Is Chivalry Demeaning to Women?

Posted on September 29, 2014 | 2 comments

It is the season of homecoming in the local high schools. In a recent discussion with some students, the idea of the boy paying for the girl’s dinner came up briefly. One of the ladies in the group responded that girl’s don’t need a guy to pay for them, they can take care of themselves.

While I totally agree that women are capable of taking care of themselves, this statement has had me thinking about what chivalry communicates. (see The Opposite of Masculinity)

Does a man paying for his date’s dinner diminish the woman?

That is a fair question. And I think the answer lies in the motivation for paying and is fundamentally an issue of identity.

Payment could indicate control. Not paying could be a bruise to the man’s ego.

It could subtly communicate that something is owed later. Now the woman is in the man’s debt. Another form of control

Unfortunately, too many men have used finances in such a way. Making the response that woman can take care of themselves completely understandable.

Needing to be in control and needing to demonstrate control are an issue of a poorly developed identity. One that seek to affirm significance by keeping another – in this case a date – under their thumb.

And by the way, this is not just a man issue, women struggle in their attempts to control others as a way to sustain identity as well. (see The Opposite of Femininity)

A man paying (or a woman paying for that matter) should not be for the purpose of controlling another, but rather as a way to demonstrate the significance and worth of the other.

It should symbolize the investment of himself that he desires to give to the relationship.

It is an issue of love. Love builds up. Love does not have expectations. Love does not seek to control.

How do you evidence the tendency to control in your significant relationships?

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  1. One thing I’ve learned is that I can’t control another’s heart…and if the heart is not where I would like it, why on earth would controlling actions matter to me?

    I read quite a bit about men ‘negotiating’ for sex with their wives…and it leaves me floored. If one’s wife does not want physical intimacy, negotiating her compliance is indeed demeaning.

    For the husband as well as for the wife.

  2. I agree with your reasoning on this, Scott. I have always felt like being paid for on a date was an honoring act not a dishonoring one. And when I was single, I never equated being paid for as a precursor to “putting out.” You can ask my dates! ha! Another interesting look at the way our identities can be confused and misunderstood! I’ve missed having you in the linkup, Scott! If you’re too busy, I TOTALLY understand! But know that your absence is felt!

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