How Do Equal Rights Effect Relationship Roles?
The battle for equal rights between women and men has been fought for years and still is being fought today. On many fronts women have won, but on some, they have lost. More and more women are making their way into to executive positions. They start their own businesses, defy traditional employment roles, hold political offices, have mortgages, car loans and bank loans in their names. It is not uncommon for women today to juggle a family and household while also maintaining a successful career. Women have demanded equal treatment, and for the most part have, they have it. But when it comes to relationship roles and dating, where is the line drawn?
If I look at this from a man’s point of view, I can see how this independent breed of women can be intimidating and a little confusing—do they want me to pay? Should I open the door? Get her coat?—and they wind up mistaking equal rights as an excuse to treat women as if they are men, forgoing chivalrous behaviors out of fear of offending a woman’s sense of independence. What they do not understand is that while women are indeed more independent than ever, equal rights will never make a woman a man, and a woman will always want to be treated like a lady.
Women are different by nature. They play a different role, and there is nothing wrong with that. What those roles are in any given relationship will be defined over time and are different for every couple, but the one thing that will remain the same is a woman’s desire to be treated with the adoration she deserves. Giving women equal rights, equal pay, equal treatment, will not change that. If a man wants to have a successful relationship with a woman, he needs to realize that being a gentleman will never go out of style, and chivalry is a trait women desire in their partner.
That said, I am realistic enough to know that just as women’s rights have evolved, so have the roles of chivalry. Women no longer expect a man to lay down his coat so they don’t have to step into a puddle of water, but if it’s cold out when you are walking to the car, it’s never a bad idea to offer up your jacket. And speaking of cars, while you are there, open the car door for her. Some women have started not to expect men to open their car door—building doors, yes (always yes), car doors, not so much—but it will always be appreciated.
Many men may feel confused as to what women’s expectations, when it comes to dating, are. Successful independent women are looking for men who take care of themselves. This extends into three areas, first of which is the overall physical appearance of a man. A man who dresses sharp and is well groomed shows he put time and effort into getting ready which is impressive to women because it shows he put thought and effort into trying to make a good impression. Women go to great extremes to take care of themselves, especially for a date, so a man who does the same speaks to his thoughtfulness.
The second part is on the career front. Women want a man who has as much ambition as they do. That is not to say every man needs to be a doctor, he can work for a coffee shop so long as he has dreams and goals he is aspiring to achieve.
The third area of appearance is not a physical one; it is the appearance of intelligence. A man should be up to date on current events and be able to speak intelligently on a variety of topics. Entertaining conversation will keep a woman interested and intrigued. Some women claim there is nothing more attractive than a man who can make her laugh.
Another area of equal rights dating confusion is the expectation of whether or not men should pay on a date. Recently I came across a debate over this very topic over at my friend Nilsa’s blog, SoMi Speaks. She took the stance that women should in fact pay their own way, stating:
“I expect these freedoms. I expect my independence. And as a result, I expect to pay my fair share in life. I don’t care who asked whom out on a date. If you don’t know the guy and this is your first time meeting, you should both pay your own way. Or at least you should make a legitimate effort to do so. And if the guy takes you up on the offer, don’t think poorly of him. Don’t look down on him. Don’t consider it a test. Consider it equitable and fair.”
To which I disagree, but find it important to share both sides of the issue.
It is my opinion that men should in fact pay… at least in the beginning. My reasoning stems back to the stance that all women want to be adored and wooed. I don’t care if the woman makes more than the man. A man paying still shows that he is willing to make an effort to impress her, therefore proving he thinks she is worth it and/or special. One word of caution to the women out there is to be careful that you are “worth it”. As one relationship correspondent points out, “Chivalry isn’t about getting things in return, it’s about being recognized to a degree for your actions and knowing that the person you are with will also treat you right. Chivalry is a two-way street, in which you shouldn’t be taken for a ride.”
In other words, a little appreciation and recognition will go a long way.
As relationships progress—depending on the roles you establish—this rule may or may not still apply. But, no matter what roles you establish, a woman’s desire to feel special will never change, and there is no trait more desirable in a man than the ability to make a woman feel special.
Speaking from personal experience, one of the things I love about my current relationship is how chivalrous ED is and the way he likes to, for lack of a better term, take care of me. Not because he thinks I am incapable of caring for myself or need to be rescued—because as an independent woman I certainly do not—but because he thinks I am worth it. He treats me as if I matter to him, and he doesn’t want to lose me. If he were to treat me like a man, like one of his male friends, my need to feel special would not be met.
Outside of entertaining a woman with words, the way a man lets a woman know how he feels about her is through his actions…by treating her with respect…by treating her like a lady. Believe me when I say, women pay attention to every action or missed opportunity presented. They are watching to see how interested a man is in them and in turn how interested they are in response.
***Whew! Did you make it all the way through? This is an edited version of an essay I had to write for college. What did you think?***