Even though these things are all true about me, I still believe in chivalry. I believe men should honor women, treat them with respect, and serve them with kindness. (But yes, I do believe this goes both ways. Women should honor, respect, and serve men)
As I've been processing some thoughts on men, women, and the way we should interact with one another, I've come to realize that chivalry is not what it used to be. Chivalry, to many men, still means being the breadwinner. It means doing all the heavy work. It means refusing to let a woman open her own car door. Yes, many of these men do these things believing that they are honoring women. They believe the actions and attitudes they present are respectful and make women feel treasured. For many women, such as myself, this form chivalry is actually demeaning. This is an antiquated, out of date form of chivalry.
A few weeks ago, some friends were in town visiting Nate and me. Through the course of our conversation, one of them expressed that he would not be comfortable if the woman he someday marries had a better paying job than him. He believes that being the breadwinner and letting his wife stay home would honor her. His heart was in the right place. I, being the push-people-out-of-the-conventional-box person that I am, started prodding. I asked him how he would feel if his wife was a successful doctor. What if she loved her job, wasn't doing it for the money, and didn't want to stay home? He definitely doesn't make a doctor's salary so she would be making quite a bit more than him. Our friend hemmed and hawed and basically decided he just wasn't going to marry a doctor.
Now, don't get me wrong, some women (myself included) are incredibly thankful for husbands who are in support of their wives being stay-at-home moms. I can't wait for Nate to graduate school so we can start our family and I can (hopefully) stay home with our children. Although I don't believe that is a "woman's job" that's the job I've desired since as long as I can remember.
The thing is, we just can't pigeon hole all women. Men need to realize that women come with all kinds of different desires, dreams, and goals. Women are capable of doing things that may seem "un-womanly" to those who hold to conventional gender roles. Chivalry has to change.
- Hold the door open for a woman but don't be offended if she holds the door open for you.
- Ask your girlfriend/fiance/wife what her goals in life are and help her pursue them.
- Let the women in your life hammer nails into the wall to hang picture frames, change the oil in the car, mow the lawn, or whatever other "man's work" she is capable and/or desirous of doing.
- Offer to cook, change diapers, vacuum the floor, or whatever other "woman's work" that you are capable and/or desirous of doing.
PS. Don't even get me started on men who just don't respect, honor, and serve women or women who don't respect, honor, and serve men. That would end up being an anger filled, ranting kind of post. Just ask one of my coworkers how I responded when a patient's ring back tone was the country song "Titties and Beer." Yeah, to put it lightly, I wasn't a fan.