Chivalry is dead? Oh no!! I hope not!

There are a few things that irritate me. And then there are those that infuriate. Finally, there are things that do both. This article managed precisely that: to infuriate and irritate, like scratching nails on a blackboard. You get my point? Yeah! Exactly!

Don’t get me wrong. I surely have problems with sexism; only, my definition of it differs from the ones mentioned by the bloggers mentioned. I mean…what’s the deal with chivalry huh? I am rather flattered that a man choses to hold the door open for me or that he has the decency to offer to pay the restaurant bill while taking me out. I don’t judge myself on my capacity to open doors or carry heavy boxes. Whoever said that when a man offers to carry a woman’s boxes or shopping bags, he does it because he doesn’t believe her to capable of doing so herself? I am a woman and I find it very considerate and courteous when a man apologizes for using swear words in front of me. Indeed, I would take great offense if a man were to use the f-word to me in any context, unless he was a very close friend of mine. I frankly do not see why these women are so outraged about chivalry and understand even less how holding a door open for someone would amount to infantilizing.

This attitude strikes me as wrong on so many levels. One, these women mistakenly assume that every man looks at a woman as nothing but an object (of desire, love, hate, protection et al.). I beg to differ. There are men who firmly believe that women are individuals in their own right and yet, will wait to hold the door open for them, will offer to carry their boxes, will pay the bill on a first date and will stand by her in a fight, come what may. I personally know at least two such men, for whom chivalry simply equals manners. It has nothing to do with dehumanizing, infantilizing or patronizing women.

Second, these women appear to feel the inexplicable need for proving they are good every single time. I don’t lose anything by admitting that I need help carrying heavy boxes. And no, I certainly will not take offense to being offered help for it. In fact, dating a man who refuses to carry my shopping bags or makes me carry all the heavy stuff while walking empty-handed is a rather huge turn-off! No modern-day feminism for me: thank you very much!

That brings me to my final point. Taking offense to every damned thing a man does for a woman and calling it sexist is certainly not the brand of feminism I believe in. Feminism is about equality of opportunity. It is about not being made to feel like a second-class citizen because of my gender. It is being given the same my brother would be and not being denied something just because I am a girl.

So, my appeal to all those trigger-happy feminists out there would be this. Could you please stop taking offense to every damn thing a man may or may not do? And in the meantime, let me enjoy the little pleasures of life…including allowing a man to hold my door open and carry my boxes. I don’t fancy doing all the hard work myself!! 😛

11 thoughts on “Chivalry is dead? Oh no!! I hope not!

  1. sreekrishnan says:

    i am reminded of that vivek joke in Dhill (?) – these [Pink chaddi campaign style women] are who talk about taking offense on these silly things but forget other major place where they should take offense.

    and you rightly point out that the judgment factors of their capability is way too poor. I’d rather not hold doors open for them 🙂

    I carry bags [for 2 females my whole life till now], hold doors open [for any one following me] and apologize for the slang i may occasionaly use. If they are offended – well, i am not apologizing for that :).

  2. Suki says:

    I don’t think the objection is as much to those actions in particular as to the fact that these things are done BY MEN, and FOR WOMEN. And that the women consider this their prerogative, much like children with their parents. One example of this is what I see all the time in buses, where “ladies’ seats” are claimed with alacrity, with women practically pushing men off their “rightful” place. (Extremely ladylike!!!)

    In buses where there are no “ladies’ seats”, I have seen men give up their seats in the bus for me – a perfectly healthy woman. On the other hand, an aged, obviously arthritic woman could stay standing, and not a single woman offers her her seat.

    With conventions like this doing the rounds, no wonder that feminists are going so anti-chivalry! Personally, I’ll carry my own bags or split the load equally, unless I’m hurt or sick. Or unless my companion is a muscly person who’ll hardly feel the weight I’m struggling under :P. And I’ll also give up my seat for an old man, woman or child. That’s my feminism.

    • amrutha says:

      All the same…I don’t get why these women take so much offense to something so trivial. Misplaced feminism and misguided frustration I would say!

      • Suki says:

        Well, it’s probably a bit too early in the game to kick up such a fuss over small things. There, I have to agree with you. First, tackle people like the woman in my French class, who needs her husband’s permission to join the next level!!!

  3. Indian Homemaker says:

    Amrutha courtesy and good manners are always welcome but door opening or pulling of a chair should not be expected as a right by either, and courtesy should be reciprocal.

    At the same time the person being chivalrous might have some expectations from the woman, like she is not expected to behave in an ‘unladylike manner’… I remember a teacher in school saying, “If you want to be respected like young ladies, then act like young ladies.” She explained how girls mustn’t rush to sit until a chair is pulled out and how they must wait until a door is held opened. This was tough at times, because one could pull a chair faster sometimes… some of us were always in a hurry 🙂

    //rival-punching, and honor-protecting//
    – I feel are avoidable. Some issues are best dealt with verbal communication. Violence is definitely avoidable. A lot of serious crimes (e.g. crimes of passion) begin with an single punch.

    I think reserved seats in crowded buses – are less about comfort, more about avoiding sexual harassment (e.g. men leaning or falling on women standing next to them in crowded buses).

  4. nita says:

    Hey Amri,

    Glad to note you’re back in the blogging groove. I’m kinda through with vocalising about women’s equality; there’s a lot of it going around so it’s the time for me to do some fence-sitting I guess. I do believe however, that chivalry is dying in some places. I see it happen in daily life around me… opening doors for men even and not getting so much as a thank you… it’s not out of expectation; but there’s a word for it; it’s called “courtesy” and a lot of men over here seem to be lacking it lately.

  5. Suki says:

    Need some tech advice please, I need to move to WP – to host three blogs on my domain – and am not sure what host to go with. Are you using WP’s own web hosting, or something else?

    I am hosting my blogs on Novahost. It’s completely free upto 800 MB of space. And very few server downs.

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