If I was, it seems a little unnecessary and even counterproductive in these times. I wasn’t about to go burn some pagans, and she wasn’t about to go embroider a tapestry or polish her underpants. Courtly love was based around the idea that woman require special treatment. Delicate, feeble women surely can’t be expected to hold open big heavy doors or get their shoes dirty. They need all their strength and cleanliness to be pregnant and cook relatively protozoa-free boar heads. Sound demeaning? It didn’t a millennium ago. At least not to male nobility. These honourable protocols that involved fetching a woman flowers from the meadow or poaching a fresh dodo would surely make up for her subsequent lifetime of servitude.
Sexism is still everywhere. Even in the schoolyards. How many men remember being hit by girls in primary school but when they hit them back, they were called ‘girl-bashers’? It’s all well and good to say violence against women is wrong, but violence against men is a very real problem that remains mostly ignored. Violence against anybody is socially reprehensible. Just don’t hurt someone else. You’d think that was a basic enough idea. I’m not going to pretend that as a species the two sexes have evolved in the same way, but I’m not going to justify generally being an arsehole either. And then there’s phallic symbolism. When all-girls high school girls weren’t busy masturbating to Purple Stain, they were busy pointing out the vast amounts of phallic symbolism which must’ve been deliberately placed by the patriarchy. This may have upset some of the all-boys high school boys who were busy masturbating to… well… anything really. Actually, now that I think of it, they were probably pointing out phalluses too.
So why do we insist on retaining these blatantly sexist motions? As stated before, there are women who like it, and some women still demand to be treated in this fashion. Many feminists would agree that there are numerous women who work against feminist ideals, indirectly or otherwise. And hey, maybe there are some men who really would like things to change too. That’s why I’ve never really warmed to veins of radical feminism which believe all men work against women. The good news is that we don’t necessarily have to stamp out courtesy to achieve true sexual equality. I consider myself a socialist feminist, and still indulge in the odd door-holding and drink-fetching. Although I may have hunted the odd dodo if they were still around. I don’t hold open doors for people because they’re women (or I think they’re women). I simply wish to express courtesy from one human being to another. It falls into the same category as holding elevators, lending umbrellas and avoiding crowded urinals. Bill and Ted had the right idea. Be excellent to each other.
So what are some changes you as a human can make? Well, try opening a door for someone, regardless of their gender. Maybe they’ll appreciate it. If you’re playing ‘spot the phallus’ with your pretentious friends, maybe you could try spotting a little yonic symbolism too. And of course, don’t hurt people!
Maybe if you can all master these basics, we can move on to the complex stuff.