In a culture obsessed with gender equality and the glorification of the girl-boss, it seems like fewer and fewer men are willing to offer women their help and protection for fear of being called misogynistic or patronizing or just plain creepy.
It’s unfortunate that a concept that was supposed to celebrate women’s femininity and protect their honor is now spurned as sexist and demeaning. But, while some insist that chivalry must die for women to be fully equal, most women actually want to be treated with courtesy and desire to fully embrace their feminine nature.
The idea that everyday women don’t want to be treated with special respect and are the ones responsible for chivalry’s decline is simply wrong – and women’s obsession with the newest it-couple Taylor Swift and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce proves it.
Women Haven’t Killed Chivalry, but Feminism Is Trying To
Men often say modern feminism is the reason they’re hesitant to open doors or pay for first dates, and it’s somewhat true. Men and women alike have been sold the narrative that in order for the sexes to be fully equal, they must not be treated differently. It’s understandable that men are wary of their actions being interpreted as offensive or domineering, but men shouldn’t blame everyday women for chivalry’s decline, because modern feminism has hurt women too.
For years, women have been told that they have to reject the softer aspects of their femininity to compete and be respected in a masculine work environment. As a result, many women feel uncomfortable accepting chivalry from men because they have been told to view such actions as demeaning of their abilities and status, and in return, men often use feminism as an excuse for not opening the door, giving up a seat on public transportation, or offering to help lift a suitcase on an airplane.
But this “equality” isn’t what women naturally desire – and you only have to look at your Instagram Explore Page to see it.
Exhibit A: Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce
Taylor Swift might be a self-proclaimed feminist, but it seems like she – and her female fans – are smitten with her new beau’s old-fashioned manners. Swift’s female fans are swooning over Kelce’s protective, gentlemanly treatment of the superstar on their recent night out.
Swift and Kelce’s hard launch went viral on social media, with Swifties obsessing over a seconds-long video of Kelce opening Swift’s car door, helping her out of the vehicle, and leading her through a crowd of paparazzi.
Swift’s fans flooded the internet with comments like “It’s the little things that make girls swoon! Opening the door, holding her hand, moving her out of the way to ‘protect’ her. I’m here for it!” “He is so chivalrous. Love that he is a man with manners, nothing sexier!” “And just like that, Travis brought back positive masculinity.”
Who knew that something so simple as a man opening a car door and protectively guiding his date through a crowd would create such a response? Instead of proclaiming Kelce’s actions to be misogynistic and possessive, women overwhelmingly reacted with admiration for Kelce’s manliness, gentlemanliness, and protectiveness. They saw Kelce’s actions as a physical manifestation of his respect for Swift and pride in being seen with her. This response is a telltale sign of a natural instinct that women feel they have had to bury for years.
Women Actually Crave Chivalry and Want To Embrace Their Femininity
Modern feminism tries to redefine chivalry as a patriarchal tool for men to lord their physical strength over women and assert their dominance. (This Forbes article actually argues that chivalry prevents women’s equality and should be redefined as “benevolent sexism.”)
But in reality, chivalry is an expression of respect for women and a way for men to protect women’s honor. It’s not demeaning of women’s ability or strength, but rather an indication of their value and a celebration of feminine dignity.
Women are realizing that the promises of modern feminism are largely empty, and that the independent girl-boss lifestyle is often lonely, unfulfilling, and exhausting. It’s a difficult realization to come to, but it’s sparking a movement that is encouraging women to recognize and embrace the traits that make them different from men, and to see that those differences are natural and unique strengths.
When women reject the narrative that they have to adopt masculine traits to be professionally or academically successful and respected as equals, they can embrace their feminine energy and encourage men to treat them with the gentleness and respect they crave.
Chivalry is on the decline in Western culture, but it isn’t a hopeless cause. Women can and should welcome men’s attempts to be chivalrous and gentlemanly, and men should take the responsibility and initiative to provide the women around them with the honor and protection they deeply crave, not point the finger at feminism as a cop out.
Chivalry asserts that there’s something special about women that’s worth protecting. It’s a symbol of the beauty and dignity of femininity. It allows women to be cherished and respected in the way our souls long for.
Everyday women didn’t kill chivalry, and the response to Taylor Swift’s new romance shows we actually deeply desire it.
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