I wrote a comment over at Morticia’s about the negative female reaction to the ideal of male superiority, and I think it was good enough to repost here. Please respond at her blog, as I don’t want to split the comment thread with my post.
Men have the natural habit of idolizing women (which is why the first religions involved a Mother Goddess) and it is only the formation of a social hierarchy and the chauvinism that comes along with it, which keeps them from sinking down into romantic idolatry again (pedestalizing). To insist that men treat women as if they were equals, even when they know that they are not, is an attempt to “have your cake and eat it too”. It is an unstable formation and we currently refer to it as feminism.
Men should not treat women as equals because it causes cognitive dissonance and destroys patriarchy. They shouldn’t be rude, but they should be slightly patronizing (acting like a patron or superior), as that reinforces the hierarchical order and keeps us all from becoming confused.
If you are not of a superior or lesser class, then you are equal. You have to decide and you can’t have it both ways. And if you are equal, then know what awaits you: you will have to compete with men on their level. It is only their sense of superiority that keeps most of them from demanding this already. Destroy that sense and you destroy all of the protections that come along with it.