I Wish Chivalry Really Was Dead
But how can you say that Shinobi? Don’t you like it when men hold doors for you?
Uhm, no, actually I don’t. The honest truth is that I’m bigger, taller and louder than 90% of the men I see on a regular basis. Having some guy a foot shorter than me stand there holding a door for me while I could reach over his head to keep it open without any effort at all is the most annoying thing that happens to me on a daily basis.
I don’t (normally) blame the individuals who are doing this, for some men this is just programmed, you hold the door for the lady. Sometimes it is easier we don’t all have to stand around waiting for someone to go through first, because I have a vagina, therefore I go first. (And I’ll do it if it means I’m going to get wherever I’m going without having to stand around making awkward “after you” motions for 10 minutes.)
The reason I hate chivalry in all its forms from door holding to not cursing when there is a lady present is because it “others” me in a way I am uncomfortable with. I suppose that the reason it bothers me especially is because I am often in environments where I am the only “vagina American” present. So we’ll be walking along and suddenly 10 guys have to stop to watch me walk through a door. Or worse someone will make a slightly off color joke and then stop all conversation to apologize to me. I can’t help but think “what if one of the guys in the room was offended, why just apologize to me?”
It also reminds me of a phenomenon that I noticed my freshman year in college. I had a bunch of male friends my freshman year, and we were just friends, seriously I’ve never experienced less sexual tension in my life. So I hung out, we played video games, told gross out stories and fart jokes, went on weird adventures, harassed other guys with the dildo they’d used for the putting on the condom demonstration. It was generally hilarious.
That is until my roommate (who I swear never wore a bra) or one of the other more attractive girls from my floor would come looking for me. Then suddenly most of the guys were all polite, no more gross stories and fart jokes, they were falling over themselves to help the girls find a seat. Gone were the relaxed fun dudes I’d been hanging out with moments before, here were the charming polite young men desperately trying to get their dicks wet.
Now I know everyone behaves a little differently around people they are romantically interested in, but this was pretty much every straight guy on the floor to a one. I could tell as soon as I stepped on the floor whether there was a girl there who was not me.
I always found this deeply disturbing both because it meant that the cool fun guys I’d been hanging out with were suddenly annoying, and because it made me wonder what guys I knew did this to me? I pretty much had to question every interaction I’d ever had with a guy and wonder, how much of their behavior is changed because I am here?
And conversely, how much of what they do and say when it is just guys is what they really want to do or say? And how much is what they feel socially pressured into?
I’m not saying everyone should go around being rude and crude and pushy. (Though they certainly seem to manage it on the el.) I am just saying why does our gender have to determine who recieves and who gives courtesy.
Why does it take a woman in a room to make men offer their seats to other guests? Why does it take a woman in the room to keep people from making offensive comments that could really offend anyone regardless of gender? Why can’t we just hold doors for people because it is nice?
I don’t have a problem with courtesy, but I do have a problem with courtesy directed at me because of my vagina.