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A door slams in your face because a man has conveniently “forgotten” to hold it open for you. You stand for 30 minutes on the train in your 3 inch heels, while a guy sits comfortably in front of you. All the cold death stares in the world won’t make him bat an eyelash while your poor feet endure the pain of a thousand burning suns.

When did this shift occur? When did men lose their chivalrous identity? The day the lady died.  The day the lady used pole dancing as a form of exercise (let us bow our heads in a moment of silence, please).

I’m proud to be part of a generation where women can be open and comfortable with sex and their bodies. I am forever grateful to the women of the Free Love movement who paved the way for us so we can feel comfortable in our own skins, instead of trying to hide what comes naturally to us, and everyone else for that matter. Sex is not something that is taboo anymore. It’s out there. It’s in our faces every day. Sex sells after all. Most peoples’ newsfeeds have been polluted not with Nobel Peace Prize winners, or women who have achieved the greatest accolades in their respective fields, but with whom Lindsey Lohan flashed at the club last night.  Trash like that gets all the attention, because society tells us it’s better to exploit ourselves physically than rely on our minds to get anywhere in life. Is it really a wonder why the lady is laying 6 feet under?

The Free Love movement spearheaded the idea that women should be free to choose their sexual partner(s) based on love, and not on economic or legal obligations. Having finally gained control of our own bodies in the latter part of the twentieth century did come with great responsibility. There is one thing the women who pioneered the Free Love movement forgot to mention to us: Respect yourselves. Sure you can hike up your skirt, take contraception, and have unprotected sex without fear of getting pregnant, but will they respect you? We’ve gained the rights to our bodies back, not so we can abuse the power, but to show men that we can look after ourselves just fine, thank you very much. We don’t need a man to tell us we can get pregnant at this time, or whether we can show off our totally toned legs, or even if we can sleep with a complete stranger. These are our bodies and we will do with them as we please, but the point is amiss if we treat ourselves with less respect than men did when they were calling the shots.

We go out in the shortest shorts humanly possible, leaving little to the imagination, and wonder why guys treat us like a piece of meat. If a female won’t act like a lady, why should a man act like a gentleman? Chivalry might be dead, but we’re the ones that killed it, ladies.

I come from a generation that has never seen a gentleman in action, so when a man holds the door for me, or allows me to pass first, I figure he’s flirting with me. But he is literally just being nice. No strings attached. He understands his role as a gentleman, and my role as a lady. However, do I really understand my role as a lady? Do I know what I’m doing when I’m out there making out with a complete stranger, or grinding on some guy in the club? I don’t think I do. I figure I’m just having fun, I’ll forget all about this in the morning. No harm no foul. But what’s the guy thinking? Does he think he can bring me home to momma? Does he think I really do respect myself, but I was just having a hard week at work and just needed some release? Nope. He’s thinking, ‘I got this in the bag.’ Because that is what I am giving him to work with. He doesn’t know I have a great job, and that I’m educated, witty, and can actually hold an intellectual conversation because it’s cooler to twerk than talk about how the Civil War shaped America (thanks a lot, Miley).

Ladies we can have it all, and we need to start with the correct ownership of our bodies, and our own free will. I say correct ownership, because for the past few decades, Free Love and freedom of expression has been tainted with crop tops, twerking and late night alcohol induced mistakes.  We’ve lost sight of what this movement was supposed to mean for us. These women fought so hard not so we can rub our booties on some hot guy in the club, but to show men we are more than capable of making intelligent decisions when it comes to love and sex.

There are still men out there that still hold true to the noble values of respect and courtesy. However, there are a number of men that, in their reaction to our behavior, threw those values and morals out the window. As women, we need to take some responsibility for this shift. Women need to understand that men are simply reacting to what we deprive ourselves of. We forget to respect ourselves above anything else. So many of our problems would be solved if we could find a way to make respect a mainstream idea, instead of twerking.

So ladies, as much as I would like to put all the blame on men for dropping the ball on chivalry, we’ve got to take some of the heat. The evidence is apparent everywhere we go. We need to show men that we do, indeed, respect ourselves. Yes, we go out, we wear things that would make even Rihanna blush, but remember that without respect, you’re just being reckless. It’s not just about our wardrobe; it’s the way we carry ourselves. It’s the values and morals we expect ourselves to live up to, and to be in our lives you must live up to these standards as well.

Let’s revive the lady, and bring the gentleman back to life in the process.

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