I grew up in a very patriarchal society.
I did not know any better and I thought that was the way things were supposed to be.
Men were supposed to be the bread winners and the women the home makers.
Boys play with swords and cars and girls play with dolls and lace.
Girls were supposed to be soft and gentle and boys were not supposed to cry.
Women were supposed to be romantic and men were supposed to be chivalrous.
I remember coming to the United States in the very beginning of the 80’s.
Feminism was still alive and a very shocking and puzzling thing for me.
If men were such an evil bunch, why the American women were trying to emulate them?
It seemed to me totally backwards.
Women were destroying femininity because masculinity was bad and some how turning women into men would make the world a better place?!?
I was working for a big corporation.
The director was an older woman.
I remember going to a business lunch with all my colleagues.
I walk ahead of the group, being the youngest male, and opened the door for everybody to exit.
To my surprise our young accountant said to me:
- Why are you opening the door for me, do you think I am handicapped?
I was speechless as she exited the company ahead of everybody including our older director, which by the way stopped in front of me and said:
- Thank you, that is vey polite! – I think she wanted to make a point.
And then at the elevator, same thing, the young lady cut in front of everybody.
I was puzzled by the fact that every American woman was waiting for the prince Charming to come and rescue them on a white horse – or a Rolls Royce, but at the same time they called me a male chauvinist pig for calling them the “fair sex” – probable because I lacked the white horse or the RR :)
I still believe the women should be beautiful and soft and feminine and I don’t think that being feminine it is less than being a man – actually I believe that women are much better human beings than men – and I even learn some things from them, like getting in touch with my feelings and not be ashamed to show my emotions.
I am the father of two beautiful daughters and as they grow up and start turning into young ladies I dread the fact they will live in a society where chivalry is dead.
Equality between sexes in the working place is a natural right and as so it should be the legal right of all men and women.
But I always wondered as a woman how does it feel to be treated like a man?
Do you think that a man that opens you the door, kisses your hand, offers you a chair or brings you flowers is a chauvinist?
Is chivalry a bad thing or even better; is teaching my daughters to be and act like ladies a bad thing?
I don’t think your opinion will change the way I raise my daughter – my wife is already in charge of that – but I am really curious of knowing how you see this issue.