According to The New York Times, manners are increasingly falling by the wayside, and parents are beginning to take notice. So much so, that many parents are sending their children – boys in particular – to etiquette classes which teach “old-fashioned civility, even chivalry.”
Classes are well-received by both parents and children, but according to The Times, there is one notable drawback to these courses:
“But chivalry can also be a loaded word, with its echoes of medieval knights. Some people find the notion of treating women specially to be outdated and sexist.
Dr. Alexandra Barzvi, a clinical psychologist in New York City, urges caution when teaching this behavior to young boys. “It might be hypocritical when on the one hand you are trying to teach your boys, your sons, that women and men are equals,” she said. “Then you are saying, ‘But this is how you treat a woman which is different than how you might treat a buddy.’”
Dr. Barzvi’s comment gives some interesting food for thought. The feminist movement championed the view that there are no differences between the sexes, and thus, that men should dispense with arcane practices such as holding a door open for a woman, or footing the bill for dinner. Is it possible, then, that feminism is partially responsible for the bad manners of men today?
Image Credit: Harvard University Library
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.