Most men—including my husband—are sometimes baffled at my behavior. It’s nothing I’m going to apologize for (although I have been tempted once or twice to say “sorry”). I am fiercely independent—always have been, always will be. And, in this day and age, it’s something I’m not ashamed of. If men and women are truly equal, then neither men nor women should be offended by my behavior or stance.
Instead of trying to explain it, let me give you an example. I’m carrying something heavy. I’m not struggling. A man offers to carry it for me—not once but twice (in fact, the phrase “tripping over himself to assist me” comes to mind), and I say, “No, thank you.” I almost have to get rude about it the second time, and I feel bad about that, but I am not emasculating the guy. See, here’s the way I look at it: Would he have offered to carry that heavy thing for another man?
…think about it before you answer…
I’m thinking he would NOT. So his act, while “chivalrous,” is also unwanted and presumptuous. My husband is almost used to me by now after being with me a long time, but he will often say, “I was just trying to be a gentleman.” Okay, sure, but why not instead do the things I ask? If a guy sees me carrying something heavy (and I’m not struggling!), why does he feel the need to be a knight in shining armor?
Don’t get me wrong. I realize guys sometimes have a bad rap, especially nowadays, and I usually appreciate the gesture, but it’s coming from the wrong place. To assume I want or need help when I haven’t asked also assumes the following:
- I am weak.
- I am helpless.
- I cannot do something without the aid of someone stronger, bigger, more capable.
Let me clarify—there are times when I do want and need help. We all do. But to make the assumption that I need help hearkens back to a time when women’s clothing covered every inch of their skin, save hand and face, and they were considered subservient to their husbands. They didn’t make the decisions in the household. They didn’t have the final say. They relied on their spouses to take care of them.
It’s 2016, folks.
Don’t hold the door for me unless you’ll continue to hold it for the guy behind me too. That’s all I’m sayin’. When I talk equal rights, I mean it. Yes, the draft should apply to women as well (know when I say this that I am EXTREMELY against the draft at all and also anti-war. I was angry as hell when my eighteen-year-old son had to sign up for the Selective Service), but “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” The glass ceiling needs to disappear. And if I do the same job as a man, my pay should reflect it. I could go on and on and on…
I realize this post is not the most eloquent or elegant, because I’m ranting a bit at the moment. I know that most men, when they offer their assistance, truly do it out of a sense of duty and honor. I’d rather they offer out of the kindness of their hearts, though, because then they’d also ask a man if he needed help carrying that heavy thing…not just little old “weak” me…