We’ve all heard the phrase over and over again: chivalry is dead.
With plenty of women (myself included) striving for equal rights, it seems a bit backward for us to constantly be waiting for men to open the door, pay for our meal, and pull our chairs out for us.
But is it really that backward? Can chivalry and feminism coexist?
What do you imagine when you think of chivalry? A knight on a white horse? A fancy man opening a car door for an equally fancy woman in the 1920s?
Well, let’s look at some modern-day examples of chivalry.
- A man opens the door for his date
- A man picks up the dinner tab
- A man pulls the chair out for his date
There are only two problems I see with these examples:
- It’s always the man being chivalrous.
- Pulling the chair out for me just makes me uncomfortable.
I don’t think being chivalrous is a problem, and I definitely don’t think it’s anti-feminist.
I think being chivalrous is the same as being polite. How can politeness be anti-feminist?
That being said, everything could use a little bit of improvement. So let’s make those modern-day examples a little more feminist.
- The first person to the door opens it for their date.
- The person who suggested the date pays for the meal.
- Both parties pull out their own chairs and no one feels uncomfortable.
Easy, right? Chivalry doesn’t have to only apply to men. I truly believe women can (and should!) be chivalrous, too.
Just remember: don’t be a dick.
If you’re the first person to the door, open it and hold it for the person behind you. (This doesn’t just apply to dates, by the way!) You shouldn’t just stand there waiting for your date to open it for you. Be a strong, independent woman, but also be polite. Don’t be that person.
It’s also totally cool to go halfsies on the dinner tab. I personally think you should work that out when you set up the date, but that’s just me. Say something like “hey, I’d really like to take you out, but I’m a little strapped for money. Would you mind splitting the bill?”
If the woman asks the guy out on the date, she should be the one who pays. Yes, she’s allowed to ask a man out, and yes, she’s allowed to pay. This is the 21st century, people.
Mind you, I’ve been in a relationship for five years now. I have no recent dating experience, soooo…
But let’s be hypothetical for a minute. Let’s pretend I didn’t just get engaged, and I haven’t been in a relationship for five years. I’m going on a first date with a guy who knows I’m a strong feminist. He thinks he doesn’t need to be chivalrous because I’m a strong, independent woman, so he doesn’t hold the door open for me.
Do you think I’m going on a second date with that guy? Hell no! He just let the door slam in my face. #rude
So just remember: chivalry still has a place in the world, and it can easily co-exist with feminism. As long as we don’t expect only men to be chivalrous.
What do you think? Can chivalry and feminism coexist? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Jenn @ OA and BL&D says
Yes! I almost didn’t read this because I don’t like the whole “chivalry” concept BUT I totally agree with you. Chivalry should basically equate to politeness and it goes both ways. I hate the double standard of “women shouldn’t be forced into a certain role, but we have expectations of men.” It works both ways. Holding the door so I can go in first? Eh, elaborate, but unnecessary. Holding the door open for the next person to come in after you? Pretty much a standard, or it should be, regardless of gender.
And I like your solution for who should pay. Because I’ve always thought people should just split the bill, but sometimes people invite you to things you can’t afford. Lately, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to go to nicer restaurants, but I know my friends can’t afford it and wouldn’t suggest it, so if I want to go, I pay. When I started dating my (now) husband, it was the opposite. I was in college and made very little money, so I couldn’t afford to eat out often. He always paid and at the time I felt like I was being a failure at that whole feminist thing, but logically it made sense. If we had gone on the dates I suggested, they’d have been a lot cheaper, and I’d have been in a better position to split or cover the cost.
I’m so glad you agree, Jenn! I know there’s a lot of history to the word “chivalry,” but the concept can be flexible if we allow it to be. 🙂 I love that you extend that to your friends as well–it doesn’t just have to be for dating! You can be chivalrous toward your friends as well. 🙂
Emma R says
Lol, the chairs! I have NEVER gotten the hang of sitting down when someone pulls out my chair. It’s always been a disaster.
I agree that chivalry should = being polite, which should happen on both sides.
Oh good, I’m not the only one who feels super awkward about the chairs! 🙂
Sara Strand says
I always like it when Matt holds the door open for me. Or helps me get into my chair. I’m so short and when it’s just him and I, we like to sit at high tops because we can’t with kids and it makes it feel like an actual date, and I usually can’t get on the chair. HA! Once I tried on my own and literally fell down, with the chair. Thankfully, we were already married so he knew what he was getting into. But on our first date, Matt informed me he was broke so we were going to watch movies at his place, but they had no heat (it was January) so I had better bring mittens. No, I am not kidding. And then he ordered a sandwich at Subway, but forgot about me so I didn’t eat. THEN tried to get me drunk and I had to inform him I don’t drink. The date was such a mess I had to go on a second one the next night. Slightly better, though I did fall asleep once he turned on Star Wars. LOL
Haha, what an awkward time! I’m glad it worked out, though! And it’s really interesting about the high chairs. I have a hard time getting into them, too, but I’m too stubborn to let Sean help me. 😉
Emily Vanderhoof says
This is interesting. I think there is a fine line between chivalry and manners. Perhaps not assuming things would be a start. Men shouldn’t assume you don’t want the door opened for you, or that you want your chair pulled out. Some things can just be discussed and that’s how you get to know each other! Each person you date will probably be different. So as usual, assumptions will always get you in trouble!
That’s so true, Emily! It might be awkward to have that conversation, but it’s worth it!
Kasi Zlochevski says
I agree with your point about being polite. Chivalry is pretty basically men acting in a polite manner, which I appreciate. It is a two way street, so these days polite women also hold the doors for men and pay for dinners.
Exactly! We might need to use a different word, but the idea should be extended to both genders. 🙂
I agree 100% with you. My husband is sometimes chivalrous towards me but it has nothing to do with him being the man. In fact, it’s more to do with my bieng clumsy and it being easier this way for both of us. I can’t imagine him always paying the bills when we go out for dinner.
That’s so funny! I love that.
Shann Eva says
I totally agree. I think it’s just polite for whoever asked who on the date to pay…or the first person to the door to open it for the other. People just need to remember their manners and be nice!
Exactly! Just be nice to people around you. 🙂
Cynthia @craftoflaughter says
I like manners, politeness, and consideration, regardless of the gender!
Same! It’s so important that we respect everyone around us.
Jess Rey says
This was a good read…I normally do not read up on feminism or Chivalry but this was a good short mix of both….it gave me something to think about. On a side note…I must be a dick…It was pointed out to me when I was in college by my best friend that I normally do not open the door and walk in, I wait for the person behind me to do it because I do not want to touch the door…regardless of their gender. to this day, I catch myself still doing that.
Haha! Is it a germ-phobia type thing?
Trish Nicholas says
I think you’ve pretty much nailed it. It’s polite to hold doors. It’s called be a decent human being and applies to all of us.
Exactly! 🙂 Thanks, Trish!
I think they can for sure. I hold the door open for men all the time 🙂
Yesss! That’s awesome. 🙂
Bruno Fluzão says
Men owe women nothing!
chivalry is really not compatible with gender equality. We can have one or the other, but not both. And ultimately, it may be best if the sexes tried to help each other, rather than expecting that men be the protectors and benefactors of women.
Men owe women nothing!
“women shouldn’t be forced into a certain role, but we have expectations of men” . Its not equality!
Go to work and pay you dinner!
That’s exactly what I say in this post, Bruno. 🙂 The problem with typical examples of chivalry is that it’s always the man being chivalrous. Neither gender “owes” the other anything, but as humans, we have the responsibility to be civil and chivalrous to everyone, regardless of gender. Thanks for reading!