Where is the line drawn between Chivalry and exercising one’s societal power granted to them by their sex? Many men are confused about how to go about treating women in 2018, as they want to be respectful but also do not want to act as if they are privileged because they identify with the male gender. We aren’t here to talk about the bad guys though (bigots, if you will). We are here to talk about the men just want to do what’s right but sometimes end up looking like the bad guys.
Here’s a great story to explain what we mean. (Just to note: this story does not encapsulate all women but is just a story that shows our point). On a cold, October day our friend, let’s call him Jack, was walking into Stop and Shop to buy some milk for his mother. As he walked in the store, he noticed a woman behind him. Jack, having been raised in a family where chivalry was regarded with an utmost importance, opened the door for the woman and a few others who followed. However, when the woman got to the door she exclaimed, “Close that door! I can do it myself,” suggesting that Jack did not think she was capable of opening the door due to her gender and was thus enabling very old fashioned beliefs. A recent interview with Jack as well as basic knowledge lets us know that despite the woman’s beliefs, Jack only opened the door out of respect for those following him. He does indeed believe that “the lady could have opened the door for herself.” Jack’s actions that day made him look like a monster, yet he was just trying to help.
Many men do not understand the line between what is seen as chivalrous and what is seen as derogatory. However, few men truly believe that women are less capable than men. Those who subscribe to that belief are absurd, but many who do not follow that path are still seen as bigots and misogynistic. Because of our fathers before us, many young men have been taught to do such things as pulling out a woman’s chair, opening doors for women, paying for women at events, and most importantly, treating women with respect. Most women do believe that these actions are appropriate and polite, but there are still many feminists who find these actions unacceptable. These extreme feminists are few but are gaining support exponentially. If you identify as one of these feminists, we encourage you to think about what the man’s true intentions are. Despite all this, if a man is truly trying to use his sex to overpower you, call him out, but always remember to think about the real reason someone is doing something because most men have a lot of respect for women who make a difference and are activists for equality. Thus, we felt like it was our job to show that not all men are the “pigs” that many feminist groups show them as, just as not all feminists are of anti-male groups. We felt that by doing this, we could help explain chivalry and how it is not a way to demoralize women, but a way to show our respect for everything women do on a daily basis.
JT Cambria and Danny Guinan
Graphics: Taylor Donovan