Heather Robinson writes in the New York Post that women wished they lived in the Mad Men era, referring to the TV show which takes place in the 1960s. I’m not sure how many women would agree with her.
Robinson’s reason is that life for single, marriage-minded women was easier back then. She’s grateful for women’s legal equality today, and laws against sexual harassment. But as a woman she also wants to be desired and cherished. Whether she values and respects men is not addressed, however. Yet, reciprocation is a necessary starting point.
Robinson quotes cultural anthropologist Melanie Notkin, who finds that women today are unhappy with men who “didn’t plan dates, dressed down for dates, were no longer chivalrous”.
A man picking up the dinner check is important to Robinson, as it is for a lot of women. Of course, these same women think that “make me a sandwich” is horribly sexist. And they have no awareness of women’s hypocrisy.
In the ’70s and ’80s women spent a lot of time shaming men as pigs for opening doors and the like, while other women shamed men for not opening doors. Men became unsure of what to do.
It’s women, not men, who killed chivalry. A while back Miley Cyrus complained that chivalry is dead while failing to understand that the being a gentleman and being ladylike go together. A woman doesn’t have to be ladylike – it’s entirely her choice. But if she chooses not to be ladylike then she must accept that no gentleman will be interested in her.
And she must take responsibility for her choice instead of blaming men.
This is the problem I have with Robinson’s article. She quotes Alicia, who whines that “It’s like we’ve become this commodity where men can pick out what they want whenever they want”. But it’s men who must do the asking, and women who do the choosing. If women refused to date men who were not chivalrous then chivalry would experience a comeback.
Ellie complains that “It used to be a guy had to call”, but now it’s just “texting that leads nowhere”. I also hate texting. So I don’t do it. I have a coworker who likes to text, so I just get up and walk over to his cubicle to answer the question. He doesn’t text me anymore. He walks over to my cubicle. Likewise, if Ellie ignores texts and only responds to phone calls then she’ll find men calling her more.
Ellie is wistful for Mad Men days: “I think there was more respect for marriage and family life”. Yes, but as I’ve written before, the failures of long-term commitment are more the fault of women than men. And the risks of divorce for men are far greater, especially with parental alienation.
The tired lament – what are men going to do to fix this? – is part of the problem, not the solution. Instead of women blaming men for the current state of relationship affairs, women need to take equal responsibility.