It began because in the past a good solid door was made of hardwood which was both big and heavy. So when a man opened a door for a woman it was a very practical thing, not an act of chivalry. Over time doors have become much lighter and now it is simple courtesy and only mildly practical.
When I was growing up women had a reputation as bad drivers, today that reputation is nowhere as bad. One thing that has changed in cars is that today cars have power steering. Back then they did not and the only way to steer a car was by using your arm muscles. I had the experience of driving an older car without power steering for a few months and without any other exercise but driving I built up my arm muscles. That’s how much effort was required.
I mention these things because we often forget that technology has changed the relationship between the sexes. Men were once, not that long ago, needed because they were bigger and stronger. The world was not designed to be easy like it is today. Men were tougher and more masculine because that was required by society, even simple things like driving a car built muscles.
These changes in technology have had an enormous effect upon the sexes. Things that once defined each sex, that gave each unique powers and tasks have now been reduced so that we still mentally want these things but we no longer need them, strictly speaking. By that I mean that we still want these things because we need them, but we can now pretend that we do not. One of these things is men as the provider.
We are constantly told that a woman doesn’t need a man, that she can and should be independent, that she should never be in a position whereby she is dependent upon a man. Which leaves us with a problem and that problem is human nature. Humans, like other creatures with sex, have different roles for each sex to fulfil. The division of labour by sex is the base upon which both nature and society is built. One of those divisions is that men are the provider, not absolutely of course, but still overwhelmingly. One of the roles of men is to be the one who interacts with the world, one of the roles of women is to interact with other people, particularly women and children, to be the nurturer.
To put it another way men went out and earned resources, either goods or money, to provide for his family. The role of women was to use those resources to look after him, herself, their children and anyone else important to them. He made the money, she spent the money. The division of labour was clear, each had a role and each role was vital. Each role was distinct so that they did not waste time or resources doing the same thing or in competition with each other.
A story I have heard over many decades is how women earn their own money and end up in debt. Right next to that story is the man who earns and saves, but who leads a very frugal life. If that man and that women were together then they would be living very different and I suspect much happier lives. But instead we have these two distinct stories, but why should they be so different?
Because they are, without realising it, living out their role, the one nature set out for them. That he should be the provider and that she should be the nurturer. But each is doing it wrong, he isn’t supposed to be just looking after himself. She still needs to nurture but instead of doing it for her man and her children, she does it for herself, or her ‘fur babies’ or for society at large. None of which leaves her happy as it is like scratching an insatiable itch. What she is doing is not natural, it is an imitation of what nature desires.
The sad reality of independence is that it is a lie, something entirely unnatural. Men and women are supposed to be dependent upon each other, we are supposed to need and to desire each other. Independence means loneliness and loneliness is never winning.