I’m just a woman muddling through life in an increasingly feminist society. The fight against misogyny, for equal rights and female success, seems pretty wonderful to me. However, we girls have backhanded ourselves by relinquishing the gift of ‘chivalry’.
Chivalry used to mark the gentlemen from the ingrates. It was a way for a man to respect women, to show they could cherish and protect. A man would hold a woman’s umbrella and walk on the side of the pavement closest to the road. A man would carry a woman’s bags because, in all likelihood, he was stronger than she was. A man would pour the water for a woman on a date, pay the bill, and walk her home to ensure her safety. These acts of chivalry seem – at least to me – kind of beautiful.
Things are changing, though. From what I’ve heard, guys live in a state of confusion. Nowadays, if they open a door for a woman, it could go one of three ways.
First woman: “Thank you.”
Second woman: [says nothing, just walks through haughtily]
Third woman: “Excuse me, do you think I can’t open that myself?”
The first woman just shows basic appreciation. The second is someone who expects chivalry but doesn’t think it deserves her acknowledgement. The third is ‘woke’, someone who strives for equality of the sexes.
The weird thing is, this third type of woman is all too often a contradiction. If she and her guy are in bed and a sinister thudding starts downstairs, who goes to check on it? Should be 50:50, but it isn’t. It’s the guy’s job to sort out the feral possum, the armed murderer, or the failing washing machine. This type of woman cries out “Equality!” but is the first one out of a burning building. She tolerates zero sex-biased discrimination in the workplace yet can’t bring herself to deny maternity leave.
I get it. Some women really believe the oppressive, archaic nature of chivalry should be buried in the past. Good for them – if they want to fight on the front lines of a battle. They can squash the spiders in the shower, pay for the drinks on Tinder dates, and sink on the Titanic while men escape on lifeboats. Women who truly do these things – not those who simply blab about how they would – have my respect. That’s consistent feminism.
As for me, I’d prefer some old-fashioned treatment. A man who steps in front to shield me from threat, a man who’ll court me and get down on his knee – not the other way around. My grandfather used to get up at the crack of dawn before facing a hard day’s work on the farm. Every morning, without fail, he’d bring my grandmother a cup of tea in bed. Anyone who thinks that chivalry is misogyny might want to think again. Chivalry is a trade-off, and it’s one I’m happy to make.