Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Jan's chivalry in a real world

Socially acceptable or appropriate conduct is something which is not governed by laws. This is mainly because the basis for such norms is dependent highly on the type of society and people that make it up.

In the past, it tends to be that societies were more uniform in culture, language and social upbringing hence they had common customs of which it is deemed to be appropriate.

If you have time, do take a look at one of my school assignment websites which was also co-authored by some other cs friends.

Cupid's cove: What women want

Chivalry used to be the protection of the weak and defenceless, which was what knights were supposed to do. After a while this evolved into behaving in a gentlemanly fashion towards ladies.
I think why people still have this vague notion of chivalry or gentlemanly behaviour is because its still quite popularised in common culture. Any narrative set in some distant past probably has some vague elements of chivalry, although we usually experience more of upper-class past culture.

Protection of the weak and defenceless. Women being weak and defenceless always sounds like a bad idea in modern society. Firstly, the world isn't so dangerous anymore (relatively speaking in developed nations). Secondly, the idea of equal rights, of being fair, means no discrimination or differenciation of behaviour on the basis of sex.

So what could it mean when a guy opens a door for you although you're perfectly capable of doing it yourself? What's he implying?? *Shudder*

You'd have to ask the guy himself because I'm not a mind reader. As for Jan, I don't buy his "why not be extra safe" mitigation as in the end he says that it's because this is the appropriate behaviour of differenciated genders.

I think perhaps some women think such behaviour awkward because they aren't used to it. And when they aren't used to it, they start to think that the person could be hitting on her, if she allows it'll send the wrong signals, so on and so forth.

What do I think? Well, I don't operate by any fixed rules on the matter. It depends on the circumstances I guess. And how well you can judge the situation, as to whether it's necessary and comfortable for her.

We no longer live in a world with strict and clear gender roles and boundaries. After all, our beloved leader did not so order that women should join the workforce so that they may be emancipated, but rather that our utility of labour may be maximised.

For those who continue to believe in chivalry to all women, carry on. For those who think it only appropriate for familiars or significant others, carry on. But what's most important is to perform when circumstance clearly requires it.

No comments: