We are unwrapping some posts from the Women of HR archives for you this holiday season. Relax, enjoy and let us know if there is a favorite of yours you'd like to see unwrapped and run again.
I’m beginning to get a little nervous for my husband’s generation of men.
It is scary to think that his generation is the last of those men who were brought up to behave in a chivalrous manner.
I like chivalry. It is polite and helpful. It is slightly romantic, and I think I hold men who do such things in higher esteem than those who don’t.
My husband holds open doors for me. He drops me off at the front entrance to the store so I don’t have to walk across the parking lot. He brings in the groceries from the car. He makes sure I don’t leave the house without an umbrella. He helps me put on my coat. When we are dressed up to go out, he helps me get in the car, and he closes the car door for me. He holds my hand when I walk across icy pavement in high heels.
While I am clearly the object of his affection and the love of his life, I do notice that he behaves this way with other women, e.g. that he is thoughtful. The door opening thing in particular is something he
does for women, but I also regularly see him thinking ahead so that women aren’t inconvenienced.
Unless a guy is disabled or clearly in need of help, I don’t see my husband stepping ahead to hold a door for him. This isn’t expected.
Being married to me, I hardly think he thinks of women as being the weaker sex. I think it is just a part of who he was taught to be, a gentleman.
In this world of workplace equality, I have to wonder what dangers there are in continuing to show a favoritism of this nature toward women. Will it, or has it already been perceived as sexism?
Rather than chastising chivalry, I wonder if the best approach would be to encourage women to be chivalrous, or to take the taboo/weirdness out of men helping men. In that way, everyone benefits.
About the author: Bonni Titgemeyer is the Managing Director of The Employers’ Choice Inc. She has been in human resources for 20+ years and works in the international HR arena. She is the recipient of the 2012 Toronto Star HR Professional of the Year Award. You can connect with Bonni on Twitter as @BonniToronto, often at the hashtag #TEPHR.
Photo credit iStockphoto
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