Paying the price for some nice

Feminism is lighting a fire in women and men all over the world, but it seems behind closed doors, it’s all about chivalry.

As I observe the majority of my friends’ relationships with their boyfriends and husbands, I often notice some strong-willed women on the outside. Women who will stop at nothing to get what they want and deserve in this world. As I peek into their relationships, I see they want gentlemen.

They want their partner to take care of them and maybe even in a chivalrous way. Does this mean they aren’t feminists?

My two older brothers and I were raised by a single, gentlemanly father who took care of our every want and need. When I first protested that my brother’s girlfriends were allowed to sleep over and my boyfriend wasn’t — things got ugly.

I became confused and very angry. Why was it okay for their girlfriends to sleep over, but not my boyfriend? Why did I have to stay inside to do my chores while my brothers worked on their summer tan outside doing yard work? Why was I relegated to clean-up duty after dinner, while my brothers were allowed to relax after a hard day’s work?

Perhaps the correlation between my father being a gentleman and wanting me to do the ‘women duties’ had nothing to do with each other. 

Alysa Hubbard said she doesn’t feel as though being a feminist and wanting chivalry in your relationship, is a bad thing or wrong for that matter.

“Chivalry is just a part of the relationship between men and woman,” said Hubbard, who described herself as a feminist.

Hubbard said that what we are missing when we talk about topics such as feminism, chivalry and comparisons between genders is that both men and women have different values.

“It [chivalry] actually helps feminism, because it allows respect to exist regardless of gender differences,” she said.

Hubbard states her duties at home with her husband aren’t always shared. They aren’t expected of each other either. There’s a mutual understanding that they both have responsibilities in the life they have created together.

The values we attribute to each gender is just on a different scale. Therefore, comparison shouldn’t exist in conversations about equality between the two, because they are different.

Feminism could just be bringing a different meaning to chivalry, that it should be reciprocated in relationships. After all, chivalry is really just acting on kindness.

I used to roll my eyes at some of my girlfriends who stomped around saying they were feminists, as they go right through a door that their partner, being a perfect gentleman, is holding open.

I used to see feminism and chivalry as one or the other, probably as a result of my upbringing.

Growing up Greek and watching my aunts’ and uncles’ relationships in Greece, or as I have heard before ‘the old country,’ men have their typical roles and women do too.

However, all the Greek women in my life are strong figures in and out of their relationships; respect is demanded and they are all valued in their families.

As Nia Vardalos, from My Big Fat Greek Wedding said, “The man may be the head of the household, but the woman is the neck, and she can turn the head whichever way she pleases.”

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