Friday, January 05, 2007

Women's Rights and Chivalry

As a woman, I thank God that I don't live in the Dark Ages when chastity belts were in vogue. I am grateful to those women who fought for women's rights so now I have the right to vote, the right to higher education, the right to be in the profession I prefer, etc., etc., etc..
However, with the onslaught of feminism/women's rights, chivalrous acts from the male species have declined. I can't say I blame men for being less of a gentleman. They are also confused about how to behave towards women, especially women from developed countries.
Though I enjoy the rights of women today and agree with some of these rights but not all of them(I am anti-abortion), I do miss some male assistance every now and then. I see less and less men offering their seats to women in buses today. The same goes with opening the door for women or helping women carry heavy items. Once, when my brother offered his seat to a pregnant woman inside a bus, someone yelled in derision,"Whoooo, boy scout!" as if it were such a bad thing to do. However, this same brother of mine often questions my plea for some male assistance when carrying heavy items and will usually rub in the women's rights issue--that men and women are equal(so carry your own damned things!).
I think the problem is how men and women interpret women's rights. For the hardcore feminists, the issue of women's rights means not only enjoying the rights and privileges given to men alone, but sometimes behaving like men. For example, if men can enjoy casual sex without being looked down upon by society, then women should also enjoy casual sex the same way. If men can be boxers, weightlifters and combat soldiers, so should women. If men can't be faithful to one partner, so should women. If men fix their own cars, do some carpentry and plumbing, carry heavy items, refuse doing household chores, so should women. The tendency of men, then, is to treat women like one of them. This usually means that women should not expect men to give them special treatment the way men used to do before the introduction of feminism.
It is no wonder that men are at a loss on how to behave towards women with this hardcore view on women's rights. Some men are rebuffed for trying to help women carry their things. Some women couldn't care less if men open doors for them or offer their seats to them. Some women do not appreciate men who refuse to argue with women. These chivalrous acts are seen as backwardness by some emancipated women.
Now why would I like to behave like men in areas where I think women should not dabble in? I believe women can do things men can do, but that does not necessarily mean, they should enter areas where women can be at a disadvantage. I also feel that women should not do things that are not second nature to them. You see, I maintain my personal belief that though all human beings are more often similar and should be treated with respect, men and women do have differences in their physical and psychological make-up.
I don't want women to be boxers. I don't think much of boxing as a sport anyway. Aside, from glorifying aggression, boxing is dangerous. Plus, it does not lend itself to women because women have bigger chests than men (and getting one's boobs hit is quite painful for women). Weightlifting creates unsightly bulges in women(even in men, for that matter). I like to see women with toned muscles but not to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Women doing combat is disturbing because I know that if they become prisoners of war, they can be raped and can get pregnant. Since women have monthly cycles, having menstruation during battle can be very uncomfortable. In addition, the aggression needed in war is not something I can accept as second nature to women. I just can't picture women in general as Rambo even if some can act like him.
My interpretation of women's rights is women being given the same rights and privileges accorded to men because they are human beings just like men. Women should be treated with respect and given dignity and not treated as second-class citizens. Women should matter in this male-dominated world. It does not imply following the loose sexual morality of men. It does not mean behaving and thinking like men. It does not mean denying the physiological attributes of women. It does not mean trivializing the traditional role of women(like what most men do).
Women give birth. Women are generally physically weaker than men and emotionally stronger than men as a rule. Women have bigger breasts and can produce breast milk. Women experience menstruation and menopause. Women can easily multi-task.
We should rejoice in being women and appreciate men who still want to act like boy scouts towards us. I don't see myself as the weaker sex when men give me special treatment for being a woman. I don't take offense when men are gentler towards me but brutal towards their fellow men. I do feel insulted when men look down on me for being a woman or when they see me as a sex object. It might look like I would like to have my cake and eat it too, but if this is so, I am not one to complain about it.
Yes, I really would like to enjoy the rights accorded to women today and still be given that special treatment by men for being a woman. What's wrong with that? I am tired of carrying all my heavy stuff without any assistance. I am tired of standing in a crowded bus or room. I am tired of figuring out the plumbing or taking out the trash. I am just plain tired!
So, to those chivalrous gentlemen out there, continue what you are doing, please. Though it is no longer the Dark Ages and women are not that chaste anymore, it wouldn't hurt to be extra nice to women. Some women are not that hardcore a feminist, especially here in the Philippines. Long live male chivalry in this world of partial gender equality!


Anonymous said...

It seems as if you are relishing the freedom and rights that equality has brought you, while still wanting the special treatment that was lavished upon women in the past.

I don't think that this is right or acceptable. I WANT women to be equal, because they are human beings, just like men. However, being equal means just that...equal. No special treatment for you just because you have different physiology.

Expect me to see you as an equal, to give your opinion as much weight as the next human's, to understand that you have as much to offer as the next person. Do not expect me to carry your bags for you, to give up my seat on a bus, or to hold open a door for you. You are my equal, learn to do more things for yourself :)!

Anonymous said...

The confusion holds no bounds. When I worked in Washington, D.C. (where the streets are paved with eggshells), I was on my way to work on a cold rainy morning. Passing through the doors of one of the hallways leading to my building, I stopped afterwards to hold the door for anyone who was behind me (please note, anyone man or woman, it's called common courtesy).

A woman was coming up to the door stopped dead in her tracks, folded her arms and did the Egyptian neck swing thing, saying "I don't need a MAN to hold a door open for me!". As I was already soaked to the bone with a malfunctioning umbrella, cold, shivering and in dire need of coffee and in no mood, I shut the huge glass doors and slid my busted umbrella through the round handles of the doors, effectively locking it and told her, "Good luck with that." and walked off, leaving her no alternative but to go around and walk through the freezing rain.

I hated what I did, but at that time I was so sick and tired of the PC movement that was so prevalent in that area, that I had decided I wasn't going to put up with it anymore. As far as I was concerned, whoever invented Political Correctness should be dragged outside and made "living-impaired"

Daniel said...

I like kindness, niceness and courtesy for all.