In good society, there are general rules for polite behavior that facilitate relationships, and good relationships help us live better lives. Society works better when people have manners, act civilly, and conduct themselves properly in communications.
For men in Western society, there is generally a proper code of conduct when interacting with a woman. (Other societies have different codes of conduct, like in Japan which doesn't have a ladies first rule.) First and foremost, to be considered a gentleman, you have to treat women with proper respect.
Additionally, as most women will tell you, a real gentleman is chivalrous. (Read the dating profiles of women and you will see the request often.) Granted, some acts of chivalry will cost you (e.g., paying for dinner or drinks). But most actions of a gentleman toward a lady won't cost you anymore than a few seconds of your time (e.g., opening a door for her, rising when she gets up from the table or enters the room, pulling her chair out, carrying her bags, allowing her to go first in all instances but through a revolving door, offering her your seat if none are available). And you don't have to read The Broad Stone of Honour: or, the True Sense and Practice of Chivalry or go to a male finishing school to understand the rules a gentleman should practice.
But there are those who think these chivalrous mannerisms are evil. NOW feminists typically consider these actions as sexist. They consider them oppressive. Thank women's studies programs that "put feminist bunk above scholarship" and focus on political activism. According to the Society for the Psychology of Women who published Seeing the Unseen: Attention to Daily Encounters With Sexism as Way to Reduce Sexist Beliefs, "Women endorse sexist beliefs, at least in part, because they do not attend to subtle, aggregate forms of sexism in their personal lives."
I agree with The Telegraph that chivalry is not sexist and respectfully retort the chivalric motto honi soit qui mal y pense. For those of you who are women, do you consider gentlemanly manners sexist? Wouldn't you prefer a gentleman and equality? Don't you enjoy men more and feel better about yourself when men treat you with politeness, courtesy, and chivalry? What does being a feminist mean to you?
On Sunday I asked a male friend to help me sell a computer (gigabyte? hard drive? You've lost me); on Monday, I happily took the tube seat of a strapping young gentleman who offered; on Tuesday, I forced my boyfriend to carry the groceries home; this morning I emailed a group of friends with the subject line "hey girls."
Feminist psychologists cite exactly these four examples in a report published today rattling against women who are "not aware of the overall prevalence and extent of sexism in their personal lives blah blah blah."
Apparently, I ...may have caused "potential harm" to women. I can't help but wonder whether the time of these academics might be better spent helping victims of domestic abuse or rape, say, or under-age prostitutes - rather than creating problems that aren't really there.
I'm as "feminist" as the next woman - if that means supporting gender equality - but there's nothing worse than a po-faced man-basher whose mouth purses up when the door is held open for her...
If chivalry is dead, blame it on the feminists.