Friday, May 28, 2010
Chivalry is Dead. Long Live Chivalry!
It's the same point I've been making: Any double standard that gives men the advantage automatically reinforces a woman's second-class status, but when it's the other way around...
The old chivalry, despite popular belief, wasn't about showing respect for women any more than "separate but equal" was a way of ensuring equity and safety for the Negro in the post-Reconstruction South. Both institutions seek to treat the "beneficiary" as a child, an inferior who must be looked out for by their betters.
I'm sorry-- did you get up this morning, put your pants on one leg at a time? Did you go to work and deal with that bullshit? Did you have to navigate crazies on the freeway? Did you bust through the zombies at Walmart like Brandon Jacobs to get your groceries? Me too. And just like me you can open your own goddamn door.
I apologize. It's not just the door thing I'm stuck on. It's only been a generation or so that women have had any real parity with men, and like the newly converted Christians of old who were slow to part with their pagan traditions (Christmas, Easter, Halloween... oops, that's now) it'll take some time for you all to throw off the patronizing customs that kept you on pedestals.
I know this may sound like another cop-out for men looking to shirk responsibility for your personal happiness, but chivalry is just another form of nostalgia. Men from the recent past were actually less attentive to the needs and wants of women-- because they didn't have to be. We who inhabit the age of Oprah, angry vaginas, Sex and the City, and the "fuck him dress" don't have the luxury of ignoring you.
Some corny dudes will tell you that "old school" chivalry should be preserved at all costs-- like those lazy-ass pandas-- but by co-signing on these co-signers you're actually ceding a bit of that I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-C-E you so covet and promote. Don't drink the Kool-Aid... but do open your own door, shit!