Why Independent Women Should Still Expect Chivalry From Men

Flickr / Caterina Appia
Flickr / Caterina Appia

According to the gospel — aka Destiny’s Child circa 1999 — if you’re an independent woman, you pay your own fun and you pay your own bills, because it’s always 50/50 in relationships.

Question: Why is part of being an independent woman to dismiss chivalry from men?

Chivalry dates back to medieval times when women were considered the lesser of the sexes. Now, the collective assumption of our society is because women fought for and were granted equal rights, they are no longer entitled to acts of chivalry.

In reality, there is nothing about chivalry that pins the concept against women’s rights. I’m no historian, but in regards to women, the customs of chivalry simply dictated for men to be courteous to women. Personally, I was unaware that courtesy went out the window when women gained the right to vote.

We can all agree restricting women’s rights while condemning them to household chores and cooking was not cool. Glad we figured that one out. As the female gender has proven, women are more than capable of running multi-million dollar corporations, holding powerful political positions, launching successful companies and they can be all around bad asses. All while taking care of themselves on a personal and financial level.

Independence is about personal financial security, but also about being comfortable and happy as a person. As an independent woman—or person, as it should be—you’re more likely to enjoy time alone because you’re able to positively reflect on yourself.

Women often take pride in their independence, as they should. Being both happy with and able to take care of yourself is valuable, and should be applauded no matter your gender. It seems, though, that women are too often determined to prove their equality. I find this troubling because to be truly equal would mean you have nothing to prove.

Similarly, if a woman is independent, she shouldn’t feel the need to force this fact upon others, yet it’s the overall societal belief that as women, we should continue to prove our independence. Step one, pay your own way. Step two, shut down chivalry.

By claiming chivalry died along with The Women’s Rights Movement, we’re equating common courtesy to equality. Restricting women’s right to vote is demeaning to the integrity of our gender. Opening a woman’s car door for her…not quite the same.

Just as a woman is able to pay her own rent, she is more than capable of opening her car door. Women are not frail and fragile and we don’t need to be taken care of. However, small gestures of kindness that show a man is courteous and that he thinks of others is indicative of his overall character. So, why shouldn’t we expect these chivalrous acts from a man?

Women who dismiss courteous acts from a man are not necessarily independent, but self-righteous. They feel they have to prove they can take care of themselves.
On the other hand, women who are truly independent are more likely to know their value and worth.

An independent woman is hard working, self-sufficient and knows at the end of the day, they don’t need anyone but themselves (and a bestie or two, let’s be real). They’re looking for a man to compliment, not complete them, which means they should have high expectations when it comes to the men they date and how they should be treated in a relationship.

If a woman not only accepts, but expects chivalry from a man, this doesn’t knock her down the equality scale of the relationship. Rather, she’s acknowledging the way she—and all women—should be treated and is setting the expectations of the relationship moving forward.

However, if women continue to rebel against men treating them with courtesy and respect, our dating culture will continue to suffer. The hook-up scene we live in thrives on women feeling they have to prove themselves, both to men and to each other.

By dismissing kindness from men in the dating world, we’re opening the doors to rudeness and straight up d*ckheads. We’re saying it’s okay for guys on Tinder to unabashedly comment on our boobs, or to sleep with us and never call us.

It’s time to move past the need to be independent and just be ourselves. If you truly value yourself, your personal happiness and financial freedom, you have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself.

All the ladies who truly feel me, throw your hands up at me. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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