Comments on: Keep The Gift, Pay What You Owe /2012/01/25/keep-the-gift-pay-what-you-owe/ A feminist pop culture adventure Fri, 27 Jan 2012 04:03:58 +0000 hourly 1 By: Zoe /2012/01/25/keep-the-gift-pay-what-you-owe/#comment-2082 Fri, 27 Jan 2012 04:03:58 +0000 I used to know a guy (I suspect some readers may know who) who refuses to swear in front of women and even stands up when one enters a room. This makes him come off like a FUCKING CREEP. He also hasn’t had a girlfriend in like 5 years so that kind of speaks for itself.

I guess some guys may have been taught to open doors for women or whatever and haven’t given too much thought as to why?
What if some things where women come first serve as a good balance for the places where men come first? Like grammar rules and letterheads (because someone has to, for the sake of neatness and consistency and I don’t mind of it’s the boys).

By: Amy /2012/01/25/keep-the-gift-pay-what-you-owe/#comment-2081 Wed, 25 Jan 2012 15:14:23 +0000 Ah, Dear Diary.
A concise reflection of my innumerable thoughts on this subject over a number of years. Greatly written piece, it was a joy to read.
My two cents on the matter is that it’s one thing for ‘certain’ men to claim a chivalrous gene within their DNA and plea they are merely ‘being kind and charming.’ My experience has noted that these acts of kindness towards women when it comes to the opening of the door and the politely pulling a chair out at a table for a ‘pert lady bottom’ to be seated before his own valiant arse, is often confined to the work place and the ‘I haven’t slept with her yet’ dates. (You can conclude I come from bitter beginnings.) Now, this same man can be seen mowing down women in a bid to get off the train first or to the front of a disorganised queue. This, of course, refers to a certain breed of man that I’ve generally had the misfortune of dating in my misguided youth, but feel grateful in the present to be wary of so as to avoid further error.
There’s also the valiant male who puffs his chest out and claims himself an abject supporter of feminism and ‘good on you’ for being a strong, confident woman. Then when at dinner you start to divide the bill he drops into the conversation that though pay day is near, he is embarrassingly a bit short of cash until then but he’ll owe you. I’m sure I spent a decent €500 or so feeding one feminist supporter in a very short lived relationship.

Chivalry for the day to day is, indeed, dead. May it rest in eternal peace. If it’s being seen or defended, it is, as you say, a man claiming he’s trying to be nice with your own valiant hope that he’s like this to everyone. Society, however, will continue for some time to try and display it. Take yourself to Har.rods for a spot of shopping. On every door that enters the building is a Green Man, (green of suit, not skin.) to hold the door open for you. But always a man. Of course, he is there to open the door to all, but the statistics of those he acknowledges with the opening of the door to those he ignores to let themselves into the building, I’m confident would bring interesting results.
Essentially, the outside world is a minefield of the nice men trying to be nice without being condescending, women trying not to fly into a rage when being bought a soft pretzel by a male as a gesture to merely end their hunger because they had change and she only had a £20 and the prospect of everyone recogising when a woman is genuinely being patronised under the disguise of chivalry.
I think I’ll just stay in today.

By: Zelie /2012/01/25/keep-the-gift-pay-what-you-owe/#comment-2080 Wed, 25 Jan 2012 13:58:18 +0000 You know what I hate about the bloody doors? They hold a door for me which means I am the one who has to go first and be the person who negotiates any social situation. I am the one who has to walk into a restaurant and deal with the waiter. I am the one who has to walk out first at work and deal with the customers. I am the one who is shoved to the front of the queue when I want to linger. I am the one who has to go and deal with things even when I’d prefer to hang back and observe because men are always opening bloody doors and insisting I walk through first. Leave me alone and let me go through doors in my own good time.

By: Sarah J /2012/01/25/keep-the-gift-pay-what-you-owe/#comment-2079 Wed, 25 Jan 2012 13:43:44 +0000 In reply to Hannah.

Thank you! And yes, definitely. I usually want people to think about gender MORE but I think the best default approach is to treat everyone thoughtfully and respectfully until given a reason to do otherwise. Not that I always succeed, of course…

By: Sarah J /2012/01/25/keep-the-gift-pay-what-you-owe/#comment-2078 Wed, 25 Jan 2012 13:36:04 +0000 In reply to hellison.

This is EXACTLY the sort of response I mean. Aghh!

I love Alice Duer Milelr’s poems, she seems to get to the heart of things very neatly, and some of them are really funny too.

By: Sarah J /2012/01/25/keep-the-gift-pay-what-you-owe/#comment-2077 Wed, 25 Jan 2012 13:30:17 +0000 In reply to Daniel.

It doesn’t sound ridiculous at all. We lives our lives in a sticky web of socialised stereotypes and power relations. Political consciousness and self-awareness can help us break free, but it’s a continual struggle which can be exhausting and even frightening.

I’m not really selling this very well, am I? But the REALLY GOOD BIT is that in fighting to free yourself you help to free others.

By: Sarah J /2012/01/25/keep-the-gift-pay-what-you-owe/#comment-2076 Wed, 25 Jan 2012 13:19:13 +0000 In reply to Miranda.

I love your ‘language-vomit’! ;-) Thank you for kind words and interesting thoughts – I think chivalry and courtly love were DEFINITELY a better deal for women back in the day, and it’d be a shrewd move to make use of it.

And thanks for putting the link in Miranda! If I’d remembered I would have added it meself.

By: Hannah /2012/01/25/keep-the-gift-pay-what-you-owe/#comment-2075 Wed, 25 Jan 2012 12:57:27 +0000 Absolutely sodding brilliant. I hate how difficult chivalry sometimes is to deconstruct when – yeah – those perpetuating it just think they’re being nice ‘and anyway what’s wrong with holding a door open?’ (why is it ALWAYS about the sodding doors – let’s focus on other aspects – like the guy I dated when I was in a well-paid job and he was broke, but he preferred to not go down the pub than let me buy him drinks).

Chivalry gets in the way of humans just treating each other well – and often it gets in the way of people treating each other WARMLY, too. When it’s all formalised it’s often counter-intuitive to people just getting along.

By: hellison /2012/01/25/keep-the-gift-pay-what-you-owe/#comment-2074 Wed, 25 Jan 2012 12:45:28 +0000 I love that poem, it really sums up that chivalry isn’t about Being Nice, it’s about Being Nice As Long As You Behave Properly & Gratefully to Me In Return (and stay in your place pretty lady). Sod that!

Also, I did actually have a guy cry at me recently because apparently explaining to him why rape jokes aren’t funny and suggesting he try talking to women like they are just people means *I* am horrible for ‘making him feel like a bad person’. And I didn’t give him medal for Not Being A Rapist, because apparently you’re supposed to get a prize for that! Feminists are just MEAN.

By: Miranda /2012/01/25/keep-the-gift-pay-what-you-owe/#comment-2073 Wed, 25 Jan 2012 12:40:35 +0000 In reply to kirsty.

Totally hitting “like” symbolically on this comment.

The link may very possibly have been me editorially going “ALPHABET LINK!” as I think I decided your illustration of the lady on that post dovetailed very well with the comic by Kate Beaton! Plus I want new readers to see those posts :)