Erykah Badu is one of those singers who I would pre-order their new album without even listening to a single track, if only she would let go of the weird numerology stuff. I mean, I’m all for burning incense as much as the next chick with an afro, but add a couple of Egyptology symbols and references to ancestor worship and you’re left with me, rocking in a corner and crossing myself for protection. There’s one song of hers that I always like to sing as I’m hauling myself across Victoria station though… “Bag lady, you gon’ hurt your back, carrying all them bags like that..”. Now it’s supposed to be some kind of deep metaphor about emotional baggage, letting go of inner demons so you can be loved etc, but I’ve managed to reduce it to a literal cry for help. I hummed this softly a few months ago, as I practically crawled through crowds of rush hour yuppies, confused Chinese tourists and the general riff raff of London, hoping that at least one gentleman would see me with:
1)My extremely large suitcase
2)My tattered Primark overnight bag
3) My Sainsbury’s ‘oversized help the environment’ shopper
4) A Satchel
5) Another Sports Direct shopper…
And come to my aid. I hummed louder. I tried to look forlorn. I even tried imitating the ‘laboured breathing’ of the patients I had seen in the respiratory ward that week. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. In fact, I almost got knocked over by an rather overweight chap, who glowered at me as if to say “Get out of my way damsel in distress, can’t you see I’m in a rush?”.
As I struggled across the road to the bus stop, the wheel of my suitcase broke, but I bravely soldiered on, looking like an extra from D’jango, heavy laden and distraught. The one redeeming member of the male species was a tall, rather handsome man who helped me put my suitcase on the bus. Disarmed by his unexpected chivalry and good looks, I unwittingly dropped my Oyster card on the pavement and ended up paying £2.40. (I hate you Boris, I hate you).
I give you this rather long winded tale, to tell you that chivalry is dead. I don’t know who murdered it, but I have my suspects. Some feminist got overexcited burning her bra around 1964, and decided to throw chivalry into the fire as well. I want chivalry back, and I also want La Senza to start stocking my size. (Cheers, for the whole equal pay thing though ‘preciate that. No, seriously, my overdraft thanks you)
On a serious note, I feel like this lack of gentlemanly behaviour is simply a retaliation from men, a petulant act of defiance because they’ve been forced to start attempting (note ‘attempting’) to treat us equally. Just because you can no longer pay us in pints of milk and apron fabric for doing the same job as you, does not mean you can’t open a door. In fact, women are doing a lot of the things they were doing 50 years ago, they just now have a 9 to 5 job to add to the mix. Most of the women I know are still the primary cooks, cleaners, child carers etc for their household, and do this while working FULL time. Men complain that the feminist movement has ruined it for them, but actually I think they’ve profited quite nicely from it.
The institution of marriage has been belittled and pretty much destroyed to the point where men know they can get the milk for free without even putting a down payment on an udder, let alone the actual cow. A 21’st century woman will – cook for you, clean for you, sleep with you, and bear you children, with no guarantee of commitment apart from a vague inclination you gave over coffee a couple of weeks ago. Frankly, it’s ridiculous.
And the backlash to this is that men hold their hands up and say “Fine, if you’re so independent and can do everything a man can do, then I will leave a 5 ft 2 puny woman to struggle with enough luggage to start a plane line, across London by herself”.
Let me be honest. I have a right to vote. I have a right to be paid as much as any man. I have a right to have access to the same opportunities he does. But….If we’re going to go the whole way, let’s go the whole way! If men want to drop chivalry, then they should stop saying things like ‘I only want a woman who can cook’. If you don’t want to operate under traditional gender roles, then why should I? If you’re bringing home all the veggie bacon, I’m happy to cook all of it, but don’t bring home 30% and then expect me to cook 100%. I might choose to do that if I love you, but how have we got to this crazy situation where women are supposed to do all the things men have traditionally done without men adopting any of the traditional female responsibilities?
You can open a door for me, I can cook you a meal, and we can both get paid the same amount for doing the same job. Is that too much to ask? Is it too much to ask that someone who is a foot taller than me and almost 100 pounds heavier help me carry something? That doesn’t mean I’m inferior, it just means that there’s some things you can do, that I can’t do, and we both need each other.
P.s. And to that guy on the Piccadilly line who bumped me out of the way to get a seat. You only got that seat because I was caught off guard. You don’t know ’bout Pilates….my quadriceps are a force to be reckoned with.
What do you guys think? Is chivalry dead? Should we dance on it’s grave, or try to resurrect it?