There was a time when men took off their hats in the presence of a woman, opened the door for her, and threw their coats over puddles so she wouldn’t have to walk through the mud. Too often today I hear women talk about such acts of chivalry and conclude that there aren’t any good men left in the world, or if there are, they are very hard to find. With the ever-changing times, something has happened that has made men less caring and more disrespectful of women. I’ll tell you what happened.
Now before all the feminists get angry at me (although maybe they already are), let me say this: I am very thankful to be living in an era in which I have the right to vote, the opportunity to pursue a higher education, and the option to create my own career if I so choose. Benefits such as these were not (easily) accessible to women before the women’s rights movement. It is adjustments such as these that have changed not only how people view women, but have also changed women themselves.
Before the women’s rights movement, it was commonly accepted that a woman’s place was in the home, and a man’s place was out working. Whether you agree with that structure or not, it was a system in which people knew what to expect, because they knew their place in society. I believe that it was because people knew their place that allowed them to respect each other more, because each knew where he belonged.
However, the women’s rights movement has challenged that structure, and has left us with many changes in society. A woman may choose to stay at home, or she may choose to go out and work. In my opinion, she should be able to do either. My frustration is that we are women living in 2013 expecting to find men of 1913. And that is just not possible.
The women’s rights movement did not just affect women; it affected men as well. Now that the original structure has been broken down, I think it leaves people confused with how to interact with each other. Each gender does not have as definite a role as they once did, and that can lead to many misunderstandings.
I believe that every person deserves respect. But sometimes I think women have been so eager to gain respect that they’ve forgotten how to give respect, and we have allowed men to forget how to respect themselves. (I’m not saying that men’s negative traits today are all women’s fault; there are plenty of things I could say about men, but for the sake of this essay I will leave that for a different post)
What I am saying is that I think too many women bash men unnecessarily, and that needs to stop. Yes, some men are capable of being complete jerks, but some women are just as capable of the same thing. And if you’re a woman who doesn’t like a man opening the door for you in the rare occasion he does, there is such a thing as politely telling him you would prefer to open the door yourself instead of getting angry because you think he thinks you’re weak. Chances are he was just trying to be respectful and maybe even show you that he thinks you’re valuable.