Let’s Kill Chivalry!
Recently on Facebook, an acquaintance put up a status message that read, “I have never ever paid for meals when in the company of men, and I won’t, not even on Women’s Day.”
On reading her note and that of commentors, to say that I was surprised would be an understatement. Both male and female commentors seemed to agree. Among the comments were ‘long live chivalry’, ‘like to feel pampered’, and ‘A Man Who Lets Women Pay Is Not Man Enough’ (this last one, from a guy).
I placed a note there that I disagreed, but FB didn’t seem like the place to get into a long discussion. Hence this post…
I do have a major problem with the whole idea of chivalry, of which expecting men to pay is one. This doesn’t mean that I’ve never let a man pay for a coffee or lunch. Sure, I have, but on the other hand, I’ve also footed mine and his bill a number of times, and I don’t see why not.
To me, chivalry is part of the whole big idea of what a man should do and what a woman should do - in short the rigid codification of social rules for men and women. A man must pay, a woman should never. If we are sweeping away such rigidity in every other area of life, why persist here?
This rule made sense in an age when women rarely ever had their own money; naturally, men had to pay. Today, when I earn as well as most men of my acquaintance, I don’t see why anyone else should necessarily pay for me. Pampering doesn’t come into it - of course, most people like to be pampered once in a while, but that doesn’t mean you never pay for any meal with a guy. Plus, many such meals/coffees could be with guys I only know peripherally - I don’t see why they need to pamper me.
Expecting a guy to always foot the bill is also unfair - what if the guy is low on cash at the end of the month? Will he not feel uncomfortable saying that? In any case, it’s his hard-earned money too - why does he have to spend it on me?
Expecting a guy to foot the bill always is to me like expecting a guy to open the door or give up his seat for me. I don’t want special treatment because I’m a woman, but I do want courteous treatment as everyone in a civilized society should expect. Which means, everybody, male or female should offer a seat to a pregnant woman, disabled women and men, old women and old men.
I see some disconnect with demanding equality if we are not going to also take up an equal share of responsibilities. Mind, I don’t mean one has to strictly divide the bill into two each time - but, you get the general idea!