want welfare-to-work not endless entitlements. They want change. They in no way “justified” Mr. Trump’s sins of the past–they looked past them, just like I looked past Hillary’s to vote for her.

    I get very upset when people paint feminists with a broad, ugly, condescending, negative brush. I hurt when I’m labeled terrible things because I see beauty in women blessing their children or serving as bishops… But all too often I hear or read terrible things said about women and men who think along these lines that are so far from how I am in reality.

    It’s so easy to truly believe our perspective is right and good and other perspectives are below our own. Most folks vote for the person who seems to want to do the things they think will be best for them and their loved ones. That “best” is different for everyone. No one candidate espouses 100% of what our ideals and platforms are. But we do pretty well as we have Dems for a while, then those other folks (🤓) then back to Dems again, and so on. It’s sort of a check and balance. Each party brings good and bad. So I hope we can say, “I’m okay…you’re okay.” Live and let live. Give those different from us a chance rather than a negative label, and stop the Trumpaphobia. If the world isn’t getting worse, but is better, and we’ve had both parties in office back and forth, then I’d say things aren’t perfect but we’re moving along pretty well…overall. Let’s put our thoughts and prayers behind whoever governs our nation. They need them.

  51. When I was primary chorister, we did not sing the doom and gloom verse of follow the prophet. I said it was too hokey to sing in sacrament meeting… Instead of explaining that I thought it was pessimistic, stupid, and untrue. The hokey explanation was readily accepted. We never sang it or gave it any air.

  52. Aussie Mormon says:

    Well there ARE 8 other verses to choose from before you get to the “doom and gloom” verse. Plenty of choice.

  53. @RockiesGma,
    It isn’t that I don’t believe that people can have multiple policy reasons why someone would vote for Trump, it’s that Trumps personality deficiencies don’t out weigh those reasons for those people.
    If it was another politician with Trumps same platform, there would still be some disappointment in knowing that someone didn’t vote for your side, but it wouldn’t be anywhere near the order of magnitude of shock that I’m experiencing now.
    I would hope that for all of the good policy reasons why someone would vote for Trump, that they could see that his selfishness, divisiveness, demagoguery, assaulting, and chauvinistic behavior, would out weigh any campaign promise. But instead, all of these people put their pocketbooks a head of holding politicians to any sense of positive, mature, civilized behavior.
    Or they were ignorant about Trumps base personality. I remember listening to a radio interview (around the time of the Republican debates) with a woman Trump supporter, and she legitimately had no idea that there was any controversy with Trumps sexism. Whatever media she was consuming never brought it up, so she was unaware of it.

    My comment at 6:24 is supposed to say embarrassing, not embracement, which is a very embarrassing spelling error.

  54. John Mansfield says:

    If the Democratic Party really felt Trump’s sexism and other qualities were a danger to the nation, they could have served the nation where the Republicans failed by giving us a normal nominee who wouldn’t have lost against Trump. Instead the Democrats gave us one of the few possible candidates that would have any trouble in a general election against Trump. There are ten recent Democratic former governors who were elected to a second term in their states and are still under 70, including some from states like Wyoming, Montana, and Oklahoma. If it were felt that the nominee for 2016 should be a woman, then party leaders should have drafted Sebelius of Kansas or Gregoire of Washington. However, putting up nominees that a large portion of the country would feel OK about voting for wasn’t a priority for either party. It shows the strength of the two-party system when even this magnitude of failure to compete didn’t provide an opening for an effective third candidate.

  55. I did work for Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas when she was insurance commissioner and then governor, and have the greatest regard for her. But she was fatally damaged by presiding over the flawed ACA exchange rollout of 2013 as secretary of HHS. There is no way she could have been elected.

    I learned so much from watching Secretary Clinton in the debates, which I intend to apply to my own professional work.

    I don’t think there was ever an intention to have a female candidate. The candidate just happened to be a woman.

  56. Wilhelm: Nice Trump Tweet! I love a good parody.

    John Mansfield: I don’t think calling Hillary’s loss a failure to compete is very accurate when she so clearly won the popular vote. Rather there’s a campaign strategy flaw in not winning enough states to get to the electoral count.

    The point of this post wasn’t to understand *all* the reasons why people voted for Trump. There are many, of course: SCOTUS picks, straight party voters, wanting an outsider with business experience, hatred for the ACA, open dislike for Clinton, a hope that Trump would pick GOP faves for his cabinet and just let them run it. The point of the OP was to explore why LDS women specifically would support a candidate who is so sexist. They don’t support him *for* his sexism, but it wasn’t a deal breaker for many of them, and understanding why is valuable. You can’t ask a fish why it’s wet. Stats and trends are a more reliable source than people’s explanations of why groups of people do what they do.

    For a really great breakdown of Utah voting patterns, see Mary Ann’s write up: https://wheatandtares.org/2016/11/23/trumps-utah-win-mormon-rural-and-republican-factors/

  57. A word on “Follow the Prophet.” It’s in a minor key because it’s meant to pay homage to Jewish folk melodies (in my Primary we do Jewish folk dancing in a circle as we sing it). It is up-tempo and very cheerful. The brother who wrote the lyrics wanted it to be a bit fun and funny for children. Which it is. http://duanehiatt.com/follow-the-prophet/#axzz4QrUlbb7e

  58. Amy Allebest says:

    Great analysis. In looking at Western History, I had been inclined to see hostile sexism as largely evolving into benevolent sexism, which in turn is (slowly) evolving into the next, more enlightened phase of egalitarianism. While that progress might be true from a bird’s eye view, this article reminded me that it’s never as clear-cut as 1-2-3… I’ve been thinking all week about the “tidy little cycle” of hostile and benevolent sexism reinforcing each other. Disturbing, and critical. Thanks for providing many new insights.

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