I take the bus to work and am thankful for the bus drivers who get me to and from the office safely. Because the bus gets crowded after 7:30 in the morning, I get up early and try to catch a bus around 6:30 a.m. I do this because the odds of getting a seat are much higher on the earlier buses.
Today I did not get a seat. And as I stood tightly gripping the bar in front of me, I looked around at the young, able-bodied men sitting comfortably in their seats reading a paper or listening to music. Not one of them offered me their seat. On the rare occasion that a man gets up and offers a woman his seat, you can see other women on the bus smile and look on with approval. Sadly, that occurs maybe two or three times a year. It is most disturbing when an obviously pregnant woman gets on the bus and the people offering her a seat are other women.
For the first five minutes of the ride I fumed and, I must admit, made disparaging remarks in my head about the character of the men on the bus. But then I had to admit that the past several decades have been a confusing time for men. When the “second-wave” feminist movement kicked into high gear, many women strove to show how independent they were and refused men’s offers of assistance or common courtesy. And to add insult to injury, in our brave new world of science, women are so independent that they no longer believe they need an actual man to have a baby.
I am reminded of the C.S. Lewis quote from The Abolition Man, “In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”
Feminists have moved past wanting equal opportunities to demanding equal outcomes. As much as some want to insist, men and women are not created the same; men and women complement each other in having different strengths and innate abilities. This is something that should be celebrated and embraced, not rejected and denied.
In the Bible, God defined roles so that men are normally the providers and women the nurturers. Feminism disparages these roles and does so to the detriment of our society. Today the roles of men and women are so blurred that there is no discernable difference.
And yet, Hollywood churns out chick flicks left and right wherein the apparently independent, self-made woman yearns to meet a man who will take care of her and marry her – to complete her. Hollywood makes these “Cinderella-type” films because women flock to them. The movies geared towards men are usually action-adventures where the main character is a macho guy who’s usually out to save a woman and the world from imminent disaster. So as much as feminism wants to ignore the differences, people understand them and pay to watch them on the big screen – perhaps nostalgically.
If only we could get that depiction of traditional roles translated into real life again. There are many women in America today who want a man to open the door for them, and I’m sure there are many men who want to show women that courtesy. I bet the men who take the same bus as I do would be surprised to know that most of the women on the bus would be delighted, and not offended, if you offered us your seat.
Maybe we need a slogan – “Real men practice chivalry, and real women graciously accept.”
So, to all the men who have been confused and, frankly, insulted by the mixed messages feminism conveys, I apologize. Now sir, may I have your seat?