Chivalry Isn't Dead: Why Feminists Still Want A Gentleman

by Sarah MacKenzie

Feminism has finally afforded females the long-awaited rights historically reserved exclusively for men. We can work and pursue fulfilling livelihoods beyond the kitchen sink.

We can earn money and secure ourselves necessities of life. We can travel wherever with whomever, whenever.

We can settle down and have kids at a point in our lives that suits us. Finally, we can distance ourselves beyond the shadow of a husband or father; we have our own visions, aspirations and identities, which, naturally is an incredible thing.

Perhaps then, it is hypocritical to expect to be extended the rights of independence and autonomy while simultaneously reaping the benefits of convention and typical "gender-specified roles."

This, of course, brings forth the question of whether or not it is unreasonable to expect a male to pay for the first date, amongst exhibiting many other behaviors typically reserved for "gentlemen."

Before we go any further, let's get one thing straight: I am a feminist through and through. Raised as one of three daughters, it was always without question that I would attend college and pursue a fulfilling career.

My mother has always worked, and naturally, it's expected that I’ll do the same. I have never once witnessed my father so much as raise his voice to my mother, let alone anything more sinister.

I was raised to grow into an accomplished, independent, insightful and ambitious young woman.

But, with equal measure, I was also raised to become something that is often mistakenly disassociated with the feminist agenda. This is, of course, to still act  for lack of a better word — like a "lady."

Despite the various waves of progressive feminist movements, society still reserves certain traits as being undesirable amongst women.

Think about it; when was the last time anyone wanted to take home that loud, obnoxious, bleached-blonde home to meet his mother?

What’s more, we largely continue to reserve judgment for girls who can’t keep their panties on and participate in an endless stream of one-night stands.

If we didn’t judge them, words like slut, whore, home wrecker and bitch wouldn’t be so commonplace in the English vocabulary. In fact, they wouldn’t even exist.

No one can deny that there are far more words pertaining to female promiscuity than there are men. In terms of connotations reflecting poorly on men in the same regard, very few exist.

It’s not that it’s unreasonable to retain standards, but if this is what is still expected of me, then I expect the same of my male counterparts.

Of course, like most heated topics, women throughout the world invariably diverge when it comes to opening up a dialogue in discussing what feminism actually means.

I’ve always understood that to be a true feminist, you idealize a world in which women and men are equal to one another.

So if this is the case, why would feminism and the idea of being a respectable, dignified young woman be mutually exclusive to one another?

And ultimately, if this is what society still expects of young women, why shouldn’t we expect the same of young men?

Going beyond the issue of equilibrium and striving to end persisting double standards, sometimes a little chivalry is just nice. That belief doesn’t render me anti-feminist, but rather a girl who appreciates a truly nice boy.

I have already dated 18 people and partaken in an endless string of awkward first dates to last me a lifetime.

I therefore feel somewhat qualified to say there is, without a doubt, nothing more charming or alluring than a truly kind gentlemanly soul amidst a sea of increasingly horrible male specimen.

It’s not as though I appreciate a door being opened for me because I am far too weak or submissive to do it myself. I also don’t appreciate boys being overly presumptuous merely because I am a prude or don’t want the same things.

But, I value and appreciate true gentlemen because it subtly reveals a more caring, sensitive and genuine side that most males are not willing to broadcast or expose.

It’s charming, chivalrous and rightfully mirrors the longstanding cultural and societal norms that females are still expected to uphold.

And, to be honest, I don’t have the time, patience or a sufficient enough lack of self-integrity to pursue any guy unable to exercise those rare, gentlemanly qualities.

They don’t hint at your ineptitude or own self-submission as a female; they simply show that your romantic interest respects and cares for you and isn't afraid to show it.

So, pay attention, boys, because it certainly does not go unnoticed when you do little things like pay for a first date or open a door for a lady.

I, ultimately, should stress that this isn’t because I lack the skills or resources to fund dinner and drinks myself, nor am I unable to let myself into a building.

But, when translated onto a broader spectrum, it really does reveal a hell of a lot more about a male as the gentlemen he is and not just a boy.