Miscellaneous / Reviews

Please don’t open that door for me

By Shannon Clarke

There’s a reason countless songs, teen novels and movies have been built on the cliché of summer love: beach parties, wedding season, romance in foreign countries. So there is no better time for the publication of a report in Psychology of Women Quarterly on chivalry.

The study, “Seeing the Unseen”, conducted in the United States and Germany, concluded that acts typically seen as chivalrous – opening doors for women, insisting on paying for dates and taking her home afterwards – are actually acts of benevolent sexism.

“Chivalry isn’t dead, it’s just terribly sexist” read the Globe and Mail headline.

The article received almost 400 comments and unsurprisingly, the reaction wasn’t great. Men defensive, women insulted, and the ever-present internet trolls up-in-arms, ready to attack feminism in its entirety.

And while many online discussions about feminism derail into rants on reverse sexism, affirmative action and religion, Globe readers seemed genuinely confused. Isn’t it polite to compliment someone’s cooking? Are men chauvinist pigs for offering to help me with my computer? Am I a bad feminist for not taking offense to someone opening a door for me or helping me with a heavy bag?

Not so simple, says Kate Carraway, the wit and wisdom behind the Grid’s, Thirtyish.

“I definitely think sexism is rampant and undermines our interactions with each other,” she said.

“The problem is we’re at a point where we aren’t willing to understand the complexity of sexism.”

The black-and-white, do-and-don’t, dualistic thinking that guides contemporary dating discourse and feminism ignores other issues. A common response, from critics on every side of the debate has been that the entire issue is frivolous in the face of “real problems” (although conveniently, whenever those problems are brought up, women have achieved equality and feminists should just shut up already).

Explained Carraway: “We haven’t resolved other things.”

Traditional (hetero) dating scripts might not be high on the list of priorities but the study, and its subsequent response is still important.

“Our daily interactions with men and women tell us a lot about how we think about each other,” said Carraway.

Is it sexist to expect the man to help a woman out of a cab on a date? Sure. But what about the expectations our society places on women that cause most to wear heels on a first date? It’s sexist to expect men to pay for dinner, but then, men still earn more money than women and are expected to spend more as a way to demonstrate their masculinity.

The study does distinguish between blatant and benevolent sexism, and clarifies that though the latter may be well intentioned, the implications help perpetuate ideas about gender. For example, helping a woman with a task because she’s under time constraints is not sexist. Helping a woman with a task, even if she doesn’t ask for it, because you believe “as a woman she shouldn’t have to do it” is.

“What are your motivations?” asks Carraway. “Are you doing [the task] because you’re being kind and courteous or do you believe men are stronger?”

For every man wondering whether or not he should offer his date a ride home, and every woman wondering whether or not she should hide her face in shame if she accepts, it’s important to keep in mind that the study was based on responses from individuals. I’ve always thought, as far as paying on first dates go, whoever does the asking out should pay . Kelly Ripa would disagree .

Is chivalry dead? That would depend on your definition of the word.

“I think a lot of what we consider chivalry is just manners,” said Carraway, adding “Men can be chivalrous to other men and women can be chivalrous to other women.”


10 thoughts on “Please don’t open that door for me

    • Chivalry or euqality. Pick one. Expecting euqality from 9-to-5 and chivalry from 5-to-9 is asinine and selfish. Do you stand-up when a man leave the table? Do you walk to his outside when walking on a sidewalk? Do you ask men out on first dates? Do you pay for their meals? Most men haven’t been having their cake and eating it, too. Men younger than 40 grew up in the post women’s lib movement. Men in their 50 s were college students during the 60 s and 70 s feminist movement, so they don’t count either. Just because men did awful things in the past, doesn’t mean modern men should be held accountable. If that were the case, modern Germans would be subjected to suffering by the Jews on account of past events. Women are out-earning men in many professions. They comprise the majority of graduate degrees. They no longer are confined to being housewives. Even the gender wage gap has been proven wrong time and time again. Mostly because women are less likely to seek employment in dangerous or labor-intensive fields. They are also less likely to work overtime, or relocate.Even with these gains, mainly monetary, women still generally want a mate who has a larger income. There isn’t a shortage of good men . There has just been an abundance of women who earn large incomes. When more women are graduating college than men, it should be no surprise that there will not be enough college educated men for all these women. So either they will remain single (which is happening) or they will *GASP* date men who have incomes smaller than their own. I know that’s a tough one for women to grasp. Don’t worry though, men have been doing it for a long time. It is rare for a woman to marry-down the socioeconomic ladder. Women often justify this by saying I want someone on my level or I don’t want to support a man . All of which are BS. For some reason, none of those excuses seem to apply when they are hunting for men who earn more than they earn. Nurses marrying surgeons. Lawyers marrying their secretaries. Teachers marrying engineers. I could go on and on. Rarely will you find an exception where a man of lesser economic and/or academic value was able to marry a woman of greater value. So women get to experience the benefits of economic and academic euqality without having to settle , as men have always done. Remember, if someone marries-up, then their partner has subsequently married-down. So in most cases, men marry down.The above paragraph probably applies to you since I assumed you are a scientist. I imagine you generally limit yourself to only men with at least a bachelor’s degree and an income that is at least your equivalent. I have a bachelor’s myself, and I remember what dating was like after I obtained my degree. Suddenly, women were interested in me. Even women who were uninterested in the past. That was why I don’t tell women I am interested in that I have a college degree. I want them to like me for me, and not my degree. Coincidentally, dating has become much more challenging since I stopped disclosing my education to women, as I expected it would.If women expect archaic chivalry, then I expect them to get back in the kitchen. Me expecting a chef and maid is no different than a woman wanting chivalry. Both are outdated, sexist expectation. So what’s it going to be 50 s chivalry, or modern euqality? My guess is you want both. This blog wouldn’t even exist had gender roles remained as they were. We are now experiencing the effects of altering nature. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m all for euqality, so long as everyone is willing to be treated as equals. Unfortunately, women don’t want the negatives that come from being equal to men. They want the Disney relationship partnered with their euqality. Contrary to popular belief, women in the 1950 s were not subservient, baby-making, kitchen slaves. I volunteer at a nursing home 2 times a week. Most of the residents are female. Most of them are over 80 years old, and were adults in the 1950 s. I have yet to meet one who hated being a woman in the 50 s. Not one who felt they weren’t appreciated. Not one who felt their only place was being in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. But when I talk to 20 and 30-something feminists, they claim that these women were unhappy and mistreated. Funny how the women who didn’t actually live during that decade are always telling the world how bad life was at that time. I don’t know if you are still single, but if you are, I wish you the best of luck in the dating world. Just remember that times have changed. You have no one to blame but yourself if you are still single and have outdated expectations of modern men. I am 28 and I don’t expect women to cook and clean for me. Why? Because I have adapted with the times.

    • Hi there,I believe that many women have EXTREMELY low stdanards What about examining the development of his character?What about examining his conceptualization of manhood?What about his family values?What about his spiritual foundation?Stop by my blog and join in the conversation about Who Qualifies As A Man? Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!Lisa

  1. Wow, I never really thought about a man paying for a date or opening the door in such a way. I do agree, chivalry is just manners because if a person, whether it be a man or a women, closes the door in our faces we think, “What a Bitch!”. Some women can feel offended by the certain acts of a man. I certainly would be offended if a man were to help me out just because he thinks I’m helpless. To each his/her own right?

    • > why can’t we have them both?Well, you have to be specific about what you’re rrenreifg to when you say feminism and chivalry.> Being chivalrous is being respectful towards everything a woman represents.This is exactly what I mean. Chivalry and respect aren’t the same things, and yet you (and many women) equate them to be. If I don’t give up my seat to a woman, am I being disrespectful? If a woman doesn’t give her seat up to a man, is she being disrespectful?Look, the bottom line is that most women want the best of both worlds. They want men to be chivalrous and to treat them differently than how men are treated; but in many other ways, women also want men to treat them on equal terms. The two ARE contradictory at times. If I respect a man, I don’t need to offer him my seat why should I do so for a woman?You want to be pampered and treated with the same ideals of romanticism that were true fifty years ago, and yet you want all the advantages of the modern day woman. Often, these clash with each other.Let me give you an example: the expectation of who pays on a date has changed. I’ve met women who would be insulted if the man pompously assumes he’s taking charge and taking the bill, and I’ve also met women who expect the age-old (though perhaps no longer applicable) rule that the man should pick up the bill.I’m not saying this as a rant, but simply as a statement of fact. Personally, I like this strange clash of expectations. It makes the social game a lot more fun.

    • Most QuotesChimp do not understand how profoundly authorities is a part of policy contract. The us government has a lot of policy contract plans including Social Security and Medicare to the National Deposit-Insurance Company along with the Experts Management. Some states run employees payment insurance providers , and all provide additional plans for example joblessness insurance. Authorities insurance will undoubtedly be insured in more detail in-part 6.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s