"'Rude Man' Beaten, Pelted With Pasta" has to be today's odd headline, but the accompanying story raises a serious question: is chivalry dead? Should it be?
According to TheBostonChannel.com, the Rude Man in question failed to hold an elevator door open for two women. So they decided to "teach him a lesson" by punching and kicking him, and beating him with their purses and a plate of pasta. They've been charged with assault and battery, because while failing to hold a door open may be rude, attacking someone is a crime.
Obviously the pasta-pelting was out of line, but did the man do anything wrong? Should men hold doors for women, or, say, give up their seats on public transportation? Wise Diva of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution poses similar questions:
If a man is not interested in a woman romantically, we still would expect some sort of chivalry from them. With all the confusing gender roles that can create dating and relationship issues, how will things shift? Will women continue to expect chivalry? If there is a need to step in and take on a protector role, what would you think of a man who does not consider it his duty to act?
I don't really "expect" chivalry from men, whether they're interested in me romantically or not. And there are certain forms of it I actively dislike — helping me get my coat on, while a nice gesture, always just makes the coat process take longer. In many cases, though, chivalry's framed as a gender issue when it really doesn't have to be one. Holding a door for someone is just common courtesy — especially if that person has heavy packages or a baby stroller — and I try to do it whenever it's called for. As far as dudes opening doors for me when we're walking together, I'm neutral — if they want to do it, I don't feel that my feminist cred has been slighted, and if they don't, I can do it myself. As far as subway seats go, I tend to think elderly or disabled people, pregnant women, and people with small children deserve preference, and the rest of us should fend for ourselves, regardless of gender. Although questions of chivalry seem relatively easily solved to me, I'm aware that some people feel insulted by gender-based special treatment, or, on the other side, wish men would be more considerate. And apparently, the latter sometimes express their displeasure with pasta.