We’re living in confusing times, where holding a door open for a lady will either result in a “thank you” or a scowl. You don’t know whether women appreciate it or roll their eyes at the prospect. Yes, feminism is a hot topic these days, and for good reason and it might get you thinking that holding open the door or paying for your date’s ice cream cone is belittling her power. It’s true that depending what kind of experiences she’s had in her life, she might see that as belittling, but that is when it turns into a personality trait. This view on chivalry does not reflect the female opinion at large.
To most women, chivalry is a sign of respect. Women are on average smaller, less muscular, more vulnerable emotionally and physically and let’s not forget the wage gap. These are all realities of a woman’s world, and we don’t expect you to understand it, but we do expect you to respect it. You’re not being a chauvinist, you are being a guy who cares.
I run into two different groups when it comes to feminism and gender equality issues. There are some women who see feminism as “be more like a man” and push away everything feminine. Then there is the group who sees it as “be proud to be a woman”. You can see this in action when a girl is considered “cool” when she drinks whiskey which is a stereotypical man’s drink. But a man is considered “lame” if he is ever caught drinking a Cosmo, a stereotypical woman’s drink. It’s no wonder women feel ashamed when the man pays for the date. They feel like they are being a “typical girl” and if being a girl is wrong, then they should be more like a man.
Your role is to not feed into this shame cycle, but to recognize what the pitfalls are to being a woman in this current century and become sensitive to it. If your girlfriend is ranting about getting catcalled in the street, don’t just write it off and say “they were just having fun”. Really listen to what she’s saying and take what she’s saying seriously. If that’s not chivalrous, I don’t know what is…
The truth is, is that currently at this time on planet earth, women get the short end of the stick. It’s harder to get a job, it’s harder to be taken seriously, it’s harder to really believe in yourself. These are straight up facts of reality. Hopefully it will change soon, but we have to respect the journey.
If a girl ever gives you a hard time for being a gentleman, just let her know that you understand how hard it is to be a woman in a man’s world. If it’s coming from a truly genuine and not from an approval seeking place, she will appreciate it and will even feel proud of herself and her fellow woman.