Are Feminists and Chivalry Natural Enemies?


Being a heterosexual man in the new millennium can be quite confusing. We understand that most women want ‘equality’, yet at times they want to be treated like a queen. Some say they want equality and don’t need a man or their money, yet there are customs from decades past that still linger.  Why are chivalry and modern feminism  natural enemies? Is it true that if women want to be treated as equals they can’t also want men to open doors for them or always pick up the check. Is helping a woman carry heavy a luggage bag offensive? Is he implying that she’s too weak to do it herself? Can a man open the door for a his girlfriend or wife, or even defend her during a physical confrontation? Are we allowed to do these things anymore without being mislabeled a sexist, misogynist, filthy pig?

Something is not right. What is a good man to do?

Emily Esfahani Smith writes – After the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s, which insisted on the equal treatment of women in all domains of life, feminists dismissed chivalry as sexist. They still do. A new study, published in the feminist journal Psychology of Women Quarterly, questions the entire enterprise of male chivalry, which, in an Orwellian flourish, it calls “benevolent sexism.”

Chivalrous behavior is benevolent because it flatters women and leads to their preferential treatment. But it is sexist because it relies on the “gendered premise” that women are weak and in need of protection while men are strong. “Benevolent sexism,” Kathleen Connelly and Martin Heesacker of the University of Florida write in the study, “is an ideology that perpetuates gender inequality.” They advocate interventions to reduce its prevalence, even though, they found, chivalry is associated with greater life satisfaction and the sense that the world is fair, well-ordered, and a good place.

If feminists are stuck in an era long past and still think that men and women are not different, It might be wise to move on and no longer deal with those types of people. It is time we enjoy our differences. I feel one of the many lingering effects of the radical modern feminist movement is that hey are leading many of our young women astray. It is not only confusing for men, but it is really confusing young women. Are we truly equal? Do we want true equality everywhere and what does it really mean?

Satoshi Kanazawa wrote in The Scientific Fundamentalist First, modern feminism is illogical because it is based on the vanilla assumption that, but for lifelong gender socialization and pernicious patriarchy, men and women are on the whole identical. An insurmountable body of evidence by now conclusively demonstrates that the vanilla assumption is false; men and women are inherently, fundamentally, and irreconcilably different.  Any political movement based on such a spectacularly incorrect assumption about human nature – that men and women are and should be identical – is doomed.

It is interesting how some modern feminists are struggling with defining what equality really means. It seems like the coupling of equality and gender may indicate a paradox, if not an oxymoron. Is the question truly equality of opportunity or equality of outcome? Feminist movements fought long and difficult battles to obtain rights to education, reproductive freedom, employment, and protection under the law. Some may say those rights are about ‘equality.’ As we extend equality to previously excluded groups and attempt to ensure a commitment to gender neutrality, the contradictions and limits of equality become more conspicuous. As a result, the meaning of equality with regard to gender is increasingly more complex and becoming bitterly contested. There aren’t many feminists knocking down the doors for equality in selective service registration, eliminating permanent alimony in divorce proceedings or reducing gender bias in child custody cases where women are advantaged by courts. In those aspects, it seems as if they seem to accept differences. Where are the boundaries and limits?

Men and women complement each other. I think chivalry is a form of respect and acknowledgement of our differences.  Some people might want to discard stereotypical behaviors of the past like chivalry. That is fine if you want to live that way. I feel it’s about having choice – even if you chose what some people call ‘tradition.’


Here is an example of a traditional chivalrous act. In a recent article in the Atlantic, Emily Esfahani Smith writes: A story from the life of Samuel Proctor (d. 1997) comes to mind here. Proctor was the beloved pastor of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church. Apparently, he was in the elevator one day when a young woman came in. Proctor tipped his hat at her. She was offended and said, “What is that supposed to mean?”

The pastor’s response was: “Madame, by tipping my hat I was telling you several things. That I would not harm you in any way. That if someone came into this elevator and threatened you, I would defend you. That if you fell ill, I would tend to you and if necessary carry you to safety. I was telling you that even though I am a man and physically stronger than you, I will treat you with both respect and solicitude. But frankly, Madame, it would have taken too much time to tell you all of that; so, instead, I just tipped my hat.”

Ladies, if you need a man to explain what tipping a hat is supposed to men, you have REAL problems. You might be stuck in 1970’s feminist theory and might want to think about what decade you are living in. Times have changed. I feel it is perfectly fine for a man to treat a woman like a…..lady.

Real men want to treat their women with respect, dignity and care. If you don’t allow us to, we will find a woman that accepts it. It’s not worth the aggravation and struggle just to be a man. There is no need to apologize for doing what good men do on a regular basis.

Let us be MEN. Men and women are simply not the same. I fail to see why we just can’t enjoy our differences.

I remember one time at a playground a few years back when I was playing with my son. I had the chance to speak with a nanny for a while who was from Guyana about the differences in our cultures. She told me that modern American women have real problems. I asked her what that meant. She told me, “American women need to know their place!” I said, “Whoa! Wait a minute…what do you mean by that?” She told me “They need to understand that they are not men.”

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