The feminist movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have been incredibly important. There’s one big problem — have we killed off chivalry in the process? Some women believe they should be so independent that they don’t need a man. This can cause women to take offense at attempts of chivalry and kindness, which can cause confusion and frustration among men. If a man helps, does she feel offended because he is implying she is weak or helpless? Or ashamed because she shouldn’t need any help? Today, men have to be careful, because they could offend a woman by offering a helping hand! The result is what Aprilla Beverly Jenkins observed, “Chivalry isn’t dead; you just started settling for a lot less.” What could be wrong with encouraging men to value honor, courtesy, and justice? These are worthwhile virtues in a high-quality man. We all need help sometimes and there is no shame in it.
Modern Dating Creates Problems for Women
Nothing epitomizes the problems of modern dating today quite like reality TV shows like “The Bachelor.” A large group of beautiful women competing for the man’s attention, which is a complete role reversal from traditional dating norms. He doesn’t have to lift a finger to woo them, or to prove that he’s interesting, or charming. He doesn’t even have to prove he’s a nice guy. Instead, who has to prove themselves? The women. Some of these women are so emotionally involved that, when they are booted from the show, they feel like they have been jilted from a serious relationship (as if they were on actual dates instead of a reality show.) This enables men with ulterior motives to take advantage of many women, without offering anything in return.
Interestingly, the show “The Bachelorette” has a better success rate of couples staying together. Is it possible that something works better for relationships when we are the ones being courted? Sadly, “The Bachelor” is a reflection of our modern dating culture. Many women feel it is up to them to ask men out, pay for dates, sleep with guys without commitment, and live with them without the commitment of marriage. Modern women date without expecting anything in return. Some make the case that these changes indicate we are the ones with the power. But wait a minute, aren’t we just making it easier for some inconsiderate men to take us for granted? No wonder we can’t easily tell if they are not that into us before they break our hearts. We are no longer making it clear to men that we have expectations.
What’s the True Definition of Feminism?
The women’s movement was about fighting for equality, right? So, shouldn’t we take the initiative—and take risks – in love? Hmm. Look at that question again. Why is there a “should” in it? Why are we making decisions based on what we feel that we should do? Ask yourself, are you listening to your own unique feelings or conforming to politically correct attitudes when it comes to dating? Expecting women to ignore our feelings is denying our individuality—which is actually what the women’s movement was about. It was not about saying men and women are the same. Gloria Steinem said, “A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”
Feminism isn’t the problem, it’s how we translate it. We just threw away one set of expectations (women should stay home and be wives and mothers, subservient to their husbands) and accepted another set of rules (women should act like men). Both deny our own unique, emotional needs. In that way, we are similar to those women in the 50s in that we’re pigeonholing ourselves into a role we did not choose. Many women today accept our culture’s sexual mores even when they are unfulfilled. We don’t stop to ask what’s best for us as individuals; we’re too busy trying to fit in. What if that conformity is costing you?
The Bottom Line
Wanting to be treated well is not weak or anti-feminist. It’s about respect and the golden rule. When you are more concerned with being a good feminist and settle for less than you truly desire, you lose the spirit of humanity that feminism truly represents. Feminism is about a woman’s right to choose what she wants, not what others want for her.
Our confusion just makes it harder for men to know what we want. Many men are no longer raised to treat women with respect and deference since we’ve made it easy for them to get what they want without it. The more we settle, the worse modern dating gets. Look at ghosting and breadcrumbing. Believe it or not, it may make your love life simpler and easier if you consider adopting a few old-fashioned dating ideas for your love life. For example, if you wait for him to call and ask you out, it will become much easier to discover whether he’s into you or not. You just saved a couple of weeks of wondering if you should reach out since you haven’t heard from him. Maybe there was some utility of traditional dating norms, after all. As strong, independent women, we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater – to attract a chivalrous man, set clear standards for how he should treat you. You’ll eliminate waiting games and figure out if you’re truly compatible.
I welcome your comments.
For more timeless secrets adopted for modern dating, read Be Your Own Brand of Sexy.