Women deserve more respect

As Aretha Franklin once sang, “All I’m asking is for a little respect.” I believe Franklin was definitely onto something, and I’m sure females around the world feel similarly about this. Women aren’t receiving the respect they deserve, and men seem to be the primary culprit.   easterops

The world we live in today is ever changing and becoming less dominated by the male species. Especially in the United States, the trend of the man being the “boss” or bringing in a heftier income is increasingly starting to shift, although the difference in average wages between men and women is still apparent.

According to a 2009 study done by Jessica Arons’ Center for American Progress Action Fund, the American wage gap between men and women is quite staggering as to how much more a woman loses in revenue compared to a man. The study found that the median amount of wages a woman loses over a 40-year period compared to a man with the same job title is $434,000. In addition, full-time working women make 78 cents, on average, to every one dollar that men make over the course of a year.

OK, although these numbers are pretty ridiculous, it is beside the point that I am trying to make. When I walk around campus or go to the bars, I find myself constantly hearing guys talk about girls like they are nothing more than a conquest or an object. A few weeks ago when I was at Plums, I happened to witness a girl and guy arguing. I don’t know for certain that they were dating, but the way in which the guy was yelling and talking down to her was absolutely despicable.

I don’t understand why guys would treat women in this way. I love all my “bros,” don’t get me wrong, but at the same time, I don’t get the incessant need to objectify and belittle women like they’re people who don’t even matter. As males, we should be doing everything we can to treat women like they should be treated and give them the respect that they deserve.

One of the main ways I see this lack of respect for women is when it comes to “hooking up” with people. Why is it that when a girl “hooks up” with more than one person she becomes a “slut, whore, or skank,” and when guys do the exact same thing (many times much worse), they are so called “pimps or players”?

This double standard is something that does not fly with me. Why should women be held to a different standard than men? This is definitely one aspect of the college scene that I will never truly understand.

To build off that last sentiment, I also hear all of the time that chivalry is dead. No it isn’t; it is just sleeping. Guys, I don’t mean to stereotype you at all, but for the most part, I don’t see men being the gentlemen that we should be.

What is so hard about holding the door open an extra couple seconds so a lady can walk through? Or maybe take a girl out on a date and pay for her meal and not expect to “get some” when the date is over. I’m not trying to say that girls should not reciprocate this behavior if the chance presents itself, but as males, we should be taking the initiative to invite these things.

I know this article may sound like I am completely bashing all guys, but that is not my goal. The reason for writing this is so that more men will open their eyes up to the fact that we aren’t some superior beings to females. Women do more for us than you could ever imagine. Think of your mothers.

My mom is one of the nicest people I have ever met and would do absolutely anything for me (along with my dad), and I’m sure a lot of men at St. Thomas feel similarly. Guys, our moms were once college-aged, and I certainly hope you would never think about treating them the way I hear many girls being treated today.

I think it is up to us (men) to take the step forward and start giving women the respect that they DO deserve.

If this means giving a girl a compliment about how she looks, holding that door open so she can walk through, or maybe taking her out to dinner and paying for her meal, so be it. But start somewhere. If you do, I am positive that women will appreciate it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am nowhere near a perfect human being and have definitely caught myself doing some of what I just wrote about. But I am now realizing how wrong I was in my actions and am hoping to advocate better moral standards and judgment for men everywhere.

Jake Swansson can be reached at swan7230@stthomas.edu.

30 Replies to “Women deserve more respect”

  1. Jake, I completely agree with you that men in general do need to step up when it comes to treating women well. I also agree that chivalry is not dead, it is still present, but is much rarer nowadays. You also aren’t bashing guys, you are just pointing out the facts, and kudos to you for doing so. I appreciate the article man! 

  2. Great article! I couldn’t agree more. This is a message that needs to be heard on this campus and around the country. 

  3. Excellent words, sir! Women are awesome, and worth dying for. They don’t get told that even near enough. I support this article’s message.

  4. Well said, Jake. I don’t think anyone would agree that gentlemen in our society are easy to find. I think you’re right in saying that we should make it a point to remember the simple things, like holding doors for women or giving them compliments on how they look, to acknowledge that women deserve respect and promote a gentlemanly attitude among men. Let’s be men, men.

  5. So the key to respecting women is (1) holding doors open for them, (2) commenting on their physical appearance, (3) taking them on a date, and (4) paying for their meals.

    Is respect really tied so closely to such antiquated gender roles? What if a man is not romantically interested in a woman? How does he respect her then? Is he in the clear just because he’s not trying to “get some”?

    Perhaps you meant this article to address only men who are looking for women to date, not men who might be merely working with or taking a class with women. But the language you used (“all my ‘bros,'” “we,” “males,” “all guys”) refutes such a possibility. Your point seems aimed at all men and in regards to all women. But not all women and men are romantically related. I mean, there’s a reason why you don’t try to “get some” after dinner with your mom.

    Don’t get me wrong, respect is unquestionably a good thing. I just find it strange that you started discussing a concrete, modern social issue (the wage difference between men and women) and then said “that’s beside the point” and reverted to talking about women like they’re just here for men to woo.  

    Also, this is the third recent TM op-ed to make mass generalizations on the basis of gender. What’s up with that?

  6. Thank you, Jake! You are not a voice crying out in the wilderness. We stand by you. I don’t believe in coincidences, and I think the timing of this article is quite Providential. As we meditate on the Easter mysteries, let us remember that Christ, by His death, has taught us what is truly means to love. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephes 5:25), and elsewhere, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend” (Jn 15:13). Let us treat all women with this true love of Christ.

  7. Thank you for the article! Guys definitely need to wake up and stop with the women-bashing. Chivalry is not dead!

  8. Thank you, Jake. It’s nice to know that there are other men out there who don’t see women as mere objects.

  9. steve: women HAVE been demanding to be treated better, but when they do they are called “cold”, “bitchy”, or even “demanding”. Not that women should even have to demand to be treated better, all people should be treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve, and that responsibility falls on each one of us as humans.

    Also, in response to the article, chivalry is dead, and we are all better off with it staying dead. The historical implications of chivalry imply that men should hold doors open for women because women are incapable of opening doors for themselves, and other such feats. 
    We live in the age of etiquette, where all people, men and women, put other people first. Putting other people before yourself is basic etiquette. This way of thinking promotes a more equal playing field for the genders as well as fosters good will between all people. 
    Let chivalry die, give each person the respect they deserve, and practice basic etiquette. 

  10. Steve, I’d say it’s a two-way street. Men need to be witnesses of respect, good character, and virtue so as to give women something higher to shoot for. In a similar vein, women ought to live so as to make men worthy of them.

  11. Reading through the comments after this article I find my heart lifted knowing that so many men at St. Thomas support this viewpoint. As a single female I have had run ins with rude men and similar sentiments as “chivalry is dead” have come out of my mouth. But I have also experienced respect at the most unexpected times, a door being opened, a guy doubling back to help me with a stack of packages I was bringing to work…romance does not factor in all the time. I would do the same for anyone else, male or female. In my opinion, it’s about treating all people with respect, regardless of their gender. Make it your personal goal to be a respectful human being to all individuals. Women will appreciate it, men will appreciate it, and I’m willing to bet that you would find yourself feeling happier too!  

  12. Well said. And I think that even when a guy isn’t romantically interested in a girl, he can still strive to show her respect, perhaps by how he treats other women.

  13. Just a thought, why doesn’t the Catholic Church respect women enough to allow them to become Priests? There are no bible verses, nor any teachings of Jesus that prohibit women serving in a priestly role.  It is the antiquated ruling of men that started such practice.

    The Church should lead by example and revert this injustice.  Maybe we wouldn’t have a priest shortage and the military would not be short of Catholic chaplains.

    Just a thought.

  14. This article is great.  It points towards a lack of respect and dignity towards women.  As men, we set the tone for how much of society dictates what is good and how things should go.  Also, chivalry is not dead merely forgotten.  I firmly believe that we have the ability to be chivalrous.

  15. I understand the focus of the article, but I have to agree with Brigid that chivalry, if it is indeed “dying”, should stay dead. The idea of basing types of respect off of assumed gender roles is hurtful to many who may or may not identify within the binary gender system. 
    Instead of holding the door open for just women, why don’t we all just stop being jerks and hold the door open for ANYONE WHO IS GOING TO GET HIT IN THE FACE WITH A DOOR IF WE DON’T. Different expectations associated with being a “gentleman” or a “lady” do not fit into a world where everyone is striving for equality.
    Also, as for the idea of giving compliments that women “deserve”: make sure that you aren’t making the assumption that every woman on the street is simply waiting for you to notice them. There is a fine line between what many people see as “compliments” and what others call “sexual harassment”.

  16. Things I have learned aduring 60 years of a very successful marriage and that young people dating need to learn. 1. God created us, man and woman, each different in make up, physically, mentally, and emotionally. God however, sees us the same spiritually. 2. It is up to each one of us to understand the first three and to acknowledge and become God-like to the last. In dating and the ultimate result of successful dating, marriage, it is not a 50/50 relationship that is successful. It is a 100/100 relationship that will ultimately be successful. That is 100 % giving on both parties. This is what is missing in our society and the cause of all of the divorces in our society and in the world. When any one of the 4 critical ingredients is missing or not understood, the relationship is in jeopardy and doomed to failure. And that is especially true of the spiritual. It is the one that is most generally missing in failed relationships and marriages. When all four are understood and become an integral part of the relationship, both parties will treat the other with the respect that God intended when He created us.

  17. I agree with this article, I just want to quick comment on the comments. There was a comment on women viewing themselves with greater dignity and then men will treat them with respect. On campus you can tell which women dress with dignity and which don’t. I would argue that you could probably guess who gets treated with respect and who don’t. Now just because a lady dresses a certain way does not give men rights to treating her in a certain way. Now I’m going to say something controversial and say that women deserve more respect from men than men deserve from other men. Why? Because through woman came our salvation. Whether or not you believe in Jesus’ work or God please name another woman other than Mary, that is honored more throughout the centuries by more people. If treating women with a special respect is reserved only for romantic feelings then this is a gross misunderstanding of the kind of love all of us must show each other all the time. And chivalry is the only thing that will bring this respect to every lady. It isn’t that I think women can’t do anything for themselves, but let me love you by doing this for you. 

  18. “This double standard is something that does not fly with me. Why should women be held to a different standard than men? ”

    The next time you see me walking towards the door. You better hold it! Mister!!!

    On a different note, there is a good number of women (feminists), who consider chivalry benevolent sexism.

  19. Brigid and Katy-
    I am so disappointed to see girls so misguided. It’s because of girls like you that guys no longer feel the need to go out of their way to be gentleman. No I do not expect every guy to hold the door open for me and yes I do make the effort to hold the door open for whoever is walking behind me, male or female, but when a guy goes out of his way the last thing I’m about to do is go on a burn-my-bra crusade about how I’m perfectly capable of holding the door open myself (no duh)
    It’s about time that you realize that there are nice guys out there (such as the author and most all of the guys who commented on this article) who are genuine, courteous, and respectful to woman, and I for one appreciate that there are still men out there who are willing to go above and beyond what is no longer expected of them in society. So please don’t go off on an etiquette rant about how we are equals, next time a man goes out of his way to do something nice for you: smile, nod, and say “thank you” as any lady should have been raised to do.
    It’s because of biased viewpoints like yours that men no longer desire to do kind acts in fear that they will be seen as demeaning or degrading females.
    To all the men who commently fondly, I thank you!

  20. The wage gap issue is always used as an argument for unfair treatment of women, but you can’t take it at face value. There are many possible variables that could account for it. For example it has been shown that more women take part-time jobs than men, and would thus earn less. It’s just not a reliable statistic to use. As for the rest of the article, disrespect has absolutely nothing to do with gender. A man disrespecting a woman is no more wrong than a woman disrespecting a man. It goes both ways, and opinions like this only serve to propogate the belief that women face constant mistreatment by men and never the other way around. Both genders have an equal responsibility to treat others with respect.

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