Last December, I wrote a guest blog post that asked the question: did feminism kill chivalry? I started off by saying that I believe that men and women should be treated equally in society, and that although there have been gains, there is still work to be done.
By the way, I don’t consider myself a feminist.
I’m not really sure what a feminist is or if that term is still relevant, if it ever it was.
Anyway, in my guest post, I went on to say that for all the so-called equality I want for women, I’m a little ambivalent about giving up some of the “perks” of being treated like a woman, such as dividing household chores along gender lines, having a door held open for me, and paying for a “date.”
A few days ago, I was cleaning up my computer harddrive and doing some archiving. I checked on the link to that guest post and found a comment that was added about a month ago. In part, the commenter said:
There is nothing strong, liberated or equal about expecting the man to be the one to pay because of being a man, expecting men to perform chivalrous acts for women because of being the man, expecting the man to do all the dirty work (e.g. taking out the yucky trash, killing those scary spiders).
Truth is, I totally agree with this comment, while at the same time, I really won’t stop any man from taking out my garbage or paying for my meal. I realize the irony of it all and in part, that was my original point. How many gender biases do “liberated” women buy into?
If you are a women, your thing may not be my thing, but I would be surprised to hear you say that you are in no way affected by the standards of society that keep us in our place.
I sit transfixed watching reruns of America’s Next Top Model, knowing full well there are many young teens and fresh-faced young women who already think they can’t leave the house without makeup.
I bought into the idea that I can’t handle getting my car serviced, or dine alone at a restaurant. I call myself liberated, but now that I am separated from my husband, it appalls me to recognize how much I relied on him to do things I didn’t want to do or thought that he could do better.
And these are just the superficial issues. There are other strongly held beliefs about women and men that are even more detrimental that we all, to some extent, should rethink.
But I am a woman, whatever that means, and I don’t want to be a “man.” So how do we negotiate our friendships and/or sexual relationships without men or women dominating the other–or is that possible? The differences between our bodies suggests something but what–beside the obvious? Do we create a separation between ourselves based on traditional values in same sex relationships?
Is there a place for gender roles?
What do you think?
© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2011