Chivalry is dead. This has been said many times over and I cannot help but feel that the feminist movement and ‘equal rights for women’ have contributed significantly to the death of this institution as well as others. Am I the only female to complain about the lack of chivalry? Does it mark me as a slave to the chauvinistic male attitude?
I do not see it as a presumption of my weakness if my husband holds the door for me or carries heavy bags. I would take it as a sign of affection. If a stranger does it, I consider it good manners. I do not always accept a stranger carrying heavy bags for me because I do not like to impose, but the suggestion is always gratefully appreciated. Yet, these days, it seems men are less willing to perform these simple tasks. Is it out of fear of being rebuked as a ‘pig’? Or, is it due to lack of manners?
I think there is a little of both. Little boys are no longer taught to acquire these polite and gracious manners. Perhaps, the feminist movement has something to do with that, but perhaps, times have changed as well (not to mention, attitude).
There has been talk recently about how this recession is giving women a better chance. I’m not sure I quite believe the arguments – namely, that men are likely to shy away from taking certain responsible positions, making room for women. However, I would believe that if employers are paying less, women are more likely to take the jobs than men are. Women, in general, still get paid less than men; therefore, a low paying job is nothing new to them.
I am not a feminist, but I do believe that there should be equal pay for equal work. The problem is there may not be equal work. Cherie Blair felt she did a disservice to the equal rights movement for women when she only took the minimum maternity leave. She wanted to prove that she could balance career and family. This used to be the attitude of the feminist movement. Though many of them actually sacrificed family for career, those original feminists would have applauded Cherie. She proved she can make it with the ‘big boys’.
As for the equal rights movement for women of today, how can women expect to be paid more if they are not contributing to the work as much as their male counterparts? Some argue they can’t do this or that because they also have to worry about their kids. Women feel they need to be at home for their children during the early years of their children’s life. All very commendable. However, in doing so, they are not able to fully dedicate themselves to their work. Therefore, some can argue that they should get lower pay.
This argument, obviously, is best applied to positions that are salaried. Women are seen as the primary domestic caregiver. If they have these responsibilities, they are less likely to work overtime; whereas, their male counterparts may often have to do that and may have to pick up the slack. I can see why they would resent giving a woman the same salary.
Some may try to use the same argument in wage-earning positions. Some companies are likely to offer less to a woman, feeling she is more likely to call off sick or take a personal day to care for their families on certain occasions. This makes a woman appear less reliable in the work force – because she is expected to be more reliable at home.
Now, I know not all men will see it in this light, either. Some men are very good at being house-husbands and extremely reliable when it comes to being there for their kids. A good marital relationship will work through the scheduling issues. But in today’s world, there are much more single parents who are women than men, and much more house-wives than house-husbands. Those traditional parenting and domestic roles have not changed much.
Equal work pay for women will only work if women are committed to putting in as much as effort as their male counterparts. I’m not saying women are lazy. They may have other commitments to attend to. I think the feminist movement has created a lot more chaos than it intended.