On my way to the station this morning, encumbered by my gym kit and sizeable handbag, I walked behind a man and a woman. Both in their mid to late twenties they were obviously in love. Not in an icky ‘eww get a room’ kind of way, just touching finger tips, walking closer than necessary… you know what I mean. I had followed them for about 5 minutes before I spotted that the man was carrying the woman’s handbag.
My first instinctive thought? How sweet – a gentleman.
My second consciously formed thought? Hmmm… is that anti-feminist? Can she not carry it herself? It’s half the size of mine, is she letting the side down?
It’s a question I am still toying with, and have been all morning. I am in a new relationship myself and pretty loved up. He calls me his Feminist Girlfriend, but insists on paying for everything. I fight the good fight enough to make my point without seeming rude and reckon that when it all boils down we probably end up paying for half of everything each. But he still believes he should be buying my lunch each time, not the other way around. He also carried my gym bag to the station last week (in my defence I had two bags, and he had none….)
So should women let themselves be treated like this? Is it acceptable to demand equality on one count and enjoy being spoilt in our own time? Can feminists expect or accept gentlemanly gestures without in some way undermining the larger quest for equality?
I would be very interested to hear your thoughts – both from men and women – so please add them in the comments section.