Haven’t you heard, ladies? Chivalry has its roots in sexism!
Thought that cute guy was holding the door open for you because he wanted to impress you? Wrong–he was exploiting you because he thinks you’re inferior and incapable of opening the door for yourself. Thought that guy friend you like bought you dinner because he cares about you? Wrong–he wants to keep you poor and discourage you from ever becoming financially independent. Do you feel oppressed whenever a guy does a nice thing for you? Well, you shouldn’t.
How can a gentleman's behavior be sexist? Why do these women—excuse me, “womyn”—denounce chivalry? What leads them to conclude this and disparage a custom that’s in great need of remedying?
Several days ago, one radical feminist on Twitter-@IsabelBeatty–responded to a tweet of mine by denouncing chivalry as “chauvinistic” and “oppressive.” I was deeply troubled by her thoughts. Below is the conversation I had with Beatty. (Unfortunately, she deleted her tweets so I’ve kindly provided screen shots of them for you to enjoy.)
In a recent New York Times column, novelist Lynn Messina echoed Isabel’s sentiments that chivalry is sexist in nature:
“A gentleman lets girls go first,” he says, explaining that every day at naptime all the girls go to the bathroom before the boys.
His explanation, along with the quiet solemnity with which he delivers it, is completely endearing and yet it makes my heart ache. This adorable little boy, who is only beginning to learn the ways of the world, just got his first lesson in sexism — and from a teacher who, I don’t doubt, believes she’s doing something wonderful for womankind.
Even in the case of platonic relationships or friendships, being chivalrous is a sign of upstanding moral character. Going out of your way to make someone smile, give them a helping hand, or being nice goes a long way. It shows you are compassionate and thoughtful. What’s wrong with that?
I don’t know about you but I don’t ever recall feeling belittled, discouraged, or oppressed by a man if he opened a door for me or complimented me. Truthfully, I feel humbled by these acts of kindness and will always be grateful for chivalry. Women shouldn’t be offended by chivalrous guys; they should be flattered by them!
Women have many rights and luxuries afforded to them in this country, yet they’re inclined to denounce chivalry as “oppressive” and “sexist”? Look at the Arab World as a model for oppression and sexism. Women have limited to nonexistent rights there, are stoned to death, or face genital mutilation, for example. Where’s the outrage from radical feminists? (Crickets…)
In an age dominated by rudeness, lack of self-respect, and relativism, members of our generation should value any semblance of chivalry that comes their way.
Stop trampling on chivalry; start encouraging it.