Okay ladies, let’s talk about how to make sure you do not overstep your feminine boundaries too far in this age of female empowerment. I know, I know, we women have all been silently trained since birth on what to do and how to act but it seems there are some who have forgotten their training. Allow me a few minutes to remind you of the basics.
Here’s an easy one: If you walk up to a door and there is a man (any man is fine) within five steps behind you, social protocol demands you wait patiently for the man to catch up, open the door and hold it while you walk through.
Yes, I realise you are more than physically capable of opening the door and in the absence of a strong male arm you would be able to handle that door without giving it a second thought. However, the pause to allow a man to open the door for you is to make sure you know your place is as a weak and helpless woman who needs a man for even small acts (like opening a door) or you just wouldn’t be able to make it through the day.
For women who have been properly trained, other small acts of heroism are just as apparent. For example, let’s say you have packed a small box and that box needs to be moved–perhaps to a closet for storage or to a neighbour’s house. A well-trained woman knows she should just wait for her hero to come along and heft that heavy five-pound box for her.
It matters not that the woman can lift it herself. She knows very well that if she does lift it, the older ladies will chide her for not waiting for a strong man to come along and do the job. These daily re-affirmations of how small and weak she is and how big and strong he is, are simply part of the lovely ebb and flow of life under patriarchal rule.
Now, dear lady, let us conduct a small test to see how well you are grasping your training so far. Say you are driving along the road (gasp, your husband allows you to drive?!) and realise you have a flat tyre, do you: A) Pull over, jump out of the car and change the tyre yourself; B) Wave a pink hanky out the door hoping a big, strong man will stop and help you; or C) Immediately call your husband (or father, brother, uncle, male cousin… any man will do) because you have no idea what a tyre is or how it works?
If you answered either B or C, it is clear that your training is solid and you know “your place” in the order of things in this patriarchal society. You can be trusted to defer to men in solvable predicaments so they feel you cannot ever get through life without a man’s help. If you chose answer A, it is clear that some further training is needed and how on earth did you keep your dress from getting all dirty?
Here is another cutesy test for you ladies. This one is a bit trickier, so pay close attention. Let’s say you are one of those women who has gone to college and— despite the fact that we all know women do not have the same intellectual capacity as men—got yourself a good education. After graduation, some kind-hearted man has hired you to work in his company for 23 cents an hour less than your male colleagues with equal education and experience (Gotta love those big-hearted male business owners!). One day the bossman gathers your department in the conference room to toss around ideas for an upcoming project. You have been pondering this new project for weeks now and have some great ideas that you are eager to share. However, the arrogant and loud Billy-Bob has already stolen the floor with his old and tired ideas. Do you: A) Keep quiet and nod your head at the old and tired ideas; B) Look admiringly at Billy-Bob in hopes the boss will see you are a team player with a low cut top that shows off your other assets; or C) Wait for a pause of silence and jump in with your own brilliant ideas that could significantly increase profitability for the company?
If you answered with either A or B, then you are quite ready to submissively work alongside men in the workplace. It takes a good woman to realise how important it is that men know they are the ones who lead the world’s businesses and households, financial institutions, religious organisations, political empires, etc. It matters not if they lead effectively or if women could offer some wise advice or better ideas. All that matters is that the men are always the ones who lead the way.
Now if you answered C on that last little quiz, perhaps you have allowed that education go to your head a wee bit too much. You obviously do not understand that it is through the goodwill of the men that women today are even allowed to get an education. Why just a few short years ago, it was thought to be unseemly and arrogant of a woman to want an education.
(Just for the record, it is okay for Billy-Bob to be arrogant because he is a man. It is never okay for a woman to be arrogant, even if she is the smartest one in the room.)
Yes, ladies, you know me too well. I do not believe one word of what I have just written. But I caught myself automatically deferring to a man this week when I was more than capable in that situation without him. It made me wonder how many times I do this without even realising it.
How many times do you do it?