Chivalry and Feminism?

Chivalry.  Feminism.  Chivalry and feminism.  Can those words go together?  Are they two completely unrelated ideas that can really co-exist?  I question myself on this at times.  The other day I struggled outside my office building trying close my umbrella, while keeping my all important coffee cup upright, hang onto my bags and get through the door.  The man who had walked right past me, also walked right through the door and kept on going.

I certainly managed to keep everything in my hands, get through the door, and finish my coffee safely at my desk.  I have every other day.  At what point are women asking for too much from each pot?  I certainly expect, on a date, that the door be held open, my chair be pulled out. As one friend pointed out to me, chivalry is part of romance, and an expectation from a relationship.  So what am I looking for in daily life?  I like when men hold the door open for me, let me onto an elevator first, let me get on an escalator ahead them.

All women today are standing on the shoulders of those who came before us.  Yet we’re still taught that the man comes to the door to get you, opens doors, pulls out chairs, and pays the bill.  Is that contradictory?  Women can do whatever we want, study whatever we want, purpose any career, or stay home and raise kids.  Be independent, but don’t let the guy convince you to split the bill!

Should we be making new rules?  Should we just be expecting men to do the right thing?  Kindness knows no gender.  Why are we expecting men to do the little things?  Yes, let them do those little things on dates that you expect.  Women can also open doors, hold elevators, or let others through a door first.  Do we all forget because we live in big, busy city?

Thinking back to the other morning, there was a woman walking in around the same time I was closing my umbrella, and trying to keep my coffee up right while getting in the door.  She didn’t offer help either.  Let’s think about what we’re looking for, or at least what I’m looking for.  Someone to be thoughtful enough to see someone needs help, or kind enough to say you go first.  I leave the question of chivalry on a date up to each individual – everyone has his or her own expectations.  However, I do think it is safe to say: let’s all just be nice to each other in everyday life.

Women can be chivalrous too!  On your way home today, hold a door for someone else, let someone go ahead of you, help someone find his or her way.


Originally appeared on Fem2.0


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