31 March 2011

A gentleman, on the subject of women

Through my journey over the last six months there has been something on the periphery which has been bugging me a little.  It has been the assumption, from some individuals, that being a gentleman is in some way automatically belittling to women.

I wanted to put some of my thoughts down on this.

Today’s Gentleman is about redefining what a contemporary gentleman is, and is not about emulating the out-dated behaviours of gentlemen throughout history.  Many of these actions would be considered insulting or sexist in the modern era and are therefore irrelevant. 

A gentleman is respectful to his fellow human beings, and through his empathetic nature, should be able to treat others with the appropriate amount respect without being insulting.  Of course as considerate members of society we should all be able to do this regardless of our gender – men do not have the copyright on considerate behaviour.

Obviously, we should all feel an over-arching responsibility for the welfare of all others in our society regardless of what gender we are, or they are.  

In my mind though, a gentleman should have a special respect for women, and feel more of an obligation to assist any woman in need of assistance.  Not because they are weaker or less capable than us, but because of an underlying desire to ensure their well-being.  I personally feel this way for a number of reasons:

  1. That woman is someone’s, daughter, sister, wife, aunt or mother and if it were my loved one I would hope that an honourable person would assist them with the best intentions.
  2. I believe you can tell a lot about the true nature of a society by the way in which women are recognized, empowered and respected – the best societies do all three
  3. If it is not men, gentlemen, who take the lead in showing this respect than who?

We are different in nature and in physiology, and although equality in opportunity is essential, it should not mean we deny our differences, many of which are complimentary to each other.