Has feminism killed the art of chivalry?


cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by laloking97

I was a sophomore in college when I was familiarized with the bells and whistles surrounding the concept of feminism.

Until then, I ignorantly believed the only thing that defined the concept was women having the same rights as men.

Sociology courses, feminist professors eager to recruit young women to solidarize with the cause, and progressive thinking friends, all served to reaffirm that there was much more to it than that.

At the time, I was working part-time and studying full-time.

Being able to manage this busy lifestyle successfully provided me with a sense of empowerment.

And for the first time in my life, I felt self-sufficient.

No longer was it necessary for daddy to cover my expenses or for boyfriends to pay for dinner.

I felt powerful, strong, on top of the world.

Supporting feminists’ views seemed the right thing to do.

After all, they went so well with my new quasi-independent state.

Every day I would come home and rant and rave on Gloria Steinem, the exploitation of women, and why Hugh Hefner was the Devil incarnate.

I judged and condemned women who depended on men for their livelihood; my mother included.

At the time, I saw her as a pampered housewife who’d never worked a day in her life and who relied on my grandmother to act as a governess.

My mother quickly turned into everything I despised in women who didn’t fend for themselves.

She was needy, powerless, and complacent.

Fortunately, time and life’s experiences taught me that not everything was black and white and that this was also true of feminism.

This morning, I was reminded of why my views changed.

When I boarded the bus, I realized the only four seats left were reserved for the elderly, handicapped, or women with children.

Hence, I grabbed a handle and braced myself.

When we reached the next stop, I noticed a man in his mid sixties rushing ahead of a group of four women.

Their ages ranged in the early to late seventies.

The man quickly sat down on one of the four seats and as a result, one of the women was left standing.

Unfortunately, she did not plant her feet firmly and the moment the bus took off, she lost her balance and fell.

I was standing a few feet from her and rushed to help, noticing as I did so, that no one else had moved.

It was as if they were under the spell of the bystander effect and believed it wasn’t their duty to assist; that someone else should do it.

Fortunately, a lady standing next to me awoke from her trance like state and between the two of us, we managed to lift the elderly woman.

The bus driver, who was in the middle of crossing an intersection when the accident happened, quickly pulled over to ask if the lady was okay.

She weakly informed him that she was and we continued our trajectory.

Throughout the incident, the middle-aged man remained motionless.

He looked straight ahead; oblivious to what had transpired.

For a second, I felt an emotion I rarely feel: disgust.

After all, if he hadn’t rushed ahead, the lady would’ve been able to sit down.

Needless to say, I was fuming at his action, or rather, inaction.

When I returned home, I narrated the incident to the Significant Other.

His reply was that given women have fought arduously to secure equality, men don’t feel they have to go out of their way to accommodate women’s needs.

After all, the reality was that both genders have the same right to a seat on the bus.

However, I disagree.

And I do so because I believe feminism has nothing to do with a man being courteous, kind, or chivalrous.

Chivalry.

My nana would say that chivalry is dead.

Many men, and notice how I write many and not all, have sadly forgotten what it’s like to be chivalrous; to be a gentleman.

And for all my wannabe feminist attitude, I miss the Don Quixote of yesteryear.

I yearn for the days when men opened doors, pulled out chairs, and stood when a woman entered or left a room.

I miss the days when a “dropped” handkerchief was quickly retrieved and returned to a lady.

I miss the days when women went first; when women were considered the fairer sex.

I wish for the days when men steadied you, steered you by the elbow, and held out their hand to help you take a step up or down.

Today’s accident angered me because women having equal pay, status, and importance have nothing to do with men being well mannered, considerate, and empathic.

However, a part of me wonders if men have gotten lazy at exercising the art of chivalry, or if we’ve stifled it with our demands.

I cringe as I think of the many times I’ve become indignant when the Significant Other has offered to help; to open a jar.

Ladies, have we huffed and puffed so much that men no longer feel they have to go out of their way to show us consideration?

Or on the contrary, have men conveniently taken advantage of our desire to roar alongside them as an excuse to be indifferent?

What say you, sisters?

I’m interested in your thoughts.

Talk to me.

97 thoughts on “Has feminism killed the art of chivalry?

  1. Since they don’t seem to mind our huffing and puffing about other things I don’t think we have scared them into bad manners. I lean more toward they have become lazy and all our huffing and puffing has given them an easy out. In this age of law suits I think many times people, including women, are afraid to rush in and help someone in trouble. A few years ago I had a patient injured in a car accident. The car behind had stopped and seeing flames underneath the car knew he had to get my trapped patient out or she would die. In the process of trying to free her from the seat belt and pulling her from the burning car he broke one of her fingers. He suffered burns over 60% of his body. Instead of being grateful that he risked his own life to save hers (and was significantly more injured than she was as a result of saving her), she sued him for the broken finger. And won.

    • Shea, I hear you about the fear of law suits. Luckily that isn’t such a threat here in Europe. You can still find good samaritans but every now and then, accidents happen and people seem to freeze. It’s unbelievable. And I’m with you–I think some of them are using our “huffing and puffing” as a means to not do very much of nothing at all! :)

  2. I say I’m with you. I don’t need feminism. They can take their women’s lib and shove it. Well, shove most of it. I want a man to stand and take off his hat when I approach a table or enter a conversation. I want my doors opened, an elbow offered, my chair pulled out for me. I don’t think chivalry is dead; it’s just extremely endangered. To those men who still practice it without being overbearing or cheesy, I salute you. To those who don’t, get off your lazy ass, put the video game controller down, and help your woman open that jar!

    • Laura, and here I thought I was the cheese in the game, “The cheese stands alone!” Thank goodness for that! Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to fight for my right to be independent, but I’m surely not going to turn down courtesy, kindness and gentlemanly actions. No way, Jose. I love your roar! You tell ‘em, sister! :)

  3. There is a common pattern to behavior which has to do with how pressing the population is. More people, more anonymity, less personal responsibility to act correctly. There are plenty of rude people in the big cities, because no one is held accountable. Parents also have been very lax in the education of their kids, unfortunately. And poor men, they are confused, and rightly so, about how to act with women. Do something nice, and occasionally some woman will be offended….but rarely I think. Most people are simply insecure and will not be the first to act. How very sad that the person who returns the wallet or rescues the fallen person from the train is deemed heroic. Boy do I hate big cities!
    I always say that nobody should be proud of the things that they “don’r know how to do” such as sewing, changing a tire, shooting a gun, caring for a baby. And to be sure, if you want your man to do the dishes, you had better know how to change your own oil! Life is too short to cultivate areas of non-expertise as a definition of role. Different, but all human (most of us…).

    • Hear, hear! Big cities are the worst! I once visited Paris, saw how a woman fell in the metro station and nobody stopped to help her. Heinous, I tell you! I agree that men do get mixed signals at times. If I’m struggling to reach something and the Significant Other offers to bring it down, I will snap at him and say, “I’ve got this!” However, if he doesn’t volunteer to bring up grocery bags, I will scream, “What the hell are you waiting for?” So yes, the poor men are steered left and right at the same time, sometimes. hee hee! Finally, no chore should be gender defined. Everyone should have a little knowledge of this and that regardless of what this and that is. Does that make sense? :)

  4. To me, feminism is about open doors. I want women to be able to do the work that interests them for the same pay that a man would receive. If a woman chooses not to work outside the home, that’s a valid option, too.

    As far as the man on the bus goes, that sounds to me like a lack of civility. I think he was considering only his own wants instead of imagining himself in the place of the elderly woman who truly needed the seat. I bet he’s the kind of man who would open a door for a pretty young woman if he thought it would get him somewhere.

    • Shary, I think you may be right. Some men do tend to tailor their actions based on the outcome. I think Laura said it best when she said, chivalry isn’t dead, just extremely endangered. Men have to realize that manners and common courtesy should be employed. But this also applies to women. I’ve seen some rude women who don’t exhibit kindness in the way they act and speak. Perhaps the art of consideration is the one that is dying. At times it appears we live in a world filled with apathetic inhabitants. Sigh.

  5. I believe that many men are confused. There used to be rules about what was appropriate; while I don’t care about some silly strict rules, at least people knew how they were supposed to act (not that everyone did act that way). These days, with all the girl power talk and all, a bunch of guys doesn’t know how to act anymore. If they act like gentlemen and open the door for the lady, would the lady get angry at that (there are women who are offended by that)? Would they be laughed at by other men? It could be easily solved if women would simply tell them what they wanted, but a lot of women believe they are not allowed to say directly what they want, that it’s unladylike, that they’re supposed to give hints, often so subtle that nobody on the planet could understand them, let alone the poor guys. Or, with the popular culture, they come to believe that if the guy can’t read their mind, anticipate and fulfill their every wish, he doesn’t really care about them, he doesn’t love them.

    I think there’s a lot of confusion, both among men and women, when it comes to how they’re both supposed to act. And there’s a lack of communication which could clear up that confusion.

    As for that elderly man on the bus, while I think he was acting rude and inconsiderate, he’s hardly the only one to blame. Were those four seats the only seats where the elderly were allowed to sit? Was the bus already full of elderly people, women with children, and the handicapped? Or were there younger people sitting, in which case one of them could have gotten up and let the elderly lady take his or her place?

    • Ivana, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you say communication would serve to clear uup so many misconceptions. Sadly, many of us are still engaging in mind games and this complicates things. The bus was filled to capacity. You’re right–someone else could’ve stood up to let the lady take their place but the four seats I’m alluding to are located in the front of the bus. Hence, the elderly passengers don’t have to navigate the length of a moving bus to sit down.

  6. Oh boy. . . what to say about this?

    To me, feminism means equal rights AND responsibility. That we are equal partners with men. And just because we are equal does not mean that chivalry is dead. Rather, it means that both men AND women are chivalrous (sp?)

    In the situation you described (so eloquently, as always) if the sexes were reversed (middle aged woman sitting, older man standing) I would expect the woman to stand up and let the man sit. I also agree with Ivana when she asks if there were any younger people on the bus who could have gotten up. If that was the case, one of them certainly should have given up their seat.

    • Rachel, I also feel that if a younger woman were sitting and an older gent came ont the bus, I would expect her to give him her seat. This because it’s courteous to exhibit consideration for your elders. You’re spot on feminism equating responsibility. I agree and I hope that someday we will be men’s equals. Sadly, you and I both know this isn’t our current reality. Men still make more money, still hold the power positions and we have yet to have a female Commander-in-Chief. Baby steps. I’m not giving up! Because of the seat configuration on the bus, the lady would’ve had to walk down the aisle of a moving bus to reach the back seats. That’s why the elderly have prefered seats in front. The old fashioned me still applies the term chivalry to men. Sorry, sisterhood! :)

  7. Haha, I still equate chivalry as a male characteristic. But I’m trying to remember that I can be chivalrous too. If you want change, you have to start with yourself, right? :)

  8. Hmmm….great question and the comments are already really great. I see things from both sides, but I have to honestly say I can see why some men have lost the chivalry. They are afraid to open a door for a woman for fear she might yell at him. Yes, I’ve seen this happen! Rude woman said, “Thanks but I can do that for myself.” I bet that man never opened another door for any female. Men can be oblivious and rude but so can women. I am surprised that old man did this though because HIS generation was raised differently.

    • Michael Ann, thank you! I told the Significant Other the same thing! I told him, I can understand a young man not showing much concern in who’s sitting and who’s not, but an older gent like that? Someone who was more than likely raised to believe differently? I was shocked. Really. Thanks for bringing that up, lady! :)

  9. I don’t care for feminists. They moan and groan about everything and when men bring up points which are valid, they have the but-but response. The role reversals have also feminized men, and allows for men to take the backseat of being breadwinners. It has also helped them in being lazy. Also, I believe we’ve moved beyond feminism to something called bitchism, where women are playing the both roles in a relationship and men truly don’t know their place. They are confused, which comes rather easily, when you think how aloof they can be.

    It’s tiring to ask men to do what they’re supposed to do. I was working with a student who dropped to the floor on me and I couldn’t left his stubborn weight. The male teacher kept walking and you better know I told him, “You see me struggling with this child. You better get back here and help me with this boy,” and yes, he helped me but what little respect I had for him vanished. It has gotten to a point where women have to teach men how to be men because feminist thinking has made them lazy and it is thoroughly disgusting. Feminists even think God was a woman, which is another argument in itself. They are so extra to me but then, I’m a person who doesn’t care for labels. As far as I’m concerned, I try to look at people and life before all of these indoctrinations that successfully divides us.

    • Sing it, sister! No one calls a spade a spade like you do, Totsymae! I love the passion, the zeal, the energy in your comment! The nerve of the teacher! Seriously, there are days where I question the human condition. I agree with you–men do seem to be confused. The Significant Other told me tonight, “Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” I think men have opted to go the lazy route to not have to cut across the “bitchism,” as you called it. Enough already, I say. It’s time to stop the demarcation of genders and start looking at humanity as a whole. Yet, I will say, courtesy and kindness should be exhibited by all. Life is too short to get by being rude. :)

  10. —I Am Daaaamn Angry

    My blood is boiling at this ignorance and selfishness…

    For one thing, that middle aged guy is an asshole & a creep…

    And Seriously,

    ….Any younger person (whether a man or woman ) should have given up their seat for that elderly woman.

    Period.

    It’s not about Feminism babe…. It’s called Manners and Common Sense.

    Love ya, Bella.

    • Kim, sweetheart, if ever I have to walk down a dark, dangerous and threatening alley, I want you by my side! Love your passion, woman! And I love how you support your ideals. I sat in shock wondering why the heck no one was getting up to help me pick the lady up. It was like a horror movie scene! And yes, it’s all about good manners and common sense. That’s why I wanted to point out how some would see this scene as a man not having to give up his seat for a woman, when the reality was that he should never had sat down if there were older women than him standing. And that’s a fact! Love you, sister! :)

  11. I agree and disagree, but I also have a slightly different definition of chivalry than you do. I see chivalry as the code of honor knights lived by, which was intended to instill a code of conduct that cherished women during a time in history in which women were property and were routinely raped, killed, and treated as animals. Chivalrous men sought to treat women better by treating them as these fragile, delicate, creatures. Their politeness was born out of a belief in women’s inequality to men and not necessarily out of respect. So I would agree that equal rights killed chivalry.
    But I do disagree that feminism has caused men (and women) to become more rude and uncaring. After all it wasn’t just the men on the bus that did not react of get up for the woman. It was just you, the other woman, and the bus driver who seemed to show concern.
    It seems to me that this lack of concern is a much more general issue than it is a male/female issue.

    • Purposefullyawkward, hello and welcome! I have always associated chivalry with knights in shining armor. I don’t see the concept in the same way you do. I see it as men of the time going above and beyond their expected duty to show a lady consideration and respect. I don’t believe their politeness stemmed from the belief women were less, but instead, as a way to show good the good graces of being a gentleman; of being cavalier. While I don’t believe feminism has made men and women rude, I believe it’s confused the men regarding what women want. And some men, in the process of adhering to the demands made by women, seemed to have forgotten their manners and the importance of exhibiting a chivalrous attitude. Yes, the lack of concern does involve both genders and that’s why I say that apathy doesn’t exclude any sex. Society, at times, does seem to show a side of indifference to the needs of its members

    • There are three meanings to chivalry and duties to women would be the most common. It, however, also encompasses protection of those who are weak, honor and fairness, if you reflect on Medieval Language and Literature, as well as being a faithful servant to God and protecting those who are innocent; championing good against evil. (Wikipedia)

      So, I see it as while women were not equal to men, men were very protective of women and her wants and needs were valued. Yes, they were viewed as the weaker sex because the Bible was integrated into the definition of chivalry. It appears the perspective of Purposely Awkward’s response is that of feminist thought. The Bible never viewed women as property or less than equal. It does say women are the weaker sex but that is only in a physical sense, not on an intellectual level. It has been man’s interpretation that women are less capable as a way to control others. Maybe it’s just me but I think the Bible shows that each gender has its strengths and weaknesses, meaning each has their own special capabilities and what they can contribute in a marriage.

      Therefore, when you look at all of what chivalry means, it would be fair and honorable for a man to give up his seat for that elderly woman on the bus, as well as doing his serving God, which is above all.

    • Totsy, I love that you’ve added this to our conversation. And I for one, am with the Bible on this one. Both genders do have their strengths and weaknesses. I’m all for chivalry. I really am. Ergo, my feeling the man should have let the elderly ladies sit in the chairs. If we add the fact that they were all older than him, then even more reason for this to have happened. If on top of that, we add that, as you mention, he would be doing his service to God, then it’s a done deal. I always believe that if you are able to put aside your personal selfishness, and think of the needs of others before your own, then you’re following in the likeness of God. But then again, that’s just me. :)

    • Sorry, King James is spinning in his grave, ladies. “The Bible never viewed women as property or less than equal.” I love you both dearly, but I think you missed the verses where, if a man sold his daughter as a concubine, and the man who bought her tired of her, it was considered in good taste (but not required by God) for Daddy Dearest to buy her back. Or the stories of men (not just Lot) giving up their daughters or lovers to be gang-banged to death.

      (Some) men have treated women badly, always, and have been eager to snatch at any excuse for doing so. Now, the handy excuse is feminism. During the Crusades, the “chivalric code” was an attempt to lessen the behavior of knights from conducting themselves at home the way most of them did on Crusade – raping, pillaging, murdering (doesn’t count if it’s against an infidel). Right now in Jerusalem, the super-Orthodox Jews are harassing women to sit at the back of the bus, to get off “their” sidewalks, and are spitting on 8-year old girls and calling them whores (Google it if you don’t believe me.)

      Human beings need to treat other human beings with dignity and respect and consideration. Period. If another human being has a special need – elderly, burdened with packages, pregnant, disabled, or caring for a young child – the rest of us *should* open doors for that person, offer a seat on the bus, etc. There is no excuse for being a jerk.

    • Beverly, I’m not well versed in the Bible but I believe that women were depicted as having more freedom in the Old Testament. In Jesus’ time, women were indeed considered inferior to men and were not allowed the rights of an education. I know how much research you do for your books and I’m happy you’ve shared facts on the chivalric code. By the way, I had no idea that this practice was now taking place in Jerusalem! appalling! And yes, most definitely compassion, kindness and consideration have to come into play in situations like these. There is no excuse for bad behavior.

  12. Even before I reached your comment, “I believe feminism has nothing to do with a man being courteous, kind, or chivalrous.” I was thinking that to myself. I don’t think chivalry or just plain being polite is taught or emphasized at home anymore. As for the older gentleman, I would like to think that something was truly physically wrong with him that he felt he really needed that seat, causing him to go out of his way to get it before the women. He knew that no one would give him a seat, either, even though he’s elderly. Reminds me of this old job I had. We were having a meeting and one of the staff members — an elderly gentleman (a retiree doing volunteer work) — walked into the conference room late. All the chairs were taken. The room was filled with high school interns (teenagers) and others in their 20s and then some older women. I got up quickly and offered my chair to the man and found someplace else to sit. Later on someone chastised me for my actions, especially because he wasn’t a woman. I informed that that he was an elderly man and man or woman, I was raised to respect my elders that way…. I can’t tell you how many stories I hear of pregnant women on the bus or subway and people rarely offer a seat to them. If anyone does, it’s usually another woman…But not all women will offer their seat, either… Society…

    • Paz, I’m with you–respecting our elders is something our generation was taught. I want to think that some parents still enforce courtesy rules, but sadly, that isn’t always the case. My father was a military man so we led a very disciplined life; one where there were rules and norms. Having respect for adults was one of the strictly reenforced rules and it’s something I also did with my own children. I’m fortunate enough to have witnessed the Son offering his chair to both men and women. And that makes me proud. :)

  13. This is quite the subject! Okay, first I have to say…that would have completely ticked me off to see that man race for a seat and not offer it to her, particularly after she fell. That is total BS…chivalry or not.

    I think the feminist movement was good in some ways, but lacked in many more. I remember working in New York in the 80′s –surrounded by women who smoked cigars and pot, perfecting the disconnect of free sex and notching their belts nightly…all, in what was assumed was the advancement of women. I remember reading a piece by Maureen Dowd and she said something to the effect of –we held faith in that tribe of revolutionary Birkenstock and black turtleneck Ms. who we believed would pave the way for all of us. But, while we were busy watching Shirley Temple, they were carving up boardrooms…and while we explored Katherine Hepburn’s girlish swagger and analyzed Diane Keaton’s suspenders and smoking jackets, they were doing their best to weed out bunny behavior. I think a lot of young girls today are taking back their bunny roots. Sad to say.

    Now I’m starting to wonder if they only delayed characters such as Samantha in Sex in the City, followed by the next logical jump to Angry Housewives…those bitter, sassy, forties who feel they have things to prove really messed with all of us. We should have been looking for equal wages (which I differ in opinion…women are DEFINITELY not making the same wage as men.)

    I better stop because I’m getting carried away. All this being said, I LOVE chivalry!

    • Annie, thank you for adding to the mix, lady. Indeed, it was appalling to see him racing in front of the ladies, making a beeline for the seat. I see Paz’s point about him having a disability, but that was not the case. At least not a physical handicap that I could witness. I agree that the feminist movement had its ups and downs; advantages and disadvantages. I also agree that different women saw the movement in different ways. For some, it meant trying to liberate women from under the thumb of men, while for others it meant liberating us from our inhibitions. Perhaps that’s the bra burning ritual was all about? hee hee! And yes, I did say that still today, men make more money than women. That said, here’s to chivalry! :)

  14. You are beautiful and well loved, having so many comments. Such a subject, that everyone has an opinion! Me, too! Chivalry actually came out of a period of history when men and women had more equality. It came from women being revered. The dark ages, King Arthur and the Holy Grail- which was a symbol of the Divine Feminine. Even though it is fiction, ( maybe) the chivalry and fairer attitude towards women from that period was very real. Soon thereafter women were subjugated by the spread of Christianity, the Spanish Inquisition and the witch hunts. We are still recovering.

    • Jodi, and your brilliant mind leaves me in awe. It’s good to hear your confirmation that women were indeed revered during the history period where chivalry was carried out. We can only wonder what turn women’s lives would have taken if the events of history had been different. Or perhaps they might have been worse, rendering us incapable of recovering. I shudder at the thought! Thank you for adding your comment, lovely lady! :)

  15. Bella, you touched a nerve! Good going. I like anything that encourages people to treat others with decency. I coddle my guy not because I’m anti-feminist, but because sometimes people just need to regress and know someone is going to take care of them. But I also expect him to do stuff, like chores and work and the truth is he wants that too, most people want to contribute when they are feeling peaceful inside. We’re pretty gender bent, I think, but we still manage to align with the spirit of chivalry, I think. I like behavior that aligns me with goodness, behavior that slows me down and encourages me to consider another human being. That’s the beauty of manners, to some degree. I don’t judge people for not having any, but I do think they are super helpful to adding joy to a life.

    I think any theory can ruin our natural impulses, it just winds up interfering. This is why i take theories, such as feminism, with a grain of salt, never as mandate I must follow. I’ve seen too many people become alienated from their true goodness, their natural morality when they try and live by a theory.

    Now a confession. I love Man of La Mancha, so this is for you. I Just tried to copy a clip, but it’s not working. It’s Dulcenea….the song kills me every time. We should be allowed, from time to time, to see a bit of heaven in those we love. I just say live the life you want and ignore the people who for their own political purposes tell you how to conduct yourself. Most of the feminists were uppity upper class woman, the early ones and they were not speaking, could not speak for the majority of women. They could not comprehend the lives of most women around the globe.

    • Patrice, I love Don Quijote! I remember the first time I read Miguel Cervantes, in Spanish. I was awestruck by the magic of his story. Believe it or not, in high school, every relationship I had, I looked for Quixotic characteristics in the guy; something that would permit me to be Dulcinea. Those were beautiful times that allowed me to make so many memories. And here I am getting nostalgic and digressing. Feminism. A movement not followed or respected by all but a movement that helped change the way women were viewed by society, nonetheless. l like your life philosophy and how you don’t support living by any kind of theory. It says that you have your convictions and stick to them. But most of all, I like your notion that w align with the spirit of chivalry. Brilliant, lady. Just brilliant! Isn’t it ironic that even those belonging to our gender at times are incapable of expressing what we, as women, feel as a whole? Where has the sisterhood gone wrong, I wonder? Keep coddling your guy and doing your own thing! :)

  16. I don’t think I’ve ever been welcomed to a comment section before. Thank you.
    I tend to make a distinction between politeness and chivalry, with chivalry being on the sexist side. I think that holding a door for someone, helping someone up, and picking up dropped items are polite things to do regardless of the sex of the sex of the person doing it or the recipient of the action. Whereas the whole elbow steering and steadying seems a bit controlling to me, especially since I am physically capable of walking on my own. I think expecting only men to adhere to these standards to only women is sexist and that general politeness should be encouraged among all people.
    But I do agree that feminism has made some men confused because it does make us question all these gender roles that have been in play for so long that we forget that they aren’t really all that natural.

    • Lady, I’m honored to have you here. Hence the welcome! And what do you mean you haven’t been welcomed to a comment section before? You see what I mean about manners seem to have gone missing in action? hee hee! I see the distinction you’re making between exercising politeness and being chivalrous. I do. And I also understand why some women would feel that steadying and elbow steering are a sign of being controlled. However, I don’t feel that way. When my man does any of the aforementioned actions, I feel extreme care on his part; his nonverbal way of saying, “I cherish you. I don’t want anything to happen to you.” While I understand this may not be the way all women interpret these actions, it’s how I see these gestures. As a matter of fact, I would be insulted if he were not to help me off a bus. The steps on that thing are super high! hee hee! :)

    • Ariana, don’t be quick! I love when you take your time and expand your views! :) I agree with the fact that a lack of respect for elders does seem to have great bearing on this problem. And given the fact that we are an aging society, we can only hope that future generations will have older people in higher esteem.

  17. Fascinating subject. Clearly so many have a decisive perspective about this. I think it’s more than just feminism at play though (and I have to interject because some here have said they don’t care for feminism. I don’t consider myself a feminist but I appreciate those who do, for it is because of feminists (formerly known as suffragettes) that today women have the right to vote,among other things. If it wasn’t for the Susan B Anthony and Gloria Steinem’s of the world, where would we be?)

    But, like I said there are more reasons to point to, and I think the primary one is today’s society. Our mass media culture that encourages everyone to indulge and seek entertainment, to pursue their own interests, and to not care about the rest. Empathy is what’s missing. If that man had an ounce of empathy, like you did, he would have rushed to the elderly woman’s aid.

    • Monica, I knew I was going to touch a nerve when I published this post. But you know me, I love the humorous posts, but every now and then like to stir the pot! hee hee! I hear you and I second you regarding the triumph’s the feminist movement has acquired for women. I consider myself a feminist but not of the hard core variety. And while I believe in the strength of women, I draw the line at the thought that women could go up against a man physically, as some feminists seem to believe. Unless you have special ops training, I’m saying, forget about it. While we may have some testosterone, we don’t have as much as men do. Sorry, ladies. Nevertheless, women like Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinem, Abigail Adams, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the likes, have all fought for women’s rights, and for that we sisters should be grateful. That said, I’m with you on many of society’s members succumbing to apathy. Empathy is indeed missing and needs to be cultivated pronto.

  18. Fascinating post and look at all the responses! You touched on something. I consider myself a feminist as well. And I agree with Shary that the situation is more about civility and common courtesy.

    • Leah, I agree. Civility and common courtesy, at times, seem like they’ve exited the building. My mother would say that nowadays, some parents are lacking in the ability to teach their children the importance of being polite. And sadly, I would have to agree. Just the other day, I witnessed a four or so year old child, spit in his mother’s face because she refused to buy him a toy. In the old days, the child would have gotten a swat across the rump and a lecture on why you have to respect your elders. Nowadays, parents are frightened that disciplining their children will result in someone calling social services. Yes, we live in a complicated world, friend. :)

  19. I think Paz has a point….and it’s the first thing I thought of as well.

    It’s an easy, default position to judge this guy and find him rude, etc….But if you saw me on the bus, you’d make the same wrong judgment. I’m 54, and people guess me 10 to 15 years younger, but I am getting a hip replacement in 3 weeks — so I HAVE to sit down on the subway or bus or I am in considerable pain. But because I look young and healthy (and do not, by choice, painfully, use a cane) I look 100% strong and healthy — and look weird and rude for taking, and insisting on it, a “disabled” seat. Don’t jump to easy conclusions!

    There are men in their 20s who are lovely, gentle, kind and have great manners (i.e. typical of their generation,) There are selfish assholes in their 60, 70s and 80s who were raised to treat women well because women, then, depended on them financially and spent most of their lives caretaking husbands and children. But they don’t.

    People are people, regardless of age or gender. You can waste a lot of energy wishing they were different.

    • Broadsideblog, hello and welcome! Indeed, Paz did point out something vital to this discussion and like you also mention, it’s that we cannot rely on appearances alone to reach a conclusion. Thank you for sharing your personal circumstances as a means to illustrate this point. And yes, a lot of mental energy is wasted wishing people were different but I believe it’s more than wishful thinking; it’s creating awareness. If we don’t pinpoint the deficiencies, try to right a wrong, and make things right through our actions, then everything stays the same. One person can make a difference but his or her voice must be heard.

  20. I’m fortunate to have many men in my life who are chivalrous – my father being one of them. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that, more often than not, I like the feeling of being cherished that seems to walk hand-in-hand with chivalry.

    When I read your post, Bella, I felt some niggling of the disgust you mentioned, until I realized that not one person on that bus did what I would have done after helping the woman up, and determining she was okay: I would have politely, and insistently, asked the middle-aged man to give up his seat for her. Certainly he could refuse, but I wouldn’t have made it easy for him. ;-)

    Blessings to you for helping her when no one else made a move to! xo

    • Hot Coco, like I’ve already admitted, I miss the days when chivalry was expected behavior in gentlemen. I don’t believe it has any association to women feeling inferior because men treat them with respect and gentleness. Both the Significant Other and the Son are very chivalrous. Neither allow me to carry heavy grocery bags when they are present and help me down, and so forth. I think behavior like that speaks of good manners. I’m with you a hundred percent in regard to taking a stand and politely asking for a seat to be given to the lady. However, I do not speak the language of the country I live in. As a result, the language barrier prevents me from being my usual verbose self when I’m in public. The only exception is when I shop in the neighborhood where plenty of expats live. Then , thankfully, things are different. :)

  21. Quite the can of worms you’ve opened up here, Bella!!

    HOORAY, I say, for feminists and feminism. Feminism has given us Maya Angelou, Abigail Adams, Bella Abzug (hey, another Bella!), Simone de Beauvoir, Rosa Parks, Susan B Anthony, Harriet Tubman, etc etc–many of these women were abolitionists, civil rights leaders, suffragists, reproductive rights advocates, domestic violence crusaders. I’ve worked in too many countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East where women’s lives are totally engineered by men and I’m thankful everyday that feminists struggled, scribbled, and campaigned so that I can choose whether or not to vote, study, marry, work, have kids, travel sola… (Some are choices my American mother never had.) There are places in the world where men are “chivalrous” and guide you around by the elbow and pay you compliments and open your car door, and the next thing you know they’ve got their hand on your knee or are pushing you up against some wall. I’ve been there. I say, let’s hear it for civility and decency, for boys and girls alike.

    • Jann, I’m with you–civility and decency has no gender. I’m so sorry that your experience with chivalry has been a negative one. Perhaps my views are different because fortunately, I’m never found myself in the situation you describe. Thank you for pointing out that we can’t generalize since every person’s situation varies. If indeed we made sure to raise our children with a stronger code of ethics and values, then this would serve to make this world a nicer place to be in. I can only hope that future generations are able to go back to the old school ways of teaching civility, respect for elders, and common courtesy. I really do. :)

  22. Bella, I think chivalry went the way of King Arthur. Next up was the “gentleman”, one with qualities of refinement associated with a good family. The well-heeled genteel? With the evolution of the generations and equal rights, I think we’re lucky if folks exhibit common courtesy. I agree with your response to one of the earlier comments, “At times it appears we live in a world filled with apathetic inhabitants.” Consider that today, we’re all connected via radio waves and networks. In the future, I would expect that no one would notice if someone fell, because they were too busy texting.

    If a man were to toss his cloak over a puddle for me, my first thought would be, ‘how crazy is that’, or I hope his mother/wife knows a good cleaner!

    I secretly believe that some men are helpless without a fair maiden! :)

    • Oh Justl, your comment was the perfect companion for my cup of coffee! I laughed out loud with the cloak over the puddle comment! I would totally lap up a gesture like that! hee hee! Sadly, I believe that apathy has manage to erode the human condition, and that’s horrible. And I believe we don’t have to wait until the future for people to not noticing someone having fallen cause they’re texting, cause that’s already taking place. The Son spends half his day texting. His cell phone is like an unwelcome family member. And there are days that I’m certain that if I fell in the house, I’d have to text him about it to get him to help me up! bwhahaha! Is a man helpless without a fair maiden? Too right, sister! :)

  23. Interesting article and comments, Bella. In this example, I actually think it isn’t a feminism or even male/female issue, but rather a lack of compassion and sensititivy to an elderly person. I think the man should have given up his seat had the person been an elderly male as well (but of course he wouldn’t have).

    Thinking about the issue more generally, I have often wondered the same thing at times, such as when the elevator doors open and it’s just me and another man and they get off before me. That really makes me mad and I usually utter a passive-agressive and sarcastic “thanks” under my breath. And while a male (or female) might argue that a gripe like that is a double standard when it comes to feminism, I do believe that the basic tenets of feminism do not preclude basic tenets of courtesy and chivalry. But as other commenters have said, women have done plenty in their own right to turn the tide toward less chivalry. And all of us are guilty of just being in our own technological world these days and probably not being chivalrous to each other.

    But in summary, that guy was a jerk!! :)

    • Caryn, I’m delighted you like the article! The reason I alluded to chivalry and feminism in this post is because the incident itself reminded me of the very thing you talk about: how it’s possible that the actions of women have stifled chivalry. The lady’s fall happened and yes, I believe it was due to a lack of courtesy and kindness on behalf of those who didn’t give up their seat, but I feel could have been prevented if the man had acted like a gentleman to begin with. The four seats in the front of the bus are reserved for the elderly and other special passengers. In Europe, the seat configuration on a bus is different from the typical Greyhounds in the States. Ergo, the lady would have had to walk the length of a moving bus to find accommodation in the back. That’s why I think it was more sensible for the man to give up a seat he shouldn’t have taken in the first place.

  24. Bella, this is beautifully put! Part of me misses the chivalry men once showed “the fairer sex,” but I think what gravels me most is the lack of consideration people in general show toward one another. That rude man on the bus is just one example. I’ve had doors shut before I could reach them, I’ve had to tote my own boxes, I’ve had to pick up whatever I’ve dropped. This isn’t really a man vs. woman thing — it’s more of a HUMAN thing. I think we all should be thoughtful of each other, especially the handicapped, parents with small children, the elderly — and do for them what they can’t easily do for themselves (and what we’d like others to do for US, if we were in their shoes!)

    • Debbie, you and Caryn have beautifully delivered the actual circumstances we, as people, live with day to day. I seriously yearn for the day when smiling at a stranger and saying, good morning, was a given. Or greeting those present when you entered a doctor’s office, or an elevator. Nowadays, it’s like people have assumed a mentality of “each man for himself” and that is all. It’s like good manners are the exception and not the rule and that just breaks my heart. I’m so happy you like the post, lady! And I’m so sorry you’re lugging your boxes. If I lived close to you, I’d help you! :)

  25. Bella, I think that this topic is a difficult and intriguing subject to talk about. I definitely have a very different understanding of what feminism is. I mean, everyone does, and I constantly remind everyone I talk to about feminism that the idea of it has morphed throughout the decades. I think that my generation (at least the people I associate with) are thoroughly immersed in a more gender-neutral mentality, and perhaps, for us, chivalry is something quite foreign, at least in the sense to which you refer to (again– it’s a concept that’s evolved throughout time) I don’t know, honestly, if I would fault the guy for not being chivalrous or for being a douche. I mean just because one wants to feel empowered, no matter what the gender, doesn’t mean one has to be completely oblivious to the needs of others too, right?

    • Laura, absolutely! Empowerment has nothing to do with ignoring the needs of others. I really think it comes down to how empathic we are, our manners, values, sense of compassion, and kindness. We find ourselves in a situation, we assess it, and act. That’s all. In this case, I felt the man could have exercised good manners and let the lady take the seat to begin with. As far as I could tell, he didn’t have any handicaps and he was younger than any of the women in the group. However, like broadsideblog said, many times people have health issues and they’re not visible to the naked eye. I love that you chimed in, lady! Thank you! And for providing your “younger” perspective! So valuable! :)

    • I agree. Chivalrous is one thing, being an A-hole is another. I would just like to point out, however, that when we see scenes like this one, aren’t we morally obligated to say or do something? Or are we afraid it might get us in trouble? There is so much credence given to lip-service these days (making a PC statement but not actually doing anything relevant, driving Priuses which are effectively coal-powered for thousands of miles each month, and shopping at the “Farmers’ Market” where the sum total of fuel consumed to get there and distribute the food far outweigh any benefits) are two examples. So my question is, aside from chivalry which is a happy choice, for some, are we morally obligated to tell that man to stand up and let the lady sit? I think most of us will tut-tut but mind “our own” business. Hmm. But maybe I am wrong.

    • Sandra, I beg to differ. As demonstrated by some of the comments made by some of the ladies, more than a couple have voiced that they would ask the man to give up his seat. As I explained in an earlier comment, I didn’t do so is because I don’t speak the language of my host country. That said, had this happened in the US or Spain, given I’m fluent in Spanish, I would not have had any qualms requesting the gentleman do the right thing by standing up. Of course, my actions wouldn’t guarantee a positive outcome, but I believe it would serve to create awareness.

  26. First off, the middle aged man was MIDDLE AGED and the woman was in her 70′s. He should have given up his seat, and certainly should have assisted the fallen woman. Unless he had some hidden reason for needing to sit down.

    Second, not all men are impolite, but more and more it seems that way. I don’t think it’s feminism’s fault. I think we’ve just let them get away with far too much. It should work the same way in both directions though…whomever is able should do, whomever needs a bit of help should graciously accept. Has nothing to do with the sex of the offer-er or recipient.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Shelties have long hair but they don’t shed very much at all and really don’t take that much more care. So if your little one needs a playmate..well..consider a Sheltie! Lots of them in rescues too…because they’re a bit wound up and bark a lot…so be warned! :)

    • Dawn, I agree–when it comes to helping someone in need, it matters not whether it’s a man helping a woman or vice versa. What we really have to look at are the circumstances and what civility and common sense prompt us to do. I would’ve thought Shelties shed a lot, what with their long, luscious hair! Barking plenty? Oh, oh…that would be a deal breaker. I’m afraid we’d be thrown out of the building with this paper thin walls! :)

  27. Great topic, as witnessed by your many comments. I’m with Rachel and a couple of others that it depends on the individual/starts with oneself, etc, but on a whole, I think in earlier times there was a lot more focus on manners and chivalry because that was the mark of a well brought up man.

    • Rossandra, hello and welcome! Don’t you wish that mark still existed for all men today? hee hee! I’m delighted you approve of the topic. Thanks for dropping by!:)

  28. Hi gorgeous! I happen to like being pampered and don’t mind being the antichrist to feminists. Of course Annie Oakley and not Gloria Steinem is my hero so there’s that too. ;)

  29. I don’t think I could add anything new, but for what it’s worth.. with men and woman outside of public transportation, it depends on the woman’s aura.. seriously. Sometimes we are so busy being strong and afraid to be week we send out the power sizzle. In the case of public traveling ( I ride a train to and from work) It’s always the woman giving up her seat to an elderly person or a pregnant woman. It pains me to say this, but rarely have I seen a man get up. Younger men…NEVER. I assume this has something to do with their up bringing. I personally, love it when I am out a male friend ( I have more of those than girl friends) that ask me what I want and order for me, and take care of all the details. LOVE IT. In the home, I am the air traffic controller.. probably my fault. I own that one. Thought provoking.

    • Brenda, I can honestly say I’ve also witness what you describe in your comment. And yes, I dare say we see more women standing up to give up their seat. And most definitely, a person’s upbringing speaks volumes of how he or she reacts in given circumstances. I’m afraid I’m the “air traffic controller” in and out of the house and lady, it’s tiring! So yes, I’d enjoy it if the Significant Other would take care of the details every now and then! :)

  30. The part about how “well” women were treated under chivalry… that only applied to certain women. White, middle-to-upper class women were the only ones who “rated” the special treatment. Nonwhite and/or lower-class women did not get the special treatment to accomodate for their “delicacy”. Ugh.

    That said, I think too many guys use feminism as an excuse to be rude and unkind.

    • Amy, yes, sadly, discrimination has always reared its ugly head. Of course, when I think of chivalry, I tend to associate it with Don Quixote and the lovely Dulcinea! Spanish men can be so charming! I’m afraid you’re right–some men use feminism as an excuse to not practice good social graces.

  31. Oh my gosh, Scott & I talk about this all.the.time. Because of the constant battle behind feminism, men feel that since women want to be treated equally, they do not need any special treatment (i.e. lifting heavy objects, seating priority, etc). If we beg to be equals, who’s to say we should also still receive the treatment we are given when looked at as not as strong, gentle, etc? I can’t disagree with this, unfortunately, and I have experienced it first hand. I work with a group of 8+ men, and I am the sole woman. If a table has to be moved, I better move it if I’m the first one there, otherwise I receive ridicule, etc. However – here’s a spin for you – let’s say I come in to move that table the next day, but I’m wearing a dress, a skirt, with heels – men jump right in front of me to assist. I guess if you want to be treated like a man, you better accept it, but if you want to be treated like a woman, there is nothing wrong with embracing that either.

    • Yay, Kristin! I’m all for embracing whatever rocks your boat! And now like a man to come to the rescue when women look their best in their girly attire, eh? hee hee! I love men, but I don’t know how I would react if none came forward to help me move a table. I’m afraid I would be fired after I got ended my screaming match! hee hee! :)

  32. I totally agree with Inner Chick. Where are his manners? Was he raised in a barn?! Who is HIS mother… she should be ashamed. I wish I’d been there so I could politely ask him his address in case there are further medical bills.

    Incidentally, when the time comes that women and men DO have equal pay, please let me know. I don’t wanna miss the 6:00 o’clock news and the look on Tom Brokah’s face.

    • bwhahaha! Oh Lori! You’re such a riot! I’m glad you mentioned the part about the mother cause it’s always something I tell the Son. I always say, how would you feel if it was your mother or your sister? This makes him sit up and take notice. But again, like many of the ladies have already mentioned, upbringing plays an important role in this type of scenario. What infuriates me is that the man was middle aged and more than likely was brought up in a home where courtesy and respect were usually reenforced!

  33. Yes Bella – I took at least one of those feminist recruitment classes in college – I think it was Women’s Studies 101 in which we all learned just how put down, used, and disrespected we really were all through history. It was an eye opener and on the surface I bought it hook, line, and sinker. But my romantic nature was more deeply entrenched and I’m afraid that ultra-feminism failed to dislodge it. After the initial surface rage wore off a little I found I was the same ol’ Cinderella. Maybe it’s because I live in a military area of the country, but I have found most of the men around me to be perfectly chivalrous. I hardly ever have to stand or open a door around here. I guess feminism did not dislodge their romantic nature either.

    • Oh Carol, the romantic nature is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? I’m serious when I say, I miss the days of yesteryear. I read those romantic stories set in the past and just sigh; wishing, hoping, I could go back and live in that era. I say fighting to have equality doesn’t mean you can’t still wish to be treated with finesse. My father was a military man and we lived in Army bases until I was in high school. I still remember soldiers in daddy’s company calling my mom, “Ma’am” and holding doors open and greeting us in such a respectful and courteous manner. You’re one lucky lady, Carol! :)

  34. This was a good one.I remember when my now boyfriend didn’t open the door for me on our first date and I though, heathen! I went so far as telling him that I really like it when my door is opened for me. He said that he usually does, but didn’t because he knew and sensed that I was so independent that I might take it as an insult. Pretty interesting eh? I do see both sides of this coin and it’s interesting to hear the male perspective. I do believe in equal pay for equal work, but the male/female traditional roles, well, I am guilty for liking some of them. I will take out my own trash, however. I’m not that bad. Great post.

    • Lady, I think we’re two peas in a pod because, not only do I believe in the same ideals, the Significant Other has also told me in the past that he’s not more helpful because I snap at him when he tries to help me carry heavy things and the like. And it’s true–I do like being independent, but like you, welcome a little pampering now and then. It makes a woman feel special. Doesn’t it? :) I’m delighted you like the post!

  35. Well, Bella, I was coming to “look” for you anyway, to remind you of the blogfest at my place on Monday http://bit.ly/tg29TE for MLK Day on racism and discrimination.

    I love you dearly, but I totally disagree with your argument. (Some) men have behaved in beastly ways to women for thousands of years, even when they were (supposedly) courteous and “showed chivalry”. If anything, their behavior – as a whole – has improved markedly since the advent of feminism. It is no longer legal or socially acceptable for a man to beat the crap out of and rape his wife in the United States, although sadly, that is yet not the case planetwide.

    Being a rapist – or even simply a rude jerk – should not be socially acceptable, and we shouldn’t seek to make excuses for people, male or female, who are rude or worse. Too many women have been brainwashed into an automatic reaction of “if someone is rude to me, or attacks me, it must be my fault.” Really? Men don’t think that way. When did women get so much power?

    I just finished reading on a forum where an emotionally abused woman is seeking ways to placate her husband. Most of the time he treats her “well,” but when she repeats a mistake (like cutting a block of cheese without noticing the end has tiny white mold spots), he requires her to GET DOWN ON HER KNEES while he berates her from 45 minutes to two hours. Yes, she acknowledges to us this is “kind of abusive,” but she is sure if she simply behaves properly he won’t get so upset. Feminism is not the cause of his asshattery.

    I work in an office of about 20, about 50-50 male & female. We all show courtesy to one another, hold doors open for each other, and, unlike what might have gone on 20 years ago, nobody is leering at anyone’s breasts. Feminism, according to the dictionary (and not the way it has been spun by those with a political agenda) is the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. Seems to me, everyone, male and female, should be happy to be a feminist. And polite.

    • Beverly, I have penciled in the date and will definitely drop by your place on Monday! I’m already brainstorming! I loved reading your views on the subject and am aware that while these heinous practices are now punishable by law in the States, this not the case the world over. However, I don’t agree that men’s actions have improved with the surge of feminism–I think they’ve only wised up to the fact that there are consequences to law breaking behavior like spousal abuse, rape, and other types of abuse. I do believe that many men have been educated with a progressive thinking manner, and even coming from homes with a single parent (namely a mother) has helped teach young boys to respect women. The Son was always raised with the notion that courtesy and respect should be exercised with everyone, but especially elders and women. Call me old school in that regard. I want to work where you work. And I have worked in places like yours, but this hasn’t always been the case. Good manners should be the norm for both men and women. Gender should not have a role in this regard. Thanks for adding to the mix, lady! :)

  36. I think if it really is “two steps forward and one step back” then we have to be thankful to all the raunchy, obnoxious, hairy-arm-pitted feminists who came before us. I went to a women’s college in the seventies and we were all feminists, but it was all-clown-car-vaginas-all-the-time with the neighboring co-ed BIG university! Those were the days….And didn’t feminism also mean getting the good stuff when you wanted it? However, I am enjoying putting myself in the hypothetical shoes of the “old ladies” on the bus. I guess it is all depends on the point of view. As a woman who will BE one of those old ladies eventually, I foresee hitting somebody over the head with my cane if they treat me as if I were infirm. Having never been infirm, really, I can’t foresee how I might react, because I would like to be a reasonable human being as well, so maybe my “inner jerk” would lose out to my “inner empathizer.” I HAVE been pregnant, and an international frequent traveler with small children, in need of assistance, and I can only say “Thank YOU!!” forever to those people who came to my rescue when I needed it. Should I point out that they were almost exclusively Americans, and women? I guess I did already.

    • Sandra, sounds like your college days really were the days! Sign me up! Something tells me you might mellow in your old age and will thoroughly welcome any gesture of kindness that is given to you. It won’t necessary mean you’re not capable, it might mean, we’re trying to be nice. How wonderful that you were able to have people help you in a time where you needed assistance! :)

  37. Is there any chance that the man in question was suffering from something besides being a jerk? Illness, trauma, death in the family? I do think we confuse men with our equal rights/we can do anything you can do/now treat me like I can’t cross the street on my own. But that’s a small price for equal pay and job opportunity. No more second class citizen for women. Yeah!

    • Lady, indeed it is a small price to pay! Although in all fairness, the softie in me has to sigh and say, poor guys. Somehow the “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t” isn’t really helping to assert what it is we really want, you know? :)

  38. I do think we as women may have thrown the baby out with the bath water when it comes to some aspects of feminism, including, but not limited to fact that en mass we seem to be more overworked than they have ever been. What’s so great about busying oneself into exhaustion?

    Ivanna’s point is a good one, hard core feminism may have confused men as to what is ‘politically correct’.

    • Cathy, I’m with you! I don’t know you, but there are days when exhaustion keeps me from doing half the things I have to do. Add to that having to toot the feminist horn from time to time and well, color me spent. In addition, I question whether feminism has confused men as to what women want or given the opposite gender an excuse to not carry out good social graces. I stand divided on this. Thanks for adding to the mix, lady! :)

  39. Pingback: What’s in a name? | Rachel Hanson

  40. To all, Men quit being gentlemen when women quit being ladies. Women wanted equality and that is what we have. Just as a man would not offer his seat to another man he won’t offer it to a woman because she is his equal. Sell the cow so go’s the milk and butter, sell the chicken so go’s the eggs. Through out the patriarchy so go’s the chivalry. It’s perplexing that women what equality but on the other hand expect special treatment. Women drive tanks in the military, fly fighter jets, operate heavy contruction machinery, drive semi-trucks etc. A woman climbs down from her road grader and you expect a man to offer her his seat. Let’s get real here! This is the year 2012 not 1950. Time for you to suck it up. Chivalry is dead and it isn’t coming back. Let me put it this way, I’ll open the door, offer you my seat, stop and fix your flat tire etc. if when I get home at night, you run and get my pipe and slippers, sit on the floor at my feet waiting to tend to my every need. Get my point!

    • Larry, have you gone off and had yourself a little rant? And here I thought your gender claims it’s something we women do! First of all, hello and welcome!”Women wanted equality and that is what we have?” Really, Larry, really? Now that statement just made me chortle! Sorry, brother, but last time I checked, women were still not getting paid the same amount men get paid, nor do we have the same perks extended to the boys’ club in the political arena. You lost me somewhere between the butter and the eggs but I’m going to assume you mean, we can’t have our cake and eat it too. Why not, Larry? Your gender does just that, so why can’t we? And no, we do not want special treatment, we just want people to exhibit compassion, kindness, and courtesy. Just because it’s 2012, we’re supposed to forget our good manners and revert back to acting like Neanderthals? Shame on you, Larry! Chivalry is not dead, brother. Men like you killed it. And no, I will not be getting your pipe and slippers! Pipe and slippers in 2012, Larry? Really? Because in all your passionate defense, you’ve forgotten that as a result of someone following your 2012 Boy Rules, a woman nearing 80 took a spill. Feminism is about favoring political, economic and social equality, Larry. Not about forgetting your manners and denying an elderly woman her seat because she won’t get your slippers. We’re not tooting the horn for benevolent sexism either; the belief that women should be protected is as archaic as your theory. However, we are stating that it’s time men stopped using feminism as an excuse to not exercise the good manners their mothers taught them. Soap box back in the corner. Thanks for dropping by, Larry! :)

  41. Bella,

    Now this is a topic for the ages, as I can tell by the comment count.

    My thoughts, That’s that mess. Men completely miss the point of feminism. A woman can be autonomous, receive equal pay, run circles around them mentally and run in the jungles because they are HUMAN BEINGS. No one wishes to be judged on the basis of their genitalia because many of us would be found lacking *clears her throat*.

    I consider myself to be a feminist, and yet as I enjoy, and expect, male chivalry. I am not so excessive as to not believe that we each have predisposition and embrace some gender specific roles. I will cook, and am the mistress of my kitchen lol. I leave it to my man to work on the car. He digs it and I don’t, for example. I say more power to those women that wish to join the military but I am a girlie-girl and it’s so not me.

    There are plenty of women who feel otherwise, but the point is that everyone should be free to choose their reality and self-worth, not have them constrained by virtue of our sex PERIOD.

    Many men have conveniently used this as a way to conveniently discard chivalry because they are LAZY and resentful. Nor, did anyone ever say that equality meant lack of concern for other human beings, the niceties and sweet gestures are a beautiful thing. I have no respect for such creatures. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    P.S – That old man on the bus needed his butt WHUPPED. ;)

    • Sing it, sister! I love you, Coco! I think our reality is that some men continue to practice hostile sexism, see Larry’s comment above, and that we forget that feminism favors the legal and social changes that are necessary to achieve equality. Like you mention, the “jobs” we do, should not be done as a way of succumbing to society’s pressures of gender specific roles. We should do them out of personal preference of need. End of story. I’m with you. I believe that while men may be confused in regard to what women want, they also tend to rest on their laurels of not being chivalrous because “we’ve made our bed and now we must lie on it.” Really? What does feminism have to do with men AND women exhibiting good manners and extending consideration to someone in need? Had the situation been different, and the older person would have been a man, I would have expected a woman to give up her seat. That’s what this discussion is all about. No using our gender to define when to be compassionate and kind. I like your story and the fact that you’re sticking to it! hee hee! Thanks for enhancing this post, lady! :)

  42. Bella, I loved reading your blog. In spite of your call to respond going out to only “the sisters”, I started out convinced that I was going to read ALL 93 responses before mine. needless to say my conviction died soon after reading #6. I’ll admit that i did laugh a bit with you at the plight of men being treated like the “emotional moving men’ laboring to position our mates confused(ing) emotional sofa “a little to the left… noooo…. a little to the right”.

    In all seriousness, this has been a subject that I’ve attempted to explore.
    I have, as I expected, come out of it as tolerable to a few women, and the bad guy to most others.

    Feminism is a slippery subject at best because it’s “reach” extends differently to each woman, and that “reach” is defined and re-defined by each woman’s personal life experience.

    There are women that believe that “their feminism” starts and ends with equal salary for equal work and equal respect as a “human being”, allowing for chivalry in all its demonstrations. For other women it starts in the same place, but continues on to include the extreme of the most base of human sexual qualities that were once only attributed to men.

    Men (WE men) are in general really very simple creatures…
    For some of us “simple” should be equated with the words “basic”, “transparent” and “obvious” as in intent or purpose.
    For others of my gender, simple should be looked upon with sinister intent… ie. intentionally stupid as in “subject only to instinct”.
    This range of behavior in men mirrors the range of inconsistency I earlier attributed to women and the definitions of “feminism”

    The line is blurred, heavy and at the same time razor sharp like a double edged (no pun intended) “broad” sword! The dilemma exists… for some men embattled by Feminism the battle for equality for women, it equates to the step DOWN off of Chivalry’s Pedestal,

    This is the one Marylin Monroe quote that for some reason hasn’t been disputed by ANY woman I’ve ever had opportunity to discuss it with, (and i don’t think she was speaking about salaries)… ~ “Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.’

    Think about it!

    • Mutuo Consensu, hello and welcome! I love, love having a male perspective and I’m most impressed that even though the call was made to the ladies, you still came forward to offer your two cents. Thank you! Yes, it is a slippery slope and you’ve made an important point–situational definitions can come into play regarding feminism. I will admit that I believe men have gotten the “shaft” (no pun intended) when it comes to understanding where females stand. Personally, I view the act of putting a woman on a pedestal more as benevolent sexism than chivalry. Many of the ladies have expanded on the definitions of chivalry, according to the era and circumstances, however, I like to keep its definition simple. For me, chivalry has to do with social graces, finesse, good manners and breeding. What can I say, it must be the suppressed romantic that lives inside of me. Nevertheless, should we emulate Marylin and strive to surpass men? Methinks we’ve already done that. But why gloat, right? hee hee! Seriously, I’ll be content when the sisterhood achieves political, economic, and social equality. That’s good enough for me! Thanks for adding to the mix! :)

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