In college I wrote a paper that equated the death of chivalry to the rise of feminism. I was 19 and my views of the world were naive to say the least. My Professor, a feminist, was so amused at the ridiculousness of my essay she passed it around to her colleagues and student TA’s.
A friend who happened to be a TA in the department informed me of my new found “fame”. I was very confused at the humiliating response. I was raised to open doors, pull out chairs, offer your coat, pick up the check, and to stand when a lady enters the room. I believed I was being polite. I thought that was what women wanted.
But my beliefs about chivalry didn’t stop at being polite. In my mind yard work was for men, taking out the trash for men, even filling a car with gas for men. In my fantasy woman were better at cleaning house, cooking dinner, and minding children. I believed that if a man was not the main source of income for his family he is not much of a man.
I asked my friend why women would not like being placed on a pedestal. She replied with an answer I have never forgotten. When you place a woman on a pedestal the only thing she can do is fall. I took me a while to understand what that truly means. And some days I still forget as old habits die hard.
It is degrading to treat a human like an object. Women are capable of doing anything I can do. I am not obligated to lift them along in the world and it is crazy to even believe I can. By placing women on that pedestal I no longer viewed them as a person but as an ideal that that is not real or even possible. To believe someone could or should live up to that is ingenuous and setting yourself up for a life of disappointment.
J.F. Michael @jfmichaels