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Has Feminism Killed Chivalry and Good Old Fashioned Manners?

Has Feminism Killed Chivalry and Good Old Fashioned Manners?

By Chris Jordan

I was out with one of my teenage sons the other day. We were shopping. It’s strange, but I have found my teenagers interest in shopping is directly proportional to my lack of interest. Probably because they want to spend all my money on sneakers, t-shirts, and other they don’t really need. And I, being the mean parent that I am, want to spend money on things like food and electricity. Go figure.

But I digress.

We were heading into the store, my son directly in front of me. There were two women also trying to make their way out of the door. My son got to the door first, pulled it open. and barged right through, not even bothering to hold it behind him for me. I looked through the door as it closed at the two women who were looking back at me. I am not sure who was more shocked.

Wait, scratch that I was definitely more shocked, not to mention mortified.

Before the door closed completely I stuck my hand out and stopped it.

Uh, Excuse me?!?

He turned and looked over his shoulder.

Get back here, please.

He comes walking back.

You let the door close on us.

My son looks confused by my use of “us” and so I gesture over to the other women who are still standing there, probably out of curiosity at this point.

Uh, I thought you had it.


I hear people talk all the time about kids now-a-days, though I am sure my parents’ generation said the same thing about us, and how they are rude, unhelpful, and reeking of self-entitlement. I always want to say, they are your kids too, who do you have to blame but yourself?

I have seen my boys voluntarily help older people, whether it is doing yardwork or carrying things. I have seen them help mothers struggling with toddlers and groceries. I have seen them get things off of high shelves in the grocery store for strangers. For some reason they never thought they had to “help” anyone who seemed perfectly capable of doing something themselves.

Is this what feminism has wrought? The death of manners? Really that is what being chivalrous is about in modern times–manners.

Teenagers now are at least one, more likely two, generations out from the Women’s Liberation movement. Things that were revolutionary and fought hard for in my mother’s young adulthood are taken for granted now. Girls can do anything boys can do, therefore why should I do anything extra for girls? After talking to my teenagers, I think this is the message they have heard.

I have had male friends say that women have gotten annoyed at them for offering them seats, or offering to carry packages, or holding open doors, and I ask who are these women? Crazy women? But met with this reaction, is it no wonder that they no longer to continue to offer?

Have you all seen the video from a baseball game where the man ducks out of the way of the ball and it hits his girlfriend? It was from a couple years ago. When I saw it my first thought was his mother will be so disappointed in him. My second thought was, wow, chivalry is dead.


I made my son come back and hold the door open. I showed him exactly what I meant by holding the door open, which is to say not holding it open for a second longer than it takes for you pass ignoring whether or not it slams in the face of the person behind you. It means you open the door, step out of the way and say, “Please, after you.”

After he practiced this a few more times, we went on our way shopping; he was practicing his death glare, which fortunately needs much more practice to be effective, and I was thinking about manners, the ones I hope my children use when I am not around.

Most of them, I realize, are not even gender specific:

Practicing good manners

1: When you go to pick up your date, go to the door and ring the doorbell. You do not honk the horn. And dear Lord you do NOT text from your car that you are outside waiting. Just, no.

2: Boys, if you are driving the car, open the passenger side door for your date/girlfriend from the outside. Don’t lean over from the passenger side and push the door. That’s just lazy.

3: Since moving south my children have become indoctrinated into the world of Sir and Ma’am. I have to say I love this. After the glorious weather, this is my favorite thing about the south.

4: When you are introduced to someone you shake their hand. You do this firmly, but not too tight. It is not a test of strength. You look the person in the eye while doing so. And you say, “It’s nice to meet you.”

5: You hold the door open for people and let them pass in front of you.

6: Help people when doing so would make their life easier, regardless of whether they are capable of doing it alone. Yes, our elderly neighbor can bring his own garbage to the curb. But it is much easier for a young, spry person to do it.

7: If you are on a train, or subway, or in a waiting room, or somewhere similar where there are not enough seats for everyone, give up your seat.

8: Say please and thank-you. Especially when you don’t have to.

9: Girls and women, if some man offers you his seat and you don’t want it, decline politely. If he holds the door for you, say thank you. And if you need help, accept it. If you chose to decline any of the things don’t act insulted as if the man offered them to you because he thinks you are weaker, or incapable, he probably has a mother who drilled these things into him and they have just become part of his second nature.

Remember, no one has ever called someone too courteous, or too polite. But I can think of plenty of instances where people have been called the opposite, using not so nice words.

10: I feel like a list of nine bullet points is incomplete. So I’ll just say treat everyone the way you’d treat your beloved grandmother.

This brings me all the way back to my first point. If your children do not act courteous and respectfully, we have no one to blame but ourselves. I don’t think my son will ever forget to hold the door open again.

Chris Jordan
About the Author

Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children. Yes, the...

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.
Yes, they are all hers.
No she’s not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.
Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That’s why her youngest is almost 6.
Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

If you would like to submit a question for Chris to answer publicly, please do so to adviceforparentsoftweens[at]gmail[dot]com.

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  • Isabel


    April 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    I hold the door open all the time. For older and younger folks alike. It’s just good manners.

    You’re right, we all can be kind to each other and still respectful.

    But, I have to put it out there. I have no tolerance for being treated unfairly because I am a woman. I see red. A man steps out in front of me in an elevator? No biggie.

  • IrishCream

    April 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Nice list. None of these depend on gender; girls and boys alike can be taught to practice these as a matter of course.

  • Andrea

    April 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    I am big on chivalry and manners and have drilled all of the above points into my sons until they were habits. I think, regardless of gender, that people should just aim to make life easier for other people. What kills me is when my 11-year-old holds the door for me to go through, and 15-20 people come streaming through behind me. Usually, no one bothers to say thank you to my son, or even take the door from him. I find myself going back to say, “Sweetie, if no one will take the door from you, let it go. We can’t stand here all day.”

  • Susan

    April 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    I think your list is wonderful and I hope people teach their children, both boys and girls, to be courteous to all people. What a better world it would be if we were all a little nicer to those around us.

  • Amy

    April 8, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Oh, don’t bring feminism into this. Some people are just jerks. 

  • Lani B

    April 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    @Amy: I think it is fair to bring feminism into it: Many of the male-folk my age and younger (late 20s) will say that they don’t have to do it because females have “proven” they are capable… (in addition to the nasty reactions some females give).

    I agree that most of these things are gender neutral (but agree with 9 and 2 as being specific)…definitely how I expect my kids to behave!

  • Courtney

    April 8, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Great list! All things I hope to instill in my daughter.

    re: #2. One thing I like is when the passenger (who has been let in first obviously) leans over and unlocks the driver side door if there are no auto locks.

  • Marcy

    April 9, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I’m with Amy– why do people blame feminism for being impolite?

    Yes, “chivalry” is dead. Chivalry = men doing nice things for women because women are too weak to do them ourselves, AND there is no obligation/expectation for women to do nice things for men in return.  I’m GLAD that’s not the current status-quo.

    HOWEVER that’s no reason to not simply be NICE to PEOPLE.  Regardless of which set of genitals they have.  And being “capable” has nothing to do with it. Sure, I’m quite capable of opening the door myself, but it’s certainly nice when someone else (man or woman) holds it for me.  Just as I have many times held the door for others (men and women).  Etc.  

    Feminism is not an excuse for being rude. I wish people would stop hiding behind it.  

  • Chevalier

    April 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Oh, please don’t blame feminism for rudeness. You’re doing yourself – and the rest of the men and women on this planet – a disservice.
    Holding a door open for people behind you is polite, and good manners. It should be done, even if you’re a woman and you’re holding the door, maybe for a very old man who can’t manage the heavy door all by himself, or for a man who’s holding lots of bags and doesn’t have an extra hand. I do it ALL. The. Time. for people.
    However, holding the door open for a woman behind you, then smirking at her or checking her out, as if she should be grateful to your masculinity and as if she should acknowledge you as her superior because you’re holding the door? Is just stupid, and WILL get you a death-glare from the women.
    And third – if a woman reaches the door first, and you, as a man, go ahead and YANK the door from her, and INSIST that she goes out first (yes, this actually happened to me in Atlanta) – dude, you’re seriously messed up.
    All of this is just a question of person-to-person politeness, NOT chivalry.

  • Hollie

    April 9, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    As a young-ish woman (27), I have to say that I practice “chivalry” all the time! For men or women, I will hold a door, pick up a dropped item, etc. and I will also ACCEPT these things when offered by others. I’ve also shown and taught my middle school students to do the same thing. It has nothing to do with being male/female or capable/incapable, but with being kind to other people in your community.

  • Taima

    April 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I was once riding the city bus to college. There is also a high school on campus , and those kids share the bus with us.

    We had to stop for a middle aged lady on crutches to get on the bus. The bus was packed and NOT ONE person offered her a seat. I too was on crutches for an injury and was unable to stand either. I was appalled that no able bodied person was able to give up their seat. How do you ever do that?

    I’m also shocked when someone doesn’t hold the door open. I’m even more shocked when I hold the door open as I have been taught to do and no one says thank you. I’ve been known to shout YOU ARE SO WELCOME! after people.

  • Kogepan

    April 10, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I second the comments above stating that this issue is about manners not feminism. Wow! This website is called ALPHA mom right? Aren’t we all strong mothers trying to raise strong daughters and sons who will respect women and not see themselves/women as second class citizens? Being a feminist has nothing to do with manners. It has do with equal rights for all regardless of sex. Really disappointed with this article.

  • Nicki

    April 10, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Most often I don’t mind opening my own doors, but if someone offers I always thank them… southern small town manners.. I can’t and wouldn’t want to escape the indoctrination.

    However, sometimes my husband forgets on a special outing to open the door and I just stand there looking confused.. you know as if I can’t remember to open it myself.  he gets the clue real quick.

    As for feminism and chivalry, well I spent a large amount of my time when younger with older men when my parents managed a golf course.  I can tell you that the younger generation has lost a lot of chivalry and manners.  Do I think it’s all feminisms fault?  No, but it was certainly a contributing factor. You tell a man long enough you don’t need him and he’ll quit thinking you want special things.

    There is absolutely nothing second class about accepting a door being opened, thanking a man for offering to help, accepting his help.  There are things that a man can do that I can’t and there are things I can do that he can’t.  

  • Chrissie

    April 10, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Oh come on, sure people today, men and women, are just plain rude, but we’re fooling ourselves to think the death of chivalry didn’t start with feminism. 
    And to the commenter who said chivalry = the man who holds open the door then sneers and checks the girl out, that’s not chivalry, that’s chauvinism. It’s different. 

  • jen

    April 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    My husband walks in front of me like he doesn’t even know me, and I’ve never seen him hold a door for anyone! I used to try to teach him but I gave up and am focusing my efforts on my kids.  Where I live it’s mostly older people who are nice, polite, and take the time for such pleasantries. Younger kids your kids’ ages could go either way. But I get a lot of crap from 30-40sih women who are alone, what’s that about? It’s like they will run ahead of me so as not to have to deal with me and my kids.  I have always held a door, and I have always told a child “I’ve got it, go catch up to your mom” with a smile when other people are discourteous to a kid holding the door.  I agree that this is about manners, and we shoudl all strive to help others… but I do see your point about a chivalrous man!

  • Anonymous

    April 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Amen. And I feel like I’m a die hard feminist, but raising young sons, I know I’m engraining this in them more than I would daughters. I still feel like it’s a man’s world and they get many more privileges in life (making $1 to our 80 cents and so on). They are physically stronger and should bare the brunt of physical tasks reserved for more testosterone and bigger biceps. With that said, male chivalry is a small price for men to pay. Opening a door, paying for a dinner on a first date — you get the picture. I will raise my boys with these values. My 5 year old is already opening the door ahead of me and for any woman because I have drilled it into his head that he is a “gentleman” and that’s what “gentleman” do.

    I will share a brief story that warmed my heart recently. I was at a restaurant with my sister with our two babies and our two strollers. Outside a pack of tween skater boys swung their long hair and flipped ollies on the sidewalk. One skinny-jeaned boy saw us struggling with the door, ran from his pack of friends an held the door for us until we passes all the way through, fumbling with our gear. I wanted to call his parents and tell them they have done their jobs. Because at the end of the day it is about empathy, seeing another person in need and taking a moment to offer a hand. Breaking out of a “me first” mentality. What better value exists than that.

  • Lucinda

    April 10, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    I think women getting offended by a man holding the door for them when he is simply being polite is feminism gone wrong or courtesy failed to be taught.  My dad never used the word feminism but treated me as he would anyone else.  Therefore, even though I knew traditionally men were expected to hold doors open, etc. for women, I never assumed it was because I was weak or that I shouldn’t do the same for me should I arrive at the door first. It really is about what you are taught at home.

    I also don’t get offended by the old man who refuses to let me hold the door for him.  It is what he was taught and I can live with that.  His good manners (and pride) don’t allow for a woman to do things for him that he is capable of doing himself.  Whatever.  I think, like you said, we should simply be kind to all and not look for offense so easily.  

  • Jen

    April 10, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    As a mom of 3 boys, put me firmly into the “don’t blame it on feminism” camp.

    Rudeness is rudeness (barging in front of people, bumping into people, walking on the sidewalk at someone and refusing to move over to one side the least bit).

    Being polite and doing a little extra to be nice is the same. When we’re in cities with buses/subways, my kids know that I expect them to NOT sit down if there are grown-ups without seats. If that person doesn’t take the seat, well, later they can have it. They know they should try to be aware of the people around them and not crowd them, not yell loudly, etc. If they’re with friends out in public and there are young kids around, I expect my child to notice that and not be loudly discussing inappropriate for little kid topics and to point it out to your friends if their language is not child-friendly. That last one has mostly been taught from pointing out that behavior as unacceptable, since of course, if I’m not there I can’t make it happen!

    We do find in our city, that in general, politeness is well rewarded. People smile and thank my kids when they hold doors, or even comment to us.

    I can’t see that if I had daughters, I’d be doing anything differently. I would also be teaching them to accept niceness politely with a thank you, just like I do with my boys.

    Now, how about an article about who pays for what in teen dating?!

  • Rachel

    April 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Yeah, I don’t really think feminism is why your son didn’t hold the door open. I mean, would he have stayed to hold the door if it had been 2 men approaching from the inside of the store? Not bloody likely. Bottom line: people should hold the door open for people, either gender.

  • liz

    April 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    My mom, an ardent feminist, taught me, an ardent feminist, that the first to the door holds the door for everyone else, and if someone else offers to hold the door instead, you accept the offer.

    This works for all genders.

    So I’ve been trained to gracefully allow men who were raised never to go through the door before a woman to take the door from me when I’ve held it open for them.

  • Lynn

    April 10, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I can see my teenage son texting from the car saying I’m in the driveway. Hopefully some of this stuff will stick as he becomes an adult. Teenagers are just rude sometimes and just need to grow up. I may be in my 40’s but I remember my teenage years and I was probably a B_ _ _ _ _ sometimes.

  • Ellen W

    April 10, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    In general, I think Southerners are better at instilling good manners (I grew up in Texas and also lived in North Carolina). When I attended Texas A&M and would be on the university buses, guys regularly gave their seats to women and dates opened car doors. My husband is a polite guy, but apparently in Montana opening car doors for others is not the norm.

    My pet peeve is young children calling adults by their first name. I grew up prefacing first names with Miss or Mr and have taught my boys to do the same.

  • Emily

    April 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Yes, I think feminism has been a contributing factor. And technology (auto locks, etc). and sorry, but some of the commenters on here do need to learn graciousness. If the man wants to run ahead and open a door, etc, then simply say ‘thank you’ and move on. There’s a lot more to chivalry than opening doors. You know there are ‘rules’ about walking on stairs with a man? Separate ones for going up and going down? I think people misunderstand feminism. It’s not about the right to leave the elevator last. It’s not about being able to open a door. Some commenters got it spot on – it’s about going out of your way to be polite to another human being. It’s about thinking constantly about how you can serve another person.

  • vanessa

    April 10, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    dude. love your blog and your writing but: feminism is a Good Thing. it is the only fair way to be in this world, and it has NOTHING to do with declining manners and people being rude. Please, for the love of all that is holy, don’t bring feminism into an otherwise good article on MANNERS.

  • Kate

    April 10, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Manners are a dying art. I have two boys that we are trying to work on, but because it is not something they see being done as a general behavior by the population at large, it seems odd to them. My son is the only boy at our bus stop. I was appalled when he did not let the girls on first. He thought I was crazy when I told him he was being rude. He has not made that mistake again. We are still working on the door thing, and for that matter, putting our dish in the dishwasher instead of leaving it on the table. I pledge to all the of his potential wives that he will have manners by the time I release him into the world.

  • angie

    April 10, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Blame it on feminism! That is exactly why people don’t teach their sons to hold the door, or open the door, or not hit women…

    It’s ridiculous to act like it is anything other than telling men and women they are exactly the same. They are emphatically not! That’s why we have the babies and they protect us.  

  • Christina

    April 11, 2011 at 1:05 am

    My husband and I are both feminists and he is very courteous towards me and others, as are our kids. We have 3 boys with another on the way and I am raising them to be both proud feminists and gentlemen. It doesn’t have to be either/or you know. Also, if my kids were exhibiting poor manners (which sometimes happens because they are kids) I would attribute it to a lack of diligence on my part to expect better behavior from them and to model it for them. I would also be highly disappointed if my teen son didn’t hold the door open for others. However, I wouldn’t go around blaming his lack of chivalry on anyone other than myself.

  • Katie

    April 11, 2011 at 6:58 am

    I’m currently dating a guy who always opens my car door for me first.  I have to admit I really love that.  So chivalry is not dead, it’s just hard to find.

  • Shannon

    April 11, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Amen to all this. Also, can I just say, I have thought more than once that I wish “ma’am” and “sir” were used by children in the north (where I live), too. I think my children should say “yes, ma’am” to adults. I’m a stickler for manners. But up here children even call their friends’ parents by their first names. I have to say, I’ve always thought (my girls are 4 and 6) that they should be saying “Mr.” and “Mrs.” But no one does. I toyed with the idea of making my daughters do so anyway, but it would really seem odd up here. Which isn’t to say that’s a good reason not to do it, just the way it is.

  • Puck

    April 11, 2011 at 8:43 am

    I think holding door for people is basic decency, but oh god I wish it was MORE gender/chivalry-free these days. If you get to the door first, hold it open for me. If I get to the door first, I’ll hold it open for you. But my god, the act of opening a door and then politely standing aside to let a *man* walk through before me MAKES MENS’ HEADS EXPLODE. They ALL stop and look mind-blowingly confused. About half will actually flat-out refuse to walk through the door and instead try to take the door from me while gesturing me through. Um, why? I was holding the door, you were walking, this was all working out great until your antiquated gender complex got in our way…

  • helene

    April 11, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Feminism or not, or simply being polite, courteous, manners can be a real turn on, when done right…
    Whilst traveling with the kids on the motorway, we once had to stop at a petrol station, I ran to door of the shop to pay whilst my husband was filling the tank, and there, about to enter the shop as well, was a gorgeous man. He saw me at the last minute, had the most cutest, sexiest, “okay, right, can’t deny you this” smile, and held the door whilst looking somewhere else in a laughing resigned way.
    My thank you was a bit strangled, I could not get over that smile… I am not one to make head turns, I looked more than ever like a mother of 4 traveling back from holidays and I am still very much in love with my husband after 18 years together.
    Difficult to analyse, but there is something to say for the “okay you are a woman, as capable as a man, but nonetheless I respect your feminity, I care for it and I can’t help it, I have to hold the door for you.”
    You can resent the rule, but you can also shrug and turn it into something fun and nice…

    Like when my child is about to eat a treat on his own, and suddenly a sibbling turns up next to him/her. I expect the first child to automatically share, and it might as well be done gracefully, with a smile or even a laugh, rather than begrudgingly. Chocolate tastes much better this way …

  • Zoot

    April 11, 2011 at 9:07 am

    This is SO WEIRD. My hubs and I were talking about that this weekend, about how somehow, chivalry became synonymous with Men Who Think Women Can’t Do It Themselves. We witnessed one VERY blatant act of rudeness this weekend and were both just slack-jawed over it, which is what prompted the discussion.

    I hold the door open for people, men or women, all the time, To men it’s just about community, helping the people out who are around you. I get frustrated when people look at it as anything else.

  • Zoot

    April 11, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Crap. As that comment was being submitted I caught a typo: That was supposed to say TO ME not TO MEN…completely changes the meaning of the comment. Sorry.

  • Jessica Sides

    April 11, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Feminism has to do with the death of manners? Really? Being an equal part of our world with the ability to do things that we want and to choose made people Rude? Honestly?

    Chivalry is dead because women *gasp*! want to be treated as equals, be paid the same, have their needs and wants listened to and given wait and to bust through things like the glass ceiling?

    If that’s the case? then I’d rather we just all be polite to one another and do these things with any behavior determined of genitalia then have Chivalry. If the price of men doing those things is to live with the life that was before feminism is Chivalry? then so be it. Because the things that happened back then were a lot worse than a little bit of rudeness at holding doors.

    I agree with the poster up there who see’s the lack of manners in people not as a commentary of feminism in the world and how it affected people..but as a commentary on the parents of people who don’t teach basic human decency. And I must admit that I am saddened to see this on a woman’s website.

  • Elisabeth

    April 11, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I agree that feminism has helped bring about the slow, sad death of chivalry. Feminism in many ways has taken away women being seen as the fairer sex (fairer here does not mean “weaker”), we are seen as equal, and we get just that treatment – the same treatment a dude would give another dude. It makes me sad. I personally, feel like feminism has taken away the specialness of being feminine. Just my two cents. 

    I want to be “equal”, sure. But I don’t want to be view as “The Same”. I think some (not all) feminist groups confuse the two, and this has led to generation of confused young men. 

    Personal Story: I was with a male friend once who opened the door for a women, who stopped, looked at him and said “In case you haven’t heard, we can open our own doors now”. So if you don’t want feminism blamed, teach your fellow feminist how to be kind. 

  • Jamie

    April 11, 2011 at 11:13 am

    My father-in-law INSISTS on opening car doors for women, even if it’s awkward to do so, like when he has stuff in his hands and my hands are free.  He also insists on shutting it for you once you’re in the car. There’s politeness, and then there’s awkward, inconvenient insistence on chivalry to the point where it just becomes silly. I appreciate that you want to be polite, but sometimes, I CAN open it for myself, especially when it is obviously more trouble than it’s worth.

  • Katy

    April 11, 2011 at 11:31 am

    I was riding the elevator to my OBGYN appt the other day with a few other women going to the same office.  When the doors opened one ladies 4 or 5 year old little boy jetted out the doors and the mom made an embarrassed noise, but then he ran to the office door to hold it all open for us.  Some people are getting manors still and it is really refreshing.  That momma was proud of her little boy that day.  It was nice.

  • MamaGeph

    April 11, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Since when does holding a door open for me akin to thinking I shouldn’t get paid the same for equal work? I am so over the prickly feminist thing.

  • Melissa

    April 11, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Being raised in the South now living in the Midwest AND raising a little boy of my own, I just wanted to add to this from my facebook status just last week: “Pushing the handicapped button does not count as opening the door for a lady, period.”

  • Jeana

    April 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    I love that you love “sir” and “ma’am”. I can’t tell you how many people have moved here from other places and, when my kids address them as such (or Mr. and Mrs.) respond with an indignant lecture. I get that it makes them feel old but if they know it’s intended as a form of respect, I’ve never understood why they take it with such offense.

  • Jan

    April 11, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I love manners, but don’t really think you need to dis on feminism to get there. Why not just say be polite everyone?

  • Jackie

    April 11, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I’m shocked at some of these comments. I guess I shouldn’t be considering the topic at hand. Being from Texas I just expect people to be polite. It is shocking when people are ugly but I’m seeing it more and more with the under generation. I understand what you are saying Chris. I have a son and feel exactly as you do. I have had more parents than I can count tell us that our son is so well behaved that he is welcome in their home anytime. He may not always be that polite at home but as long as he is polite in the real world so to speak I am fine with it. I would rather have a child like that then a rude child any day. Of course he knows he would be in huge trouble if I found out he was ever rude or if I ever witnessed him being rude. Of course he is in college now so there is no telling what is going on. haha Keep up the great work with your kids.

  • IrishCream

    April 11, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I had the baby. My husband and I raise her together, 50/50, and we protect each other. Men and women are different because PEOPLE are different. It’s not just about gender.

  • Amy

    April 12, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Vanessa said it perfectly. For an overview of what feminism actually is see:

  • krist

    April 12, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Chris I was thinking about this post last night while watching “Dancing With The Stars”. Romeo the youngest male contestant finished his dance with his partner on the ground. He just got up walking away all posturing to the audience…..and left his dance partner on the floor to get up herself. All the other gentlement helped their partners up when in the same position. Sad.

  • Olivia

    April 12, 2011 at 11:48 am

    You acknowledge yourself that most (I would argue all) actions done out of politeness are not gender-specific, so I don’t know why you blame feminism. The only feminism has done regarding the issue of politeness and manners, is that it has removed the expectation that women cannot do certain things for themselves and need men to do it for them. 

    All we need to do is teach our children to be polite and respectful and to pay attention to the people around us (in the case of letting a door slam in someone’s face). Don’t blame feminism for clueless teenagers.

  • Anna

    April 12, 2011 at 11:56 am

    This reminds me of a beautiful thing I saw on the subway the other day: a family was getting on, and the little five-year-old boy raced to one of the few available seats. I was so delighted when he then turned around and said, “I got you a seat, Mom!”

    I think everyone on the train smiled.

  • Christy

    April 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I have to agree with your perspective – equality for women is wonderful, but like any cause, it goes too far when it condones or espouses rude behavior as a response. I would certainly be discouraged from chivarous behavior if I received a smackdown for daring to hold open a door for a woman. And growing up in the south, any of the very polite boys/men knows that ladies are perfectly capable of opening their own doors, it is just good manners.
    I think our society has come to a strange place – as a whole we are so concerned with our right not to be judged that we end up imposing judgements on others. Instead of leaping to the defensive, why not assume that a polite gesture is made from good intentions? Instead, fear of giving offense freezes us. For example, my SIL, who does not have kids, was visiting a cousin with a 2yr old. The cousin left the room & the 2yr old starting climbing on the table. SIL asked the child nicely to stop but didn’t know what to do – obviously, what the kid was doing was not allowed & not safe, but SIL was too afraid to speak more stearnly to the little girl. The cousin came back & stopped the climbing right away, and told SIL that it was ok to stop the child from such behavior. The point is, the adult in the situation was so worried about what the parent would say that doing nothing seemed preferable. And that is both scary & sad to me.

  • SoMo

    April 12, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    I am always amazed with posts like these because it seems so second nature to me. Who cares about feminism? What about just being polite and nice to people. We are all living on this big blue marble shouldn’t it be pleasant?

    I am a little sad, though. My son use to run to open the door for everyone, but now at the ripe old age of 5 yrs old I have to remind him. Don’t worry in the matter of fairness I do the same for my daughter.

  • Kathleen

    April 12, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    This made me chuckle. I hold the door open for the person behind me regardless of gender and expect the same from the person in front of me. But when I was in Connecticut, I ran into several men who would dash ahead of me to get the door for me. I don’t know if I was supposed to slow down somehow to make this less awkward, but I never got the hang of it, particularly in our work building where you had to go through a string of doors and it became a game of leapfrog.

    That said – yes, it’d be nice if chivalry can survive. I did my darndest not to look at those men dashing about as if they were nuts or insulting me and accept with good grace. I do wish people would give up their seats on the bus (instead of using an extra one for their bag!). I’m keeping this list on hand – Parents magazine recently did a list of things every kid should know that was similar, keeping that too!

  • KIm

    April 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    And if it had been your teenage daughter who had acted rudely? What would you have done then? WHat your son did is just plain rude, and deserved to be corrected, no matter the gender.And I have no problem with “chivalry” or “manners.” I do have a problem with condescension. It’s all in the way it gets done. Being polite is about making other people’s lives a little bit easier and/or pleasant, not about making one person feel big and strong and the other all girly and weak. (There’s a place for that, too, but not out in public with strangers.) And I have never ever understood the car door thing, especially without a clear reason for it (I’m in a formal gown, heavily pregnant, or recovering from an injury.)

  • Olivia

    April 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Kim, I never understood the car door thing either, especially once automatic locks were common. But I watched an old movie once and the man opened the driver door and the woman got in and slid to the passenger side, and it started to make sense. Men used to be able to open one door (worked for buggies too), the woman entered first and he got in behind. Once car design made that impossible, chivalry couldn’t let go of the need for the man to open the door so we ended up with men running circles around the car while the woman stood there like a lump.

  • crabbyappleseed

    April 17, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Yeah, I’m not sure it’s chivalry so much as manners. the scene: a small bagel store in a strip mall at 10am on a saturday. A very, very pregnant woman is juggling a toddler and two brown shopping bags filled to the brim with bagels (no handles on the bags). The appropriate response is to glare at the toddler, pretend you notice she dropped her change on the ground, and then push your way to the counter to order your bagels when you see her struggling with the door…right?

    That happened to me four months ago and my blood still boils when I think about it. We can only expect our children and teens to show common courtesy when it’s consistently modeled for them. I’ve been just as guilty of being too wrapped up in my own stupid whatever to notice other people who needed help at other times, so since that incident, I’ve really tried to be aware of other people who might need help. Both of my girls need to think of it as Something You Do.

  • […] Ms. Chris Jordan at “Alpha Mom” gets the point across with humor ( a favorite of mine, humor is ALWAYS appreciated). Here’s her article “Has Feminism Killed Chivalry And Good Old Fashioned Manners?” […]

  • CrazyCanuckz

    June 19, 2013 at 4:43 am

    I hold doors for pretty much everyone.  But expect me to open a car door for a woman when she is capable of getting out herself?  Come on now.  PIck up a woman?  I thought women have cars and drive.  I have pretty good manners but women expecting old rules of dating is nonsense.  
    Women thinking they are still entitled for men to court them is just pure greedy.  More and more men refuse to court women not because we are selfish but we are tired of being treated unfairly.