Is chivalry dead….or is the stereotype of a feminist scaring males away from being chivalrous …OR are gender norms just changing? I recently started dating, really for the first time and I have no idea what I’m doing *send help*. I’ve been on one date so far and when we went to his car I expected him to open the door for me, he didn’t. Does that make me a bad feminist expecting the guy to open the door for me or pay for the first date (or at least offer to)?
I took an intro to WGSS one year and we read a feminist writer’s take on opening doors then we had a class discussion about it. Some women in the class were a little passionate and thought it was dumb that men are expected to open doors for women and pay for things, I mean I can see where they’re coming from but where’s the balance? We don’t want men calling women b*tches and h*es, we wanted them to be charming, but we don’t want them opening doors for us…because it’s “too masculine”? It’s asserting dominance when men open doors for us and pay for the first date.
Don’t get me wrong I can get the paying for EVERYTHING can become toxic and assert financial dependence but paying (or offering) for the first date I think is being a gentleman and classy, call me a bad feminist. My dad told me some things when I was younger to look for when going out with guys so maybe that’s why I don’t see them as all that bad. Some common one’s like I mentioned before were paying for the first date and opening the car door, another that isn’t common was when walking on the sidewalk that men should be closest to the streets.
My dad’s always made it so when we’re walking that he’s closest to the streets, not going to lie sometimes it was a bit much that he did it all the time but then he explained why to me. He was raised in the city and he said that it’s an old street thing that pimps would have their girls closest to the street so it’s easier for John’s to pick them up, and to me that makes sense. I even rationalized it further that by having the guy closest to the street women won’t be cat-called (mind you we should raise boys not to cat-call in the first place, but we’re working on it).
Also I feel like being pampered on the first date is nice, and I overthink everything anyway, but if he offers to pay for my food or opens the door for me, I think it’s a pretty clear sign he’s going to want a second date. To me those are just subtle hints that a man likes you. Why does treating a woman have to mean he’s trying to assert dominance, call me a bad feminist. But then again I feel like in general whoever asked for the date should offer to pay, woman or man, but what do I know I’ve never really dated before…
Wish me luck in dating call in with advice at 1-800-BAD-FEMINIST
Until the next one
6 thoughts on “Is Chivalry Dead?”
queenwomanist! I totally agree with you! I think that, while it’s a good thing to question the motives behind chivalrous opening of doors and paying for meals, and to open up a conversation between men and women about that – it does feel nice to be treated on date! I mean, I think if you are the one planning the date – male or female – you should be the one paying, unless otherwise discussed! With my last boyfriend, if I bought the tickets for the movie, he paid for dinner and vice versa. But on a first date I think it can be cute and nice for the person taking you out to pay.
Also – on a different subject but totally related to chivalry – the other day my car got stuck in the snow and I was blocking a part of my apartment complex’s parking area. Little old me was completely confused and had NO IDEA what to do or how to fix it. I really tried to put on the ‘damsel in distress’ look so that a passerby who knows about cars and getting stuck might help… but no one stopped to help 😦 I ended up calling a friend who drove out to save me! Stuck outside my own apartment! At that moment I truly felt chivalry was dead.
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So usually on dates with men I usually end up paying. Why? Cause I am stubborn about it. But do I want them to pay? Absolutely. Do I want them to fight my stubbornness? Yes. However, I think it is important for us to reflect on why we have that mindset in the first place. We grow up, as women, with the notion that men should be paying for us, not because it is chivalrous, but because they should be the ones that are financially stable. They are the caretakers and the protectors. And this is not to say that the attention and generosity is not nice to receive, as anyone would love that kind of attention. But it is important for us to be cognizant of where this attention comes from and why we have these mindsets in the first place.
I totally get that and I’ve thought about it…I think if society as a whole stops having expectations created by gender roles I can feel like a guy paying for my dinner as a symbol of endearment (and not feel like a bad feminist) because that’s what I do will all the people I care about. All my friends KNOW if they’re hungry and don’t have the money for a lunch, dinner, etc I’ll pay without them asking because I genuinely care about them and I won’t expect anything in return.
I have thought about this A LOT. My whole family is very toxic in the realm of being very conservative and ignorantly white. Ive had to confront a lot of my own thoughts and behaviors under this light because I know that some of their feelings toward things like men’s and women’s roles have followed me into adulthood. I have found that, with myself of course, I enjoy expressing my love and appreciation for someone through picking up the bill every once in a while. And I will insist on it when I feel that that is what I want to do for that person and it would make them feel loved and respected the same. And then when my boyfriend, or even my own mother, picks up the bill I also allow myself to feel loved and respected. I feel like its the same thing with holding the door for your partner. In my case, Its really important for my boyfriend to open the door for me – I mean EVERY DOOR. Since we started dating I teased him about it a little bit, sometimes getting to it before he could hold it open. He ended up telling me that it really was something that was special to him, a way to show me that he respected me and cared for me- and something that he always wanted it to be something sweet and consistent in our relationship. I love that piece of him and I let him do it for me to this day; but when he has stuff in his hands or needs the door held for him, I’m always there to do that, too. I don’t think this topic of chivalry has to be so dualistic- I think over time you get to know what feels right in and what doesn’t. Its about knowing what you are comfortable with and your boundaries! I wish you the best- you’ll do great!!
Thank you for sharing you story and experience! I definitely agree that chivalry doesn’t have to be dualistic, I haven’t dated much but I need to probably relax a little more and learn to do what feels right and not over think every move haha
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Its hard to navigate dating as a young woman, I think. Atleast, it been extremely difficult for me. Ive found that its important to just stay true to yourself, trust your gut, and know the respect you deserve. I still struggle! Hope i was somewhat helpful haha