World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000007312
Reproduction Date:

Title: Chauvinism  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Expansionist nationalism, World Without Nazism, Soviet socialist patriotism, Nationalism, Operation Southeast Croatia
Collection: Chauvinism, Gender, Men and Feminism, Nationalism, Prejudices
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Chauvinism, in its original meaning, is an exaggerated patriotism and a belligerent belief in national superiority and glory.[1]

According to legend, French soldier Nicolas Chauvin was badly wounded in the Napoleonic wars. He received a pension for his injuries but it was not enough to live on. After Napoleon abdicated, Chauvin was a fanatical Bonapartist despite the unpopularity of this view in Bourbon Restoration France. His single-minded blind devotion to his cause, despite neglect by his faction and harassment by its enemies, started the use of the term.

By extension, it has come to include an extreme and unreasoning partisanship on behalf of any group to which one belongs, especially when the partisanship includes malice and hatred towards rival groups. Jingoism is the British parallel form of this French word, but its meaning has not expanded beyond nationalism in the same way that the word chauvinism has.[1]

A contemporary use of the term in English is in the phrase male chauvinism.[2]


  • Chauvinism as nationalism 1
  • Male chauvinism 2
    • In the workplace 2.1
    • Religio-cultural and geographic spread 2.2
    • Causes 2.3
  • Female chauvinism 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5

Chauvinism as nationalism

In 1945, political theorist Hannah Arendt described the concept thus:

Chauvinism is an almost natural product of the national concept in so far as it springs directly from the old idea of the "national mission." ... [A] nation's mission might be interpreted precisely as bringing its light to other, less fortunate peoples that, for whatever reason, have miraculously been left by history without a national mission. As long as this concept did not develop into the ideology of chauvinism and remained in the rather vague realm of national or even nationalistic pride, it frequently resulted in a high sense of responsibility for the welfare of backward people.[3]

Technical Chauvinism has been used for those examples where inventors of a particular nationality have been idolised, one case being that of the ship's propeller. It had no sole inventor, but claims have been made for the Swede John Ericsson and the Czech Josef Ressel. The latter even has a national monument dedicated to him.

Male chauvinism

Male chauvinism is the belief that men are superior to women. The first documented use of the phrase "male chauvinism" is in the 1935 Clifford Odets play Till the Day I Die.[4]

In the workplace

The balance of the workforce changed during World War II through the dramatic rise of women’s participation as men left their positions to enlist in the military and fight in the war. After the war ended and men returned home to find jobs in the workplace, male chauvinism was on the rise according to Cynthia B. Lloyd. Previously, men had been the main source of labour, and they expected to come back to their previous employment, but women had stepped into many of their positions to fill the void says Lloyd.[5]

Lloyd and Michael Korda have argued that as they integrated back into the workforce, men returned to predominantly holding positions of power, and women worked as their secretaries, usually typing dictations and answering telephone calls. This division of labor was understood and expected, and women typically felt unable to challenge their position or male superiors, argue Korda and Lloyd.[6][5]

Religio-cultural and geographic spread


Chauvinism is seen by some as an influential factor in the TAT, a psychological personality test. Through cross-examinations, the TAT exhibits a tendency toward chauvinistic stimuli for its questions and has the "potential for unfavorable clinical evaluation" for women.[7]

An often cited study done in 1976 by Sherwyn Woods, Some Dynamics of Male Chauvinism, attempts to find the underlying causes of male chauvinism.

Male chauvinism was studied in the psychoanalytic therapy of 11 men. It refers to the maintenance of fixed beliefs and attitudes of male superiority, associated with overt or covert depreciation of women. Challenging chauvinist attitudes often results in anxiety or other symptoms. It is frequently not investigated in psychotherapy because it is ego-syntonic, parallels cultural attitudes, and because therapists often share similar bias or neurotic conflict. Male chauvinism was found to represent an attempt to ward off anxiety and shame arising from one or more of four prime sources: unresolved infantile strivings and regressive wishes, hostile envy of women, oedipal anxiety, and power and dependency conflicts related to masculine self-esteem. Mothers were more important than fathers in the development of male chauvinism, and resolution was sometimes associated with decompensation in wives.[8]

Female chauvinism

The term female chauvinism has been adopted by critics of some types or aspects of feminism; second-wave feminist Betty Friedan is a notable example.[9] Ariel Levy used the term in similar, but opposite sense in her book, Female Chauvinist Pigs, in which she argues that many young women in the United States and beyond are replicating male chauvinism and older misogynist stereotypes.[10]

See also


  1. ^ a b Oxford English Dictionary
  2. ^ The Columbia Guide to Standard American English. Retrieved 4 December 2008. Chauvinism is "fanatical, boastful, unreasoning patriotism" and by extension "prejudiced belief or unreasoning pride in any group to which you belong." Lately, though, the compounds male chauvinism and male chauvinist have gained so much popularity that some users may no longer recall the patriotic and other more generalized meanings of the words. 
  3. ^ Arendt, Hannah (October 1945). "Imperialism, Nationalism, Chauvinism". The Review of Politics 7 (4): 457. 
  4. ^ Mansbridge, Jane; Katherine Flaster (2005). "Male Chauvinist, Feminist, Sexist, and Sexual Harassment: Different Trajectories in Feminist Linguistic Innovation". American Speech (Harvard University) 80 (3): 261.  
  5. ^ a b Lloyd, Cynthia B., ed. Sex, Discrimination, and the Division of Labor. New York: Columbia University Press, 1975. Print.
  6. ^ Michael Korda, Male Chauvinism! How It Works. New York: Random House, 1973. Print.
  7. ^ Potkay, Charles R., Matthew R. Merrens. Sources of Male Chauvinism in the TAT. Journal of Personality Assessment, 39.5 (1975): 471-479. Web. 31 Jan 2012.
  8. ^ Woods, Sherwyn M. (January 1976). "Some Dynamics of Male Chauvinism". Archives of General Psychiatry 33 (1): 63.  
  9. ^ "If I were a man, I would strenuously object to the assumption that women have any moral or spiritual superiority as a class. This is [...] female chauvinism." Friedan, Betty. 1998. It Changed My Life: Writings on the Women's Movement. Harvard University Press
  10. ^ Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, Ariel Levy, 2006, ISBN 0-7432-8428-3
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.