Growing up in the 90’s, young men like myself were raised to be gentlemen towards women. When taking a woman/young lady out, we were to remember to be polite, to hold a door open, push a lady’s chair in for her, to pay for the meal/date, to offer your jacket if she is cold and to keep in mind how we would want our mothers, sisters and other women in our lives treated if they were out with a gentleman, and to treat the young lady the same way, to not expect anything in return.
Now while this is the case, this has come under some scrutiny in the 21st century. With equality being such an important factor in this generation, some people have started the argument that these old school ideals aren’t as viable anymore, are causing women to be judged as the weaker gender… but is this truly the case?
When looking into discussions about this in the media, we see that these factors are divided amongst different audiences. While some women believe it is an “unwritten rule” that the man should pay for the first date, others believe that women should be treated as equal and independent, if they wish to pay for the date it is their prerogative to do so, even if the man feels that he has been demasculinised.
Now while social media and media in general throws around words such as: feminazi, feminist and demasculinisation. I feel these terms are representations of biased opinions, an overly objective opinion from the person’s perspective, without a full understanding of the matter at hand. Women in the 21st century have been raised to believe that anything a man can do, a woman can do just as well, if not better, with icons from Cleopatra, to Rosa Parks to Rosie The Riveter. Though the media still commonly contradicts this, usually portraying women as stereotypes; examples of this usually including: Kitchen workers, housewives, nurses and teachers.
But in this generation we are noticing more so that this is not the case. Men are more commonly seen in kitchens as chefs as well as being more accepted as the stay at home parent, or even down to the point of both parents working and still making time for their children, males nurses are now seen a lot more especially within the media, with women becoming doctors and teaching more so having an even amount of males and females.
Now some of you may be wondering, how does this play into the argument of old school ideals in a relationship, and to that I say, it shows how while old school ideals are still in place in some format when it comes to the male and female demographic, work places and this generation are making a change. Showing that there is still a way to incorporate those old school ideals but to make equality a redeeming factor.
Going back to the relationship factor though, I decided to ask five men and five women their opinion on the topic, whether they feel old school ideals do still have a place. And while some of the answers were interesting, four of them stood out to me. The first two were arguments for old school standards:
One interviewee who requested to be unnamed is quoted as saying,
“Absolutely! I was treated like that on a date and I love it! But I know a few girls that wouldn’t like that. I don’t see why, what’s wrong with being treated like a queen? Some women just want to be so independent it’s a bit annoying if you ask me.”
Rebecca Gibson’s quote following a similar outline,
“I do think there is room for these old school ideals, it makes a guy much more attractive if they offer to pay for the first date and hold the door for you… but I also think that women shouldn’t take advantage of that and should also offer to pay for dates and to do things that will make the guy feel special.”
Reading these quotes helped me realise there is a female demographic who enjoy a man being more chivalrous towards her, but at the same time seeing that even with that chivalry in place, it should be a two way street and there should be similar treatment for the man, not in sense that he should expect anything but more so that he deserves to be treated similarly to the woman.
Another female friend on the other hand is quoted as saying,
“My partner had to convince me to pay for my coffee on our first date and thank god he didn’t insist on paying for the dinner, so not really, I think it’s an out dated standard.”
Now while I personally do not agree with the out dated standard quote, I appreciate and respect that a woman should be allowed to make her own decision in a relationship, that she should be allowed to make just as much of a decision as the man, though she still shows some understanding that in the end if the man is adamant there can be some sort of agreement reached.
The quote that caught my attention the most though was one of my male interviewee’s Logan Wolfe. Logan’s quote for me sat in the neutral category of standing for both sides of the argument, stating that: “I think chivalry has a place; it can be for either gender though. Where do these ideals sit in a gay relationship? Personally when I’m in a relationship, everything is equal. We each take turns or pay for our own meal. Maybe if it’s one of our birthdays then they get treated.
It’s also a very subjective thing. Some women like to be treated all the time, this obviously isn’t very fair, but if their partner has the money and likes to treat them, then that’s their thing.”
Logan’s quote shows that there’s a difference between chivalry and taking liberties, its about the relationship being an equal playing field, that if someone wants to be chivalrous then let them, do the same if you feel you need to or come to an agreement that can make both sides as happy as possible. If both sides are happy, then there shouldn’t be an issue from outside parties.
Now while I personally sit on the side of the man should be old school, as I would myself I respect that there are others with opposing opinions, but a man should be allowed to be chivalrous in a relationship whether in the beginning or throughout. Though I will leave that decision up to you.
If there’s a topic you’d like us to cover, or an issue that you think needs more awareness, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Tommy Monkhouse
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