I attended an event recently, the room we were in was quite full and a lady came in, everyone was already sitting down but there wasn’t a seat available for her. A man stood up; let’s call him Steve. Steve gestured for her to come to him, he gave her his seat and told her he would go and find another one. Upon his return she thanked him and the room erupted into a discussion about chivalry.
Many of the women discussed the fact that they seldom saw a man offer his seat to a lady, they then talked about how, and rarely do men hold the door open for women anymore. The men in the room of course rejected this light attack on them, they offered examples of how they were still upholding a gentlemanly presence, until one of them, Kyle, deep in thought spoke out:
‘That’s what you get for being all about feminism and wanting gender equality.’
A lady turned to him and replied:
‘Well if equality means that Men will stop doing those small gestures of kindness then I don’t want it.’
That conversation got me thinking.
How many times have I come from a long day at work, haggard looking like the back end of 60, and praying that there will be a seat for me on the tube, then I remember I work in London and travel during peak times so this is just a pipe dream everyday. So there I am standing up, my legs shaking because I’m that exhausted and I see a man, sitting comfortably reading his paper, he doesn’t even bat an eye lid, doesn’t look up almost as if he’s afraid our eyes will lock and that him not offering me a seat will be because he’s an asshole rather than because he simply ‘didn’t see me’. Agh I am mad at myself for that sentence already.
He’s not an asshole but that’s how I feel during my commute.
Because I would have loved for him to offer me a seat, but why is it that I automatically hope a man will offer me a seat, not another woman? Our gender does not signify how hard we work or how tired we are. For all I know that man could just be coming out of a 18 hour shift and this seat is the one good part of his day, who am I to expect him to give it up for me?
I will be the first to admit, I still hope and wish for that, but I do understand the world is different now. In fact for the most part, even if I’m very tired, and a man offers me a seat, I smile and politely decline, because well, I do not have more of a priority than another human being.
Back in the day men would lay their jackets on the ground so that a lady wouldn’t get their dainty shoes wet, ha! I have never seen an act like that, during those times that was probably seen as an amazing thing. Now, times have changed and if a man did that for me, I would have a heart attack, don’t you know how dirty the floor is!
I think the expectation over men needs to be lessened because women are just as capable of holding themselves up. I get why it’s nice for men to be gentlemanly, but let’s be real, how womanly are women now? I mean when men gave up their seats or escorted women across the road, women were slaving away at home, making sure the house was clean and the dinner was cooked. Do these women who are expecting a show and dance from men, also providing these kinds of comforts for their men? I doubt it.
I get feminism and why it’s very important, but I hate feminists who attack other women for not doing enough to stand up for their rights but then bitch and moan when a man hasn’t done what a ‘man should do’. Honestly I hear about it all the time and I think it’s seriously ridiculous.
Men and Women are evolving and it may be that men aren’t fulfilling duties once expected of them but they are doing other things, much like women.
Men can be nurses, nannies (mannies hehe), they can work at nail salons (my favorite manicurist is an Asian man!) and women can work in mechanics, they can be soldiers, limiting people into stereotypes and putting them in a category is wrong and yet people don’t realize the double standards they’re living.
So next time you grumble that a man hasn’t offered you a seat, remember that you’re not an entitled person and if you were on that seat, and a man looking worse for wear, would you be jumping up and offering him a seat, or would you be sat there ‘reading your newspaper’ pretending to be unaware that you have an opportunity to help eliminate gender specific expectations?
Do something to make your parents proud today, your kids proud someday, and you proud everyday!
Peace and Love,