( n. Modern attitudes and behaviors that mimic or glorify sexist aspects of the past, often in an ironic way.
retro-sexist adj.

Example Citation:
The most interesting thing about the surge of retro-sexism is how unprepared feminists and other enlightened thinkers are to deal with it. The ironic tone of the material defeats them. Feminists seem to know they are being toyed with. They don't want to appear to be earnest plodders in the face of hip, playful gestures, and they don't want to grant that anyone is more postmodern than they are. The British feminist Imelda Whelehan wrote a book on laddie culture called Overloaded: Popular Culture and the Future of Feminism, in which she seemed to be completely flummoxed by the phenomenon. "Classic notions of distinctions between the sexes appear to be reinforced, but it is never easy to determine to what extent parody and irony support or undermine those distinctions," she wrote.
—David Brooks, "The Return of the Pig," The Atlantic Monthly, April 2003

Earliest Citation:
Henry Allen misses the true reason for the so-called "girl" rule in co-ed volleyball ["The Art of Courting Women Correctly," Style, May 19].

When I was first introduced to the rule requiring that at least one female player hit the ball whenever there are two or three hits on your side of the net, I also suspected some kind of retro-sexism. After all, why should gender rather than ability determine who had to hit the ball?
—Greg Davidson, "Machoball" (letter), The Washington Post, May 25, 1991

Related Words: