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In Praise of Men….

Yep, you read it right.  I’m going to big-up men, particularly the chivalrous ones.

There’s a lot of misogyny around today.  Pick up a paper and you see at least one, if not many, stories on the daily abuse or oppression of women all over the world.  As a life-long feminist, this makes me very sad and more than a little bit angry.

First, let’s make it clear that declaring oneself a feminist does not equate with self-professed man-hating.  I love men, but I also grew up in the 1970’s with a working mother who was regularly sexually harassed by her business-men customers (she was a restaurant manager) and treated differently from her male colleagues by management in both big and small ways (i.e., being paid less for the same job because the men “had families to support” or being told to work 10-hr shifts in high heels and short skirts because she had nice legs).  Every stone in her road made my mother work harder to succeed and the need to have her aching feet massaged put her youngest daughter on the road to becoming a massage therapist, so every cloud does have a silver lining, but you can bet I wear my feminista badge with a fierce and steely pride.

But chivalry is not misogyny.  Chivalry, in the right context, is a form respect and that’s a good thing in my book.  Yes, women are equal to men in pretty much everything but not in physical strength, and I am reminded of this whenever I go into the centre of London for a Kneader Onsite Massage gig.  Commuting with a massage chair, even one on a trolley, around a city on public transport is not for the faint-hearted; and even though most London Tube and train stations have lifts and escalators, there are several that still have pockets of stairs as the only option.  That’s when this middle-aged, menopausal massage therapist finds herself clunking her chair up or down a flight of stairs, one laborious step at a time – until a nice man comes along and asks do I need a hand, and they then either grab the end of the chair or lift up the whole thing up in one go and whisk it to even ground for me.  It doesn’t always happen but it does most of the time. The men are of every age, size and make but the one thing they all have in common is that they are happy to help a woman who is physically struggling and they always accept my thanks with a simple and honest modesty.

So here’s to the good ship chivalry because some things are worth keeping – thanks lads and long may ye sail…..