Monday, March 12, 2012

When Feminism Is Convenient

While I definitely support a lot of what feminists do-- without them women wouldn't be able to vote, run for office, hold important positions -- I have one major issue with feminism in our society. Where do we draw the line between feminism and chivalry? Women often expect men to foot the bill, drive them home, hold the door, send the first text message, propose. Yet, these same women are often outraged when men on average earn higher salaries and hold higher positions in companies. They take offense when male pronouns are used when a gender neutral pronoun should be inserted. When a woman slaps a man, it is justice because he must have wronged her. If a man slaps a woman, it is abuse. Women expect men and women to be equal on all accounts, in all aspects of our society, on all fronts. While this applies more to the social aspects of feminism than the political, it has resonance in both sects. If the female population is going to fight for women to be thought of as the same, then they should lower their expectations of men. A woman participating in the "SlutWalk" (below) shouldn't be waiting on a text from a guy or expecting her boyfriend to pay for dinner that night. When inequality works in our favor, we call it chivalry. When it doesn't, we call it misogyny.

There is no clear line, no blatant distinction, between these two dichotomies. This line is often blurred, moved, and manipulated. It has an important role in rap music. We've see misogyny many times throughout this semester (and it's apparent in the music we all hear outside of class as well). It had a place in Ms. Jackson and Regulate. It contributed to a majority of La Di Da Di's storyline. We can all agree that misogyny has a place in this music. But, when we look at our female artists (and females in society), they tend to put down men. When artists accuse men of not being good enough, of not living up to expectations, they are supporting this idea of "chivalry." Yet, these same artists turn around and rap to support feminism. Where's the consistency?


  1. While I agree with many of your points in regard to the hypocrisy of many modern feminists, you can't deny that we are still far from complete equality between the sexes in many spheres of life. Also, quite a few female artists do more than complain about men. See Taylor Swift's "Mine" and "Love Story". "You are the best thing that's ever been mine"

  2. Hey Alexa, I think you are making two different arguments. Chivalry and Feminism in my opinion has nothing to do with each other. Men and women should be equal in all aspects. Opening doors, driving women homes, etc does not put men on a different level, that is just about being a gentleman. When it comes to feminism, i do believe men and women should have equal pay for work if the same amount of work is being done. I don't believe it is right for women to hit men or vice versa, but to be more realistic, men are stronger than women, physically so while a women's hit would probably hurt, a Man's can do much more damage on a women.

    When it comes to music, it is an issue about respect for women. it is the fact that men think it is ok to talk down to women. Have you noticed that men don't really do the same to other men. have you ever wondered why that was the case?

    Now i don't really consider myself a feminist because like you said they do sometimes take advantage of their position, but i still wouldn't add chivalry into this argument. Chivalry just has something to do with being a kind person, it has nothing to do with being below women in any sense in my opinion. I would expect you to hold the door for somebody behind you whether you are a male or female just out of common courtesy.

  3. I agree with Tia, i don't necessarily think that you can't be a feminist if you give in to chivalry. While you could make the argument that chivalry is sexist, I don't think that paying for my date's dinner is an act of sexual oppression. Some socialization can be dangerous, but I don't see an inherent harm in opening the door for a women- in fact, that could be interpreted as a sign of respect.
    There are some relevant hypocrisies in feminism (the struggle to include black feminism into the discussion of mainstream feminism for example), but chivalry is not an example of sexism if it is approached the right way.


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