TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

What happens to chivalry once women are "equal" to men?

In Sweden, as most of the scandinavian countries, gender equality exists more so than in other parts of the world. (See: http://www.weforum.org/reports-results?fq=report%5Esocial%3A%22Gender%20equality%22 ) However, informally, among my Swedish friends, I am hearing about some side effects of this much sought-after socialization of equality:

Some Swedish women friends complain Swedish men are not very chivalrous: won't buy dinner or drinks, won't go out of their way, want compensation or reciprocation for having done things, for women. However, women say that men make time to talk (about anything) and absolutely help with the household work.

Some Swedish men complain that Swedish women feel overly entitled to things that they did not necessarily earn: affection, gifts, favours etc. That they expect chivalry at the expense of men. That they chastise men for not being more manly. But the men absolutely encourage women to assert themselves and go for whatever it is they want / deserve.

I feel that in North America, and other societies that are still not "there" yet, women's efforts to be equal to men may be partially thwarted by their own ingrained socialized thinking that chivalry is / will always be necessary in the dance between men and women. Some Swedish women even miss it!


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Apr 5 2011: Your question implies that women are not equal to men, does it not? And if women are not equal to men, who said so? Women in the US are able to aspire and acquire any station in life, and there are no rules that would defy such a reality.


    Any inequality between women/men is simply one's imagination. We are our focus, unfortunately that may include a fearful and/or negatively oriented one. Therefore, chivalry being a term that traditionally describes a male tending to a female in an act of good-will still applies-- however, expectation is the beginning of disappointment.

    No one, man or woman, should expect anyone to act with unexpected goodness, which simply is confusing.
    • thumb
      Apr 6 2011: Neither should they expect them not to act with unexpected kindness..
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2011: I like this! That expectations of kindness or unkindness is not the point. Perhaps being kind yourself is all you can really do, man or woman.
    • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Apr 19 2011: S.B. Davis, your assertion seems to be theoretical that, "WOMEN AND MEN SHARE EQUAL RIGHTS". I give you credit for including women in that sentence, where the US Constitution does not. But, aside from theory, the reality of sexist social grooming and glass ceilings in many industries do exist, you have to admit. Human and civil rights and laws don't quite apply to the world the same way as the Laws of Physics.

      I don't imply that women are or are not equal to men by my question--especially because there are so many possible interpretations (like, yours being the theoretical, idyllic one). I just want to know what happens to chivalry once a woman perceives herself to live in a fully equal society.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.