NOW Unsure of High School Etiquette Lessons
But Erin Matson, acting vice president of the National Organization for Women, said she wonders if singling out the boys for good manners is the way to go, even though she called the idea of old-fashioned manners “adorable.”
They had a quote by the mother of one of the girls in the same class which was similar:
“I was a little torn to begin with as a child of the 1970s and growing up with women’s lib and women’s rights,” she said.
But now, she said, it’s almost like a “lost art form” seen only in old movies.
This nostalgia by feminists for the good ol’ days is surprisingly common. In December of 2009 Hanna Rosin, perhaps the most hairy legged feminist of them all, bemoaned changing gender roles in her article The rise of the kitchen bitch. She opened the article with:
Ladies, it’s time to reclaim cooking.
A little later on she writes:
I first heard this term in Sandra Tsing Loh’s recent Atlantic story about her divorce. She used it to describe a friend’s husband who was anal and fussy and altogether too feminine—he belonged to an online fennel club, for God’s sake. Loh’s bitch was wholly unsavory, a prop designed to justify universal divorce.
Granted, many would argue that her feminist credentials come out entirely untarnished. After all, she was emasculating her husband in the feminist submagazine he let her create after he became editor of Slate. Plus, feminism’s core philosophy is about women bitching. Still, I find this rather strange.
Loh wrote about her own nostalgia for traditional gender roles in her NY Times Op Ed piece My So-Called Wife:
I am stricken with the peculiar curse of being a 21st-century woman who makes more than the man she’s living with …
…I seem to have an ever more recurring 1950s housewife fantasy. In this magical Technicolor world, the breadwinner husband, Brad, leaves home (where his duties are limited to mowing the lawn and various minor home repairs) at 7 a.m. When he returns from work at 6 p.m., aside from a savory roast with mashed potatoes, his homemaker wife, Nancy, has pipe, slippers and a tray of Manhattans ready.
From a historical perspective it’s a departure. Go back to the Fifties and husbands and wives had many different roles – as hostess, decorator, breadwinner, volunteer.
Likewise all of the women complaining about reversed gender roles in Alpha women, Beta Men. You may also recall how blogger Big Little Wolf feels that men should offer women chivalry, although she feels this has nothing to do with gender roles:
My planet is called Fred – where I get to pick and choose the typically masculine or feminine behaviors that suit me…
Pick up the tab for a date? Yes – I will expect that….
Guys – is opening doors not your thing? No problem. I’m not going to hold it against you.
I’m capable of opening doors, pulling out chairs, and so on. However, if you drive a truck or SUV, given my diminutive stature, you are going to have to offer me a hand to climb up into the seat, and a hand to get back down. (At five feet, it’s either that or a step stool.)
I was confused by this at first, because if you offered a short man a boost into your truck or SUV you would have a fight on your hands. After much consideration, I came up with a handy way for men to remember what she expected:
chivalry means giving the little lady some extra help
I thought she would be delighted that I had made sense of her seeming contradiction, but later in the day I noticed she had a new post up about how people can be mean on the internet. To this day I’m at a loss as to how she ended up with a picture of me.
…when I read the article“Teacher Emphasizes Old-Fashioned Etiquette”by David Knowles, I couldn’t help but hope that Old School was trying to make another comeback.
..the boys became accustomed to anything from pulling chairs out for the girls to sit, to standing up whenever a girl entered the room–something I hadn’t come across since I read Pride and Prejudice last year. And I was happy to read that the girls loved it.
Happy indeed. Men waiting on women, what’s a feminist not to love? She continues:
As a women studies major who is familiar with feminist criticism, I have a good feeling that many would view these practices as sexist. Such behavior from men may imply that women are weaker and more helpless. That if women begin to accept this behavior as normal, they will believe in and become comfortable with their dependence on men.
She is of course right. The charming ladies at Feministing may have required medical attention after reading about this. But as I said, I saved the best for last. The women’s studies major blogger continues (emphasis mine):
But I would like to offer another level of insight. When men and women are seen as the same, men somehow always seem to get the upper-hand…
More than ever now we are realizing that men and women are not quite the same, after all. And Ivanyi’s lessons from the past are finally being called in to shed light on a problem we have been unable to solve.