No one opens car doors anymore. Men don’t do it and women don’t ask for it. In a society obsessed with “equality” opening the car door has become a relic of mom and dad’s generation. What was once a small yet sincere form of communication between two people is now thought to be unnecessary and fussy. Men and women have simply lost appreciation for each other.
Feminism might as well be a four letter word these days. For all the work of suffragists and employment activists to propel women into the political and business worlds of the US, there is a misconception the feminist agenda is a reversal of gender roles; based on taking power from men and giving it to women. Rather, feminism is simply the acknowledgement both genders have the ability to make valuable contributions throughout all areas of society. Feminism isn’t about equality as much as it is equity, the opportunity for women to prove themselves in any area of expertise free of bias.
Men and women both have unique characteristics which result in varied perspectives on the same issue and culminate in dynamic problem solving, when the contributions of all are considered valid and valuable. Feminism is not an absence of men; it is an honest appreciation of abilities of both genders. In this way, chivalry is an easy compliment to feminism. They need not be mutually exclusive. Chivalry is a social expression of feminism, an acknowledgement of what both genders have to contribute.
Chivalry is not just about men opening doors, pulling out chairs. Chivalry is as much about what a woman communicates in waiting to be walked to a car or helped to her seat by her date as it is about a man’s overtures. In accepting her date’s arm, a woman conveys trust and emotional acceptance. In allowing her date to open her car door, an independent woman lets her date know that while sure, she’s capable of getting into a car, she welcomes his contribution in her life. There is a quiet, sincere communication of appreciation in chivalry which has been missing since we decided men and women occupy different planets.