I just got a text message from a guy I made friends with a couple of nights ago that started with “hey baby”. I’m fuming and attempting to come up with an equivalent male term I can use to wittily write back to him requesting he not call me that in the form of “Hey, I won’t call you *insert term here* if you don’t call me baby.” There isn’t a term which is making me even more mad and starting me on a mental rant against our sexist culture.
Except… I’ve taken advantage of the ‘sexist culture’. I met this guy when we sat at a table they had taken out at a club in Santorini and freely, almost entitledly, drank of their alcohol. The next evening I accepted his and another male’s decision to go halves in the dinner at which the seven of us had eaten.
The dilemma is even if I had tried to pay I wouldn’t have been able to. This is again sexism but in a different form; a chivalrous form, which, not surprisingly I don’t mind it so much. In fact in the throes of dating, chivalry is necessary and I’d only have to lift
my eyes to find five strong, independent women who’d agree with me. There’s nothing sexy about dutch on a first date.
Guys too seem to like this transaction. I’ve gladly accepted any number of freebies the last three weeks of travel, mostly in the form of food and alcohol on the implicit understanding that it’s because they find me (or the girls I’m with) attractive. The payoff for them is presumably (and excuse the heightness of my stereotyping) a boost to the infamous Male Ego.
So this is the difficulty in fighting sexism; the reality is that the majority of women are attracted to power and the majority of men enjoy showing it off. Call it a basic instinct and blame it on evolution. If these are the roles we want, even need, to play, they can’t possibly be deemed sexist.
Why then does the term ‘baby’ in a text message make me don my Joan of Arc knickerbockers and start ranting about the neanderthalism of masochistic dick swingers?!
Is there a difference between chivalry and sexism? Perhaps females, in the fight for equal rights, are attempting to ‘have the cake and eat it too’. We want men to treat us like equals until it comes to paying the bill on the first date or when the inequality tips in our favour in the form of an upgraded hotel room or free jugs of sangria. If I’m going to expect a guy to help me with my bags up the stairs to a train station, do I in return owe the male population the right to the occasional ‘peacock’?
So, for now, I’m ignoring the inappropriate use of an intimate term until someone gives me an idea of the right line between chivalry and sexism… thoughts please.