Something I hear from ladies often: “I’m independent. I don’t need a man for NOTHING.” Hmmm…are you sure about that?
I heard it frequently when growing up: “Erin, you need to go to school, focus on your education, and be able to take care of yourself. You don’t want to have to depend on a man for anything.” Umm…alright?
It was even on the radio, thanks to Destiny’s Child.
There’s a value in being independent. I enjoy the independence from my family, and being able to say, “No, I got this.” Or being able to remind my parents during the time that we spend together that just because I’m doing something in a way that’s different from what they prefer doesn’t make it wrong. After all, I am a fully functioning adult, whether they are present or not.
I worry that this stress on women, particularly black women being independent has ruined something that we secretly (or not so secretly) enjoy: chivalry. I’ve heard female students proudly proclaim that they don’t need a man to do anything for them- they can open the door for themselves, they can pull out their own chair at a meal, they can put on their own coat, and they can drive themselves wherever they desire to go. All of that is true. As a female, I DO have the ability to do those things. In fact, I do ALL of those things for myself when I’m alone. Yet and still, I enjoy and appreciate the chivalry of a man.
When we (women) stress our independence so much, it makes men feel as if they aren’t needed; as if they don’t have anything to bring to the table. While it is important in any relationship for people to feel that they are needed or valued, it is especially important for men to feel this way. It’s like it’s coded in their beings as men.
Ladies, after enough times of hearing us say, “I got this” or “I’m independent” or “I don’t need you”, he’s going to be tired of hearing it. Then one of two things will happen: he will leave (and find someone more appreciative) or he will just stop doing (or offering to do) chivalrous things. If he leaves, we’ll be all upset and up in arms. If he stays, we’ll be complaining that he doesn’t do all the things he used to do…and he’ll get tired of hearing that…and he will leave.
Let me be clear. There is NOTHING wrong with being independent. There is a certain pride that one should feel in being able to provide for oneself and take care of one’s needs and wants. But, we don’t need to be extra about it. I’m sure he ALREADY knows that we got this. It was probably one of the things that attracted him to us in the first place.
Nevertheless, the constant reminders are not necessary. Let him be the man. Let him lead. Show gratitude for his desire to open the door for you, pull out your chair, pay for a meal, or help you with your coat. Again, SHOW GRATITUDE for the things that he does. Don’t walk around with a good man and be ungrateful. Find creative ways to express your appreciation and reciprocate the love and affection he shows for you. Chivalry isn’t dead unless we kill it and bury it.
Author’s Note: These are my thoughts based on experiences with students and friends, both male and female. However the question still remains, “Did Independent Women Ruin Chivalry?” What do YOU think?
April 26, 2012 at 9:50 am
I think a woman can be independent AND enjoy chivalry. I’m independent in all aspects of my life but I have a wonderful, chivalrous man. He opens doors for me, carries heavy items for me, and gives me respect.
I think the common misconception is this: a woman who wants/needs chivalry is weak. That’s not the case. My man doesn’t open the door for me because I can’t. He doesn’t carry the heavy groceries because I’m weak. He does these things out of love. He is around, so I shouldn’t have to do those things for myself. And he knows I’m not weak, so it’s not about him taking care of me. It’s more about him showing he loves me in ways that are subtle but constant.
Independent women didn’t kill chivalry. Society just changed our perception of it and claims that it’s only needed by “weak” women.
April 26, 2012 at 10:42 am
I agree w/ points St. Augustine made concerning society changed our perceptions (as men and women) of what independence truly is. It bothers me whenever I hear a woman suggest she doesn’t need a man for anything. I find that hard to believe, considering God created man and woman. Apparently, he saw how both needed one another.
In the end, I teach my daughter that being an independent woman is basically defined from a financial standpoint, only.
Look at Erin, offering commentary on social issues. Love it.
April 26, 2012 at 11:56 am
Completely agree with the previous comments, but I’ll take it a step further. Independent women didn’t kill chivalry – lonely, bitter women killed chivalry. Like Don and St. Augustine said, society has changed the perception of chivalry to something that is a weakness for both men and women. I think the “misery loves company” saying perfectly describes the root of this issue because the very people who were never recipients of or didn’t appreciate chivalrous acts in their interactions with the opposite sex are the main folks who complain about it and encourage others to reject the concept of chivalry. Instead of dealing with the hurt that came from their negative experiences in a healthy manner (i.e. looking at yourself in the mirror) and moving forward, they allow it to embitter them and attempt to make others feel that same bitterness by criticizing the women who get the love and respect they desire as weak so they won’t be alone in their pain. Independence is simply the euphemism the bitter women use to hide what’s really going on in their heads and hearts.
My little one is reaching the age where she will probably start being interested in boys and one of the things I really hammer home to her in our conversations is that chivalry is a 2 way street – yes, she should expect it, but she has to know how to appreciate it as well.
April 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm
Love all the comments here as well as the post. I think that there are little bits of chivalry that isn’t dead, but it is fading fast. As a male, i believe that independant women can be very attractive and strong, yet delicate and loyal. Now how do we educate, how do we get together? It makes you think.
April 28, 2012 at 10:07 am
This is a great post. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a woman being independent. I just believe she has to know and understand her role when she’s single and when she’s in a relationship. Trust that the same applies to men too.
I honestly believe some women use independence as a shield. They’ve been hurt before and they put on the independent armor to strengthen and protect them.The sad thing is that some women don’t know when to take it off.
Chivalry is only ruined by those who don’t appreciate it.
December 9, 2014 at 2:17 am
Feminism or independent women didn’t kill chivalry.
In the old times, women were not allowed to work, meanwhile men were. Women were the ones who would do all the household chores. They weren’t allowed to vote. And there were lots of issues regarding gender norms and cultural inequalities. But feminism started because of the inequality society gives women. Imagine if us girls lived at that time, when women can’t work or even vote, how would we feel? We may feel degraded, we may feel weak, vulgarized, and lackadaisical. What if men were in that position? How would they feel? How would they react? Maybe if it was vice versa, there won’t be feminism, there’ll be “MENINISM” (that’s what our generation calls it, search it on google). Any gender, in that situation, will feel debased, and they would react with feminism or meninism. So it all started because of the inequality of the society.
Independence means freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. Being independent is a positive thing. When you can do anything on your own, many people will admire you, and you may inspire others. But it doesn’t mean that you won’t necessarily ask help from others. Some may be strong, but sometimes they still ask for help, and weak people will still do things for themselves. Most women only want men to appreciate what they can do. Who wouldn’t want to be independent? And men don’t actually like it if women always ask for stuff. In fact, some men want women to be strong. What men don’t want is for women to become stronger than them. That’s why some men states that feminism has ruined chivalry.
God has created two sexes: male and female. Why do you think God created women and not just men? It’s because men need women, and women need men too. Chivalry is an act of respect towards women. Everyone was made equally by God. Yes, men were created to be the “man” of the house, but women were made to be respected and loved by their man. Most men tend to misunderstood that, they think women will do anything for them like they are the king while ladies are slaves. Come to think of it, some men abuse the idea of being a “man.” They need to appreciate what women can do because that’s what they also want women to do, isn’t it? If God created us equally, why do some men still think women can’t handle anything? Chivalry is also based on men’s decision, of course. If they think women are strong enough, they’ll leave because (what you stated) they want to find other women who would appreciate them. It is not a woman’s fault if a man loses his gentlemanliness, maybe sometimes, but not all the time. Just because feminism started, doesn’t mean men should stop chivalry. Just because women are getting stronger, doesn’t mean men should blame them. It is a man’s choice to stop being a gentleman, or continue being one. A lot of men nowadays hurt women, not just emotionally but also mentally and, even worse, PHYSICALLY. Some women are considered as bitches, even men are considered as assholes or jerks. But everyone has an attitude, right? If a woman is nagging or taunting a man, is it okay for him to hurt her physically? NO. If a man hurts a woman for being a bitch, many would say “she deserved it” or “it’s gender equality” but NO, that’s not called equality. And a woman, hurting a man, isn’t a sign of equality either. But men thinks that hurting a woman means equality. I saw a video of a man who hurt a lady because she was taunting him, she never laid a hand on him but he punched her, and NO ONE helped her. He could have defended himself by speaking to her instead of hurting her. What do you think she felt? Women don’t want to feel weak. That’s the reason why feminists stood up, they don’t want men to hurt them or to degrade them anymore. As I’ve said earlier, being a gentleman is a man’s own choice. If a woman is bitching, and a man still continues to be a gentleman, who’s the real winner here? Whoever did the right thing is the winner. Chivalry’s not ruined by feminism, sometimes MEN, themselves, ruin it.
As for me, feminism does not have anything to do with chivalry, but pride. bitterness and stupidity do.
June 11, 2015 at 12:24 pm
Most of them Destroyed it.