In today’s ever-more-anarchic dating world, where no one knows the rules or the roles, young people are increasingly being abused.
Time magazine reports:
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 9.4% of teens in a recent survey reported being physically abused by a romantic partner in the past 12 months — that included being slapped, hit or intentionally injured.
Since the survey focuses on a relatively narrow time frame, I assume that the overall number is much higher.
To address the problem, Emily Esfahani Smith recommends that we should bring back chivalry, a code of gentlemanly conduct that requires men to perform actions that signify a willingness to protect the fairer sex.
Smith errs, however, when she calls on feminists to embrace chivalry. Feminism has been at war against customs like chivalry for decades now. Smith would do better to stop clinging to the feminist label.
Writing on Jezebel Katie Baker calls out Smith for not being a good feminist. She retorts that she is “down” with politeness but abhors chivalry because it is not best for feminism. She does not seem to care about what is good for women; her concern is her own cult.
Commenting on the concept of “benevolent sexism” Baker rejects the benefits it provides because it is inimical to her ideology.
In her words:
Nice try, but just because the study's authors concluded that "274 college women and 111 college men" like it when men are polite to women doesn't mean chivalry is good for the feminist movement.
Baker would do better to ask whether the feminist movement is good for women.
A married couple that lives as feminists would wish, sharing housework equally is 50% more likely to divorce.
When, as feminism would want, both spouses work and contribute more-or-less equally to the family treasury, the woman is twice as likely to suffer abuse.
Now, teenagers and college students who live in the gender-neutered world that feminism has produced report significant levels of relationship abuse.
For her part Smith argues that chivalry correlates with biological realities that feminism refuses to accept.
In her words:
Chivalry is grounded in a fundamental reality that defines the relationship between the sexes, she explains. Given that most men are physically stronger than most women, men can overpower women at any time to get what they want. Gentlemen developed symbolic practices to communicate to women that they would not inflict harm upon them and would even protect them against harm. The tacit assumption that men would risk their lives to protect women only underscores how valued women are—how elevated their status is—under the system of chivalry.
Baker responds by filling her column with tough talk and obscenities. She seems to believe that pretending to be tough is going to make her and her sisters invulnerable.
Chivalry functions as a deterrent to violence against women. If a woman is under her husband’s or her father’s protection a man who would think of abusing her knows that he will have to answer to them.
This has a greater deterrent force than the possibility that Katie Baker is going to curse him out.
The notion of protection deters violence against women.
If women are not being protected by their male relations, then the culture will have to fall back on laws criminalizing different types of violence against women.
You might imagine that the threat of police action is a stronger deterrent, but evidence of contemporary behavior suggests otherwise.
The law has its limits. Sometimes abuse is too subtle to register on the law’s radar. Sometimes the prosecution of insults and slights is too costly to worth the trouble. Sometimes women do not want to be subjected to the abuse that is involved in a criminal prosecution of a sex offender.
Compare the complexity of prosecution with the simplicity of the threat of her brothers exacting retribution.
In a culture that sees women as needing male protection, men are duty bound to right wrongs committed against women. They are obligated to defend the honor of their women.
Offenses may involve violent abuse but they can also involve a panoply of insults that are too trivial to prosecute but not too trivial to inflict pain.
When a male family member rights such a wrong, there is no due process, no public testimony and no defense attorneys.
Obviously, this it feels like rough justice, but defending a woman’s honor need not involve violence.
Baker is also offended that chivalry sees women as more “valuable” than men.
In her gender-neutered world, everyone is equally valuable. She explains:
It is awesome to value and protect others. We are down with that. But what makes a woman more "valuable" than a man? What, exactly, are we protecting?
Allow me to explain. Darwinian science has observed that a man has far more reproductive potential than a woman. Meaning: a man can father far more children than a woman can mother.
In terms of reproductive calculus, the loss of a woman is far more damaging to species survival than is the loss of a man.
Since science has established that women are more vulnerable and more valuable than men society has often asserted that they ought to receive greater protections.