Chivalry: it’s not dead – just on hiatus
Thank god for feminism and all the achievements it brought women, but it seems to me that when feminism walked in the door, manners and chivalry began their exit.
A few days ago as I was walking to Cooper Hall, attempting to pass through the crowd of people sitting around Subway and avoid the dozens of club promoters shoving “Wacky Wednesday” drink special cards in my face, I encountered a situation I had never put much thought into until that day.
Upon reaching those very large, very heavy doors under the breezeway I was shocked to see that the gentleman directly in front of me opened the door just enough to squeeze himself inside and allow the door to slam in my face. On any other day I would have just hit the automatic door button and thought nothing more of it, but on this particular day I was reading from a textbook, carrying my book bag, purse, binder and a Coke, leaving little room for maneuvering. Had it not been for the nice gentleman behind me I may not have made it to class that afternoon. But I digress.
With the evolution of women’s rights, have basic manners been shoved out of the way? These days it would be ridiculous to expect a man to take his coat off and throw it over a puddle for a lady – but what about offering her your coat when she’s cold? I’m not asking for women’s rights to take a step back; in fact, I believe the advances that have been made aren’t up to par yet.
Let’s take a step back in time. In the 1950s, women held a more domesticated role. Housewife, nurse and teacher were standard jobs for our grandmothers, and while they had most of their basic needs met they craved more independence. The 1960s and 1970s brought about a new sense of feminism, when women were “liberated” and single mothers became more of a norm. There was an increase of women in the workforce, and “free love” was all the rage. The 1980s and 1990s brought what is known as today’s feminism to the forefront of society with the introduction of the “feminazi” and the single mothers working in stereotypically male jobs.
Did all the advances in society threaten the simple niceties our foremothers held so dear? When did dating the badass who drove a motorcycle and had long hair turn into dating the asshole who honks his horn instead of coming to the door and refers to you as his “bitch” instead of his girlfriend?
Ladies, I’m not placing all the blame on men, either. Who’s to know what women expect anymore? Women of this generation are more sexually liberated, have more freedoms in school and work, and aren’t restricted by dress codes or gender stereotypes. Men have every right to be confused about what women want and don’t want. Wearing mini-skirts and high heels to an afternoon class may be women’s prerogative, but why are they acting so surprised when that jerk in the front row – who thought he was being polite – tries to get them upstairs after the first date?
There is no guidebook telling people how they should treat each other, but manners and chivalry aren’t dead just yet. If women start behaving in the same manner they feel they should be treated, and hold themselves to the same standard they hold others, maybe those knights in white Mustangs will start trading them in for mustangs of a different sort.
Suzanne Parks is a senior majoring in English literature, and is the Oracle’s assistant news editor.