How many of us women expect a guy to open the door for us, pay for dinner, offer to carry the bags or take our puppies for walks? And yet, we also expect to be treated equally and with as much independence as anyone is allowed.
I know, I know guys. It sounds ultra confusing and it just underlines the prehistoric argument that women are fickle and are from a different planet. Bear with me as I give a you peek into our allegedly differently wired brains.
Patriarchal paradigms took decades to destroy and to this day there are still semblances of that kind of discrimination so forgive us, male species, if we feel apprehensive whenever you selflessly offer us a hand. Like most people, there are days when we feel we have to stand up for ourselves even in the smallest of threatening circumstances- carrying our luggage, opening the door or calling a cab home. I’m sure this also happens when we take care of you too much like bringing you cookies during boys night out or making you wear knitted pink cardigans. Emasculating right? Well, deviating from the take-care-of-us habit makes us feel we can take care of ourselves, we’re our own people- which is true of course. It doesn’t mean we do not appreciate your instinct to help out when you see fit. Accept that there times when we don’t want to be helped.
Then there’s also the argument that different women have different tolerances to chivalry. I, for instance, thank men who offer me a seat during the long commute because I’m usually wearing 5 inch pumps but I don’t believe men should always pay when going on dates. You’re not a credit card. I can’t just charge all of our outings on your wad because I ate and had fun too. Don’t blame the entire female population for your thinning wallet because not every one is after free dinners and your shiny card. And yes, there will be women who will not tolerate any man doing anything for them period. There are also those who are traditional and would demand that you do everything for them. Those extremes exist and if you land one of those girls, it’s up to you to figure out her individual tolerance. Most of us on the other hand want a perfect balance of independence and gentlemanly encounters. It’s not the confusing, right?
Intent is also an important ingredient when performing acts of chivalry. A gentlemen opens a door for a girl not because he thinks she’s a lesser being, weaker and easily manipulated by men, but because he respects her enough and wishes to show simple acts of admiration by making her life a little easier. You see, intent may not be said but it is felt. Woman or not, a person knows when someone is doing an act good out of good or out of sheer arrogance.
The goal of feminism or gender quality is not to destroy moments of interaction between men and women.
Empowering ourselves, knowing that we are treated as equals in all media does not reduce our clamor for romance and simple, random acts of admiration. Feminism means listen to us. Understand our needs and make us a part of your decisions. Often the best forms of chivalry respond to that need when used at the right time with the right women.