The Chivalry Murders

Feminism has murdered chivalry.

Yup, I came up and said it outright: women, in our quest for equality and independence, we have taken a blade and stabbed that knight in shining armour right between the ribs on his left side and straight into the organ that is kinda necessary to circulate a reddish fluid.

My opinion came after reading this opinion piece talking about how you may be sexist without even knowing it. It talks about microaggressions – small, often unintentional actions that perpetuate sexism. While I don’t disagree entirely with the premise and a few very good points were brought up, an example was given and discussed at length that made smoke come out of my ears: chivalry is a sexist microaggression.

Well my dear Ally Boguhn, you now not only got people screaming at their computers that they were trying to be kind, you also got me screaming at your computer that you, my dear, are the reason why gentlemen are retreating into their parents basement to be consoled by World of Warcraft and half a dozen two litres of Mountain Dew. Because you have now gone online and on record and said that being a nice person is a bad thing.

Someone call a doctor, we’ve got a bleeder.

I will admit that I tend to think more along the old-fashioned lines. I like it when men hold open doors for me, I like it when they offer to give me a hand carrying things, and since I’m a hardcore miserly penny-pincher I like it when men offer to buy me dinner cause shit, free food. These actions in my mind are not sexist, it’s the intention behind it – if you’re buying me dinner because you think I’m gonna sleep with you, that’s where it gets into the realm of sexism. But buying me dinner because you’re a gentleman and I’m a lady, that’s not sexist in the slightest. In my world, whoever asks the person out picks up the check – if you asked me to dinner, you had damn well better be throwing down your Amex card for it, same as I would be putting mine down if I did the asking.

Granted, I’m in a position now where it doesn’t matter who pays for dinner since it’s all coming out of the same bank account and I consider myself lucky in that from at least a philosophical standpoint Lord Imp and I are equals. And I think that’s where a lot of issues I take with feminists are in that so much time is spent nitpicking over things being exactly equal that the give-and-take is absent. Yup, I’m at home taking care of the baby and the house right now while my husband is off drooling on a keyboard in a computer lab. I’m making supper tonite, tidying up the house and I may even bake up some cookies. And I will probably be doing it again tomorrow. But I also get days to sleep in and he takes care of the baby while I take a nap. Tonite I get to sit on my ass and knit myself the ugliest pair of socks ever while Lord Imp keeps the baby out of my yarn. Sometimes he fixes supper, and I know that I will get a chance to do my own drooling on a keyboard in a computer lab this week. Is it exactly equal? Nope, sure isn’t, and often I find myself taking on a large chunk of the work that admittedly my busted body can’t handle and I do sometimes find myself angry. But I just spent ten days where I only got up with the baby for three of them and I only cooked two suppers so it does eventually even out in the long run.

There are still grand scheme things that need to be addressed, the equal pay thing being the biggest one among them. But from a purely small-circle standpoint (because let’s face it, the only thing that matters to me is the world I’m in), some of the things the piece addressed as being “bad” are part of the reason a good man is hard to find. We as women, in our fight for status, have ended up shaming and belittling men for being simply nice to a girl. Telling men that you should no longer hold a door open for her or pay for her meal is completely asinine. Don’t drive the nice guys down into the video game abyss, bring them out into the sun.

The article does bring up that people shouldn’t be nice to women because they’re a woman, they should be nice because they’re nice to all people and I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. However, buried after spending a great deal of time belittling men for holding a door open for a woman it kind of got lost in the argument. I honestly had to go back to the article to make sure that a counterpoint was in fact included, hoping that the author wasn’t really as whacked out as I thought. But it begs a question: is it REALLY so bad to be nice to a woman BECAUSE she’s a woman? Am I the only person who likes feeling special for no reason other than my gender? Am I the only person who enjoys being put on a pedestal simply due to the fact that I’m a woman? For thousands of years men were held in higher esteem simply for being men, what’s so wrong about me wanting it as a woman? I honestly see it as a bit of a double standard: you want to be treated equal as a man, but only if it means exhibiting power over men much in the same way they exhibited power over women.

I know, that was a huge stretch, but hear me out. For centuries, men have told women how to act, what to say, what jobs they can have and basic dictation on how to live. And here we are as women, telling men that their thoughts need to be reorganised, anything negative needs to be kept to themselves and they need to reevaluate their mindset. They need to stop offering to give a girl a hand. They need to do more housework and play with the kids. They need to be sensitive and caring and support a woman and her career. How is this any different from the way men have treated women in our society? I feel like in our quest for equality as women, we have found ourselves just as guilty of the same transgressions we tell men they need to knock off. We’ve been telling men how to act and what is appropriate, much like women have been throughout history. Which, in my mind, is totally not okay. Maybe we need to start working with men instead of against them.

So, all you knights in shining armour out there, hold open doors. Offer to pay for meals. Ask her if she needs a hand carrying something. Just don’t do it with a motive, do it because you are in fact a nice guy. And if she refuses your offers, then leave it at that. If she wants to split the check, go for it. There’s no need for you to hide the fact that you’re a nice person simply because it’s an example of “microaggression.” Keep being that person. The world needs more of them.

And women, for the love of God, let them offer. If you don’t need their help then awesome. But there’s really no need to tell these guys that what they’ve been doing is wrong. I get that everyone is different and has a different opinion, but holy counterproductivity Batman. As women, we NEED these nice guys, because they’re the ones who are going to back us up as we rise through the ranks, they’re the ones who are going to be our allies when fighting for equal pay and they’re the ones who are going to get up at midnight because a kid wet the bed again. Telling them that their actions are wrong is only going to put them underground – and we need these knights now more than ever.

So stop murdering chivalry. If anything, because I can’t ride a horse and I sure as shit need help with it.

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2 thoughts on “The Chivalry Murders

  1. Chivalry is dead because men either directly or anecdotal have found out that being chivalrous decreases the chances they will sleep with the girl and significantly increases the chances that they will be left feeling disrespected, used and regretful of doing that. (before they’ve slept together).

    Also when men and women are equal, chivalry doesn’t mean the man is superior, it actually means he’s inferior. He’s courting her and the woman either consciously or unconsciously recognizes this as submissive behavior from the man which is a turnoff.

    I could only see this working when a woman feels she’s lower in status than the guy (like it was back in the day) and him doing something nice like this makes her feel safer, more comfortable and like he respects her even though he’s above her status-wise.

    Another way chivalry could work is if the man is already sleeping with the woman but there’s a clear dominant/submissive dynamic between him and the woman.

    This may not be your experience but if you and your girlfriends became male and tried dating women for a few years you’d see how ineffective chivalry is in having positive experiences in dating.

    • I do totally see this side. It kind of relates back to the whole “friendzone” phenomenon – the nice guys get put into the friendzone by the girls, so what’s the point in being nice? But I think that’s where it’s up to us as women to stop seeing the nice guys as being weak and unsuitable for mating, although that will take a lot of work from both a biological and societal standpoint. In the meantime, how about women stop bitching that all men are pigs, stop dating the assholes and start giving the good guys a chance? It reeks of hypocrisy to me – “oh, this one’s a nice guy so I don’t want to date him, but I’m gonna go and date this bad guy because he intrigues me….oh wait, he just cheated on me and stole my car hot damn men suck ass. Oh well, rinse and repeat.”

      I guess in the end it’s a ‘chicken-or-egg’ debate: is it the women not choosing the nice men that drove them underground, or was it a few rotten apples that spoiled the bunch? In the end, I think that the path to equality is a two-way street, and I have a tough time believing that hard-line feminists are doing us any favours. Coming off as brash and telling men what they need to do is just as bad as a man telling a woman what to do in my book. It’s not getting men to change. I think that we need to realise that despite equality being a good idea on paper, the fact of the matter is that there ARE differences between the two sexes, and I think that maybe these differences need to be embraced rather than shoved to the side. However, that’s not to say that a man needs to be strong simply because he’s a man, nor does it mean that a woman needs to be weak simply because she’s a woman, just that maybe we’ve taken the whole “TREAT ME AS AN EQUAL, DAMNIT!” idea just a little too far.

      In the meantime, I’m going to sit on the couch in my pink fuzzy slippers, drink my coffee and continue on with my little world just as it is. Because I most certainly know that I have it extremely lucky.

      P.S. I now TOTALLY have the voice of the karate teacher from South Park in my head now. Thanks. 😉

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