It took me a bit to gather how I felt about this article and the comments that follow: http://elitedaily.com/dating/chivalry-dead-9-everyday-gestures-make-girls-melt/863633/.
Why do we write these articles, like these articles, share these ideas that push the idea that men need to do these things or that men who behave like this deserve something? In the comments, you’ll find comments from people who claim they do these things but don’t have luck in the romance department, but not to argue to stop with this “chivalry” but to hint at some “where’s my piece of the pie.” For some their sense of pride and identity is wrapped up in it. For some their upbringing and parents are tied in.
This is going to be a rant. If you don’t understand why promoting “chivalrous acts” and creating a mental image of a “perfect man” with these ideas contributes to gender inequality, then perhaps you need a dose of Everyday Feminism.
Okay, here goes: Opening doors. Everyone should open doors for each other if they’re in front of a door and someone’s immediately behind. It’s called manners. For someone to get out of the way to open a door for you, you probably require it because of accessibility issues to the building/vehicle. For any other reason…why? Don’t do nice things only for women. Do nice things for everyone.
I don’t even know what to say about saving the last piece of food. For me, the last piece is has typically been what no one wants. Spending time with your fam isn’t chivalry. Your friends would do the same, so this is cool.
“Suffering” through a “girly” movie. Wow. As if men cannot enjoy these on their own. As if we should expect someone to waste hours of their lives doing things they don’t enjoy. The fact that the writer of the article expects women to somehow appreciate this or find it romantic that someone would do something like this? I’m confused. It’s one thing about trying new things together but to, omg, suffer, like go out and volunteer and be productive in that hour instead. Don’t waste that time of your life.
Sending flowers. This is cute. I think people giving things to each other without occasion is cute. At the same time, I think by putting it out there, it sets expectations that men should spend money on temporary things (c’mon, flowers die unless you plant a garden) randomly on top of the already societal expectations that they splurge on holidays/couple days. That’s unfortunate for the men in question if they’re tight on cash.
This walking on the outside of the sidewalk. I had someone do this to me once and I was so offended. The sidewalk was huge and the street was empty. It seemed like an empty gesture to win brownie points and done so he could be seen as “chivalrous” or “caring.” When you’re in public, things can get you from all angles. Don’t play the “I’m trying to protect you” card. Unless you do this with all your friends regardless of gender and have a real fear of them dying from cars getting onto the curb, that’s pretty sexist. Implying that a woman is weaker, etc.
Kissing your forehead. I don’t understand why this is on the list. This reinforces the idea that men “should” be taller than their women counterparts though. I mean it’s hard to reach a forehead otherwise. Accept couples of all pairings regardless of their sizes.
Filling the gas tank. Why do you match vehicles to men and keep the stereotypes going? “…indicative of a man who was raised right…” Wow. That’s a loaded line. That’s indicative of a man that was raised to believe that in order to be considered well-mannered, he has to do everyday chores for other people when the other people are fine doing it themselves. Can’t you see how this looks down on a woman’s abilities and puts unnecessary pressure on men to do these things?
Honestly if a guy was making me walk on the inside of the sidewalk and wouldn’t let me fill my own gas tank, I’d think, “Wow, he’s getting really controlling,” and GTFO. Some women (since the original article was from a heteronormative standpoint), as indicated by the comments, really like those from their partners, but before considering to do any of these behaviours or adding them to your routine in charming people, get to know the women, if she’s more liberal minded, if she’s taken gender studies courses, if she’s taken sociology courses, if she’s exposed to modern thinking, etc. Don’t blindly go into a date and expect a positive, welcoming response from a woman just because you’re told by an Elite Daily article that that’s what women want.
And last thing to address. If you’re both in cold weather, respect yourself a little and keep your jacket on. Unless you prevented her from wearing a jacket or she can’t afford one, she probably had as much access as you to a weather report or view out a window. I mean, be nice if she’s freezing, but let people learn to take care of themselves and don’t create this awful cycle of women supposed to expect men to carry extra layers on their behalf and then men, also cold, feeling pressured to give up warm layers for someone less prepared for the weather. We’re fully capable and we dress knowing the consequences, thank you very much. If you’re going to give up a layer, then do it because the person is cold, not because she’s a woman.
I don’t fully understand feminism and I’m constantly learning, but I do know that every time an article like this pops up on my newsfeed, I have this angry feeling of “why are they spreading this to men and telling them what to do?” Being a decent human and respecting and being kind to everyone isn’t difficult. Assigning treatments to people specific to their gender and your intentions with them, that bothers me a lot.
Also, why make women currently in relationships think they’re not “good enough” relationships if these lists aren’t satisfied? Why can’t we change the expectations to things like “will stand up for social injustices” and “will support your successes” and “will listen and respond”? This movement of “chivalry is dying but we’re the rare few who will continue in the face of feminists” is unfortunate. Please don’t mansplain. Please don’t pit women against women (“I’m not like other women. I appreciate what you do. That’s why I’m not a feminist.”). We don’t need more of that in the world. Can we look at the bigger picture and instead of putting some new found appreciation for antiquated behaviours that serve little beyond validating guys that they are indeed “gentlemen” and validating women that they have a guy that thinks they’re “good enough” to do all these for, put the focus on what really matters in a relationship.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think you’re a bad person if you open doors and buy gifts. I open doors for people. The difference is that I don’t do it because my parents taught me to always open doors for girls. I do it because it’s human decency and I do it for every gender. I buy gifts without occasion too, but I don’t do it because I think it’s expected of me or because I think it’ll improve my chance of something. I do it only when I have the resources and feel like it. Do you get my point? It’s the motivation behind the action that matters.
Last thing: the title is 9 Chivalrous Habits of A True Gentleman That Make Women Melt. Women, respect yourselves and don’t be surprised/melt when someone treats you decently and question if those acts are out of decency, out of social expectations, or other motives. I give you this wonderful post from Feminist_Tinder. https://instagram.com/p/8HAHOhupqN/