March 05, 2013

Feminists Don't Deserve Chivalry?

by K101

In this article, I want to briefly discuss this particular idea that feminists don't deserve, or should not receive, chivalry from a male spouse or boyfriend. Many people have this idea, which basically originates from a few misconceptions about feminism and chivalry.

The Big Misunderstanding

So, my argument here is that, just because you are a feminist (which remember, that means you want equal treatment and respect, not for people to view you as a man) does not mean that you have no rights to any kind of chivalry. Some men, my own partner for example, feel that this is simply having manners, and being a polite and caring person. It’s something he chooses to do; he is not forced to do it, and it comes naturally to him. He would have to make an effort to stop being a gentleman and begin treating me like I am another male. That would be tough, because he can clearly see that I am not another male.

The biggest misunderstanding, where this argument is concerned, is that some people misunderstand equality as being viewed as another man. Just because I believe in equality, and could be considered a feminist does not mean that I want to become a man. It does not mean that I want to urinate in a urinal, stand up to pee, and change who I am to act as a man.

Anyway, so what if I did?

Having feminist views means one thing, though—that I want women to have the same rights that men do, and I want women to be respected equally. It's not a favor to give us equality; it's called treating us as humans.

Many people take this whole thing and turn it into way more than it is, and this happens on both sides—feminists and non-feminists, males and females.

The bottom line is, just because you may identify as a feminist does not mean that you have to act like a man. You do not have to be treated like a man, and you do not have to give up kind treatment from your partner. It does not mean that you have to take out the garbage yourself, or that you have to start doing the work that your male partner often does himself. Why should it mean that? It has nothing to do with that!

In order to receive kind treatment from a willing spouse, you shouldn't have to act like a lady, cross your legs when you sit, never say a curse word, and be all smiles and sunshine every second of every day. You can simply be you, whether that means being a little loud every once in a while, wearing a pair of boxer shorts to bed, or heck, wearing jeans sometimes! You don't have to be only one thing—masculine or feminine. In fact, every single one of us is made with a bit of both. It varies, but they're both in us all. Since when did anybody have to choose to only be masculine or feminine, anyway? And yet, feminists are told that we have to choose one or the other!

So what if you "want it all"? What's wrong with wanting to have your cake and eat it too, so long as nobody's being forced or hurt in the process? If your male partner wants to be a chivalrous guy, why deny acts of kindness simply because some people believe that it isn't deserved? Guess what? It is! If you want to be a feminist and enjoy kind acts from your spouse, eat it up, girlfriend!

So, keep enjoying those thoughtful acts that your spouse shows you out of the kindness of his heart. Let him open a door for you to show you that you being in first is important to him. It does not mean that he’s in control of you, as some people tend to believe. It does not mean you are not a feminist if you allow him to open a door for you without feeling guilty. No, it simply means that you know how to receive a kind act from someone who is thoughtful. And yes, you can be a feminist and choose to be a stay-at-home-mom. Feminism is about equality and choices. It's as simple as that.