Male Chauvinism

What is Male Chauvinism?

Male chauvinism, by definition, presents itself as more of a social flaw, but still, others feel it falls into the class of a social disorder. Regardless of personal opinion, the male chauvinist refuses to acknowledge the rights of women to become equal to men and feels as though they are the lesser sex.

The viewpoints of a male chauvinist are very apparent both in the home and in the workplace. Often their ideas will lead them to dominate women by force if they feel it is necessary. These views can spur life threatening domestic violence incidents.

Overview of male chauvinism

Male chauvinism stemmed from a French soldier Nicolas Chauvin, who was severely injured in the Napoleonic Wars and received a pension to live on. He had staunch Bonapartist views despite the fact they were quite unpopular at the time. He underwent a great amount of harassment regarding his views, but he stayed with them and refused to give up his ideals.

The rise of male chauvinism began to become more prevalent after World War II, when the men came back home from overseas to find the women had taken over their jobs, which, in turn, caused them to feel as though women were not capable of doing the same type of jobs despite their success over the course of the war. Over time, men reclaimed their positions in the working world and attitudes developed that women should hold a certain place tending to the home and the family, while the men worked to support them financially. At the time, women did not really challenge that type of thinking because it was so common and became somewhat of a social norm.

Early studies conducted included observing 11 men and their reactions to certain situations and their coping behaviors when exposed to stress from women challenging their beliefs, or in roles of authority. The information gathered from the study outlined a majority of the information we know today regarding the psyche of men with a chauvinistic attitude towards women. Some feel that this behavior is a symptom of other underlying psychological issues, such as those displayed by a sociopath or those individuals with other social disorders.

There is no solid evidence linking male chauvinism to other psychological disorders, but there have been a number of cases where other conditions seemed to exhibit themselves in conjunction with male chauvinism. Ultimately, it is a set of beliefs adopted by the individual that can be changed if they so wish. There are a number of ways that men with this condition can cope, whether it be with therapy or medication, but if they wish to hold on to their convictions then there is no real treatment for personal opinions.

Symptoms of Male Chauvinism

Male chauvinism has very obvious symptoms and presents itself whenever a man berates or downplays the ability of a woman. This occurs frequently in the workplace. This was the norm a few decades ago, but in more recent times, the view that men hold of being the superior sex has become increasingly unpopular as women begin to challenge the thinking ideals associated with male chauvinism.

For men displaying this way of thinking, they become quite aggressive if challenged on their views and beliefs, and can show signs of anxiety and stress when threatened or questioned about their personal convictions.

One disturbing symptom of male chauvinism is the tendency to exert physical dominance over the female in an attempt to maintain their view of superiority. This occurs frequently as domestic violence situations. The man will resort to whatever means possible if their position of authority is challenged in any way by a female. In some cases, this symptom can result in severe life threatening injuries. Male chauvinism is responsible for a lot of the domestic violence cases in the country each year.

The man feels as though it is his place to keep the woman in line, especially when it comes to romantic partners and spouses. In many cases, the male does not feel that he is in any way out of line for exerting his physical dominance of the female and feels it is his duty to maintain the dominant male status. Symptoms of this condition are quite apparent and may pose serious challenges for the individual in both his personal and professional life, with the changing views of society and pressure to eliminate male chauvinism altogether.

Another symptom of male chauvinism is a lack of empathy towards women. Even when women have issues and struggles in both their personal and professional lives, the men displaying chauvinistic behavior will in most cases completely lack compassion or understanding of their plight. They generally will show a lack of interest and do not acknowledge the issues women face.

The men will not tend to acknowledge anything to do with women unless it has some bearing on a situation or an outcome that will affect them in some manner. This aspect of male chauvinism is what leads some experts to believe that many men displaying these characteristics are also markers for narcissism, which is a social disorder. Male chauvinism and narcissism tend to have similar symptoms. Although the two may have variances, much of the narcissist’s behavior is a reflection of men with obvious chauvinistic tendencies.

Causes of Male Chauvinism

Male chauvinism can have a variety of causes. Children raised in homes in which their father or dominant male figure had strong chauvinistic tendencies are more likely to display and practice that philosophy. Seeing the role of the chauvinist male as a dominant and worthy role model instills the views that women are not capable of handling the roles of the man and they should handle the domestic detail of the home, including cooking, cleaning, and raising children. Although this is a traditional view of the family, male chauvinists have a tendency to take the domestic role of the woman several steps further. They tend to berate them for having their own opinions and will correct them for not following their orders.

This behavior can also develop from exposure to peers with similar values in a social setting. Some men find themselves in close proximity to others with these beliefs, which they adopt as their own over the course of time, even though they may not have come from a childhood setting in which male chauvinism was present. It can also develop when a man has exposure to a situation where a woman has humiliated them or exhibited some sort of oppressive behavior.

The person will resent their oppressor and will occasionally develop an attitude of superiority towards any females they encounter from that point on. Once a male has developed those personal beliefs and ideas, they are likely to hold firmly to them in all aspects of their life and will do whatever they need to discredit and oppress women they come into contact with. This is very common in the workplace because the man will feel threatened by the presence of a woman. They feel a great sense of humiliation if a woman outperforms them professionally. If a woman achieves a promotion to a higher position or achieves a raise in pay they are not privy to, they will lash out in some form to try to thwart the progress of the female.

Male Chauvinism Treatments

There is a great deal of conflicting views on how to treat individuals exhibiting male chauvinism. Male chauvinism itself isn’t labeled as a social disorder, however, it does parallel many of the hallmark behaviors of some social disorders. This type of behavior has become incredibly unpopular in recent times, which is why it may cause backlash brought to a man with chauvinistic ideas quite frequently. In some cases, a man will seek professional help for his views and beliefs. Professionals and therapists believe intensive long-term therapy can have a positive effect on a person with these behaviors. Behavior therapy is a common practice to help these men cope with the challenges they face when trying to amend their behavior and ways of viewing women.

In some instances, the professional treating the patient may recommend they begin a treatment for depression or even suggest the occasional use of tranquilizers in the event their anxiety emerges as an episode of chauvinism. This may be helpful in the professional environment. However, medication alone will not treat the chauvinistic male, but rather a conscious effort must occur to embrace therapy, and a will to change their viewpoints and ideas about women in society.

Male chauvinism can, however, point to other underlying issues which are treatable, but more serious than surface chauvinism. Psychological imbalances and social disorders require some degree of treatment with a combination of medication and traditional therapy. These treatments may help the individual with coping mechanisms and the anxiety they experience in regards to women in positions of authority or in a decision making role.

For some, therapy may never really cure the person with these convictions. It may help them manage their reaction more efficiently, but in the long-term, they may ultimately hold those viewpoints for the rest of their lives. It is a personal decision to change their beliefs and if the person is unwilling, or has such deep rooted opinions, they will only mask the symptoms in order to function more effectively in life.

Although male chauvinism is on the decline in society with the generation that popularized this idea, it is still present in the world today and poses a threat to women in both the home and in the professional world. Chauvenisim is a form of discrimination and once a person develops those ideas, they have a difficult time amending the way they think and behave towards women. Some men that suffer from this viewpoint may realize they have an unpopular view of the way women fit into a society which spurs them to seek treatment to help them deal with the difficulties they face fitting into the world where they do not have an edge. This may elude to a personality disorder or a social disorder which spurs their treatment.

Still, others may feel a genuine sense of remorse due to some event or person which has brought their askew ideas into focus. Some may never really change their views and ideas, but rather learn to mask them or suppress the stress and anxiety they feel when they are challenged in any respect by a woman.

Male Chauvinism Prevention

To prevent male chauvinism one must develop a sense of empathy. Combating symptoms may help dissuade male chauvinism, however, preventing male chauvinism parents and guardians must raise children with principals and values which view it negatively.

Last Reviewed:
September 18, 2017
Last Updated:
September 18, 2017
Content Source: