The Demise of Gentlemanly Expectations

Lynn Messina has a fascinating piece in the New York Times declaring that men should not be taught gentlemanly behavior. Why? Because it leads to gender inequality and sexism, which eventually leads to an unequal status for women in the workforce.

I asked three friends what they thought about Messina's article.

First, I asked two girlfriends if they wished men our age were more gentlemanly, even if that meant that they, as females, would have to act more ‘ladylike’ (eg. not be able to drink as much, sleep around, etc.). While both agreed that they wished men were more gentlemanly, they were also not ready to give up their ability to have a single lifestyle.

One of them, who's involved with Greek life, told me, “I feel like once you leave the college atmosphere, you’re expected to settle down, go on actual dates, commit.”

The other said that she would absolutely give up the ability to hook up, but she still wanted the ability to party as she pleased.

The third person, a male friend, said: “You can make equal pay and equal status a common place, but still respect the fact that women and men are built differently. Different doesn’t need to mean ‘unequal.’”

He went on to say that young college kids have the right to explore themselves and live a single lifestyle, but with boundaries and a balance between serious dating and hooking up. He worries that when men and women are ready to settle down and stay in committed relationships, they won’t know how to go about it, since a lot of ‘dates’ happen over texting and social media.

Call me old fashioned, but there's something really nice about a man holding a door open for me, even if that means I have to act 'ladylike' (whatever that means).