While it is understandable how a feminist-sponsored commission on sex bias would be a commission with sex bias, similar bias is also common in reports from male-dominated government agencies such as the U. S. Depart­ment of Justice. For example:

The U. S. Department of Justice reports that men have longer sentences than women.35 They rationalize the longer sentences by pointing out that men are more likely to be sent to prison than women and prison sentences tend to be longer.36 (Jail is for shorter sentences, so naturally the sex with the longer sentences would go to prison.) Here’s the sexism: why are men more likely to be given longer sentences for the same crime and equivalent criminal histories to begin with?

Imagine reading a government report saying a sister and brother stole bubble gum, and the boy was sent to prison while the girl was confined to her room. If it then explained that the boy was kept in prison longer simply because prison sentences tend to be longer than room confinement, wouldn’t we be asking, "Wait, that misses the point: why was the boy put in prison and the girl put in her room for the same crime to begin with?"

The need to deny sexism when it cuts agaiast men then, runs much deeper than feminism: it is pan of our collective unconscious process of using government-as-protector to substitute for male-as-protector.

The Chivalry Factor 31

White middle-class people in the criminal justice system basically look at women as incapable of committing some of the crimes they are charged with. They therefore try to find rationales as to why the woman wasn’t really involved. But the women who are being dealt with sympathetically are the white, middle-class women, not the poor and minorities.

Barbara Swartz, Director, Women’s Prison Project38

The Chivalry Factor works this way. The courts are designed to give equal protection. The more a judge (or jury) sees women as the weaker sex, the more the judge reasons (usually unconsciously) that the court needs to give a woman extra protea ion (to compensate for her being the weaker sex) in order for the result to be equal proteaion. This is the reasoning process of the judges we call chauvinistic, chivalrous, or patriarchal. It is also the reasoning process of the adolescent feminist. The chauvinist and feminist are both female protective Many female judges, though, are less female protective than either chauvinists or feminists. As one attorney put it, "If there were more women judges, more women would go to jail.’’39