Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Is Chivalry Dead?

Chivalry began as a warrior ethos. Eventually, it morphed into a system of rules for the way the stronger sex should treat the fairer sex. Being part of the code of the gentleman, chivalry was a way for men to show courtesy and respect for women.

Since chivalrous gestures assert that the male is stronger than the female, feminists have long had it in for chivalry. According to a study commissioned by the AXA insurance company, feminists have taught men not to open doors for women, not to help women carry heavy packages and not to hold chairs for women.

Better to be rude than to be subjected to feminist ire. Better to be rude systematically than to risk being attacked by a feminist.

The Daily Mail reports on the study:

It's official. Chivalry is dead.

These days men profess to being so worried about offending women and being accused of being patronising they are becoming reluctant to offer the so-called 'fairer sex' seats on public transport, to hold open doors and to help mothers carrying buggies up and down stairs.

Only one in seven men will offer their seat to a woman on a train or bus, and over a third say they never assist mothers struggling with heavy prams, according to research.

But, as the old question goes, what do women really, really want?

Apparently, the vast majority of women want men to treat them chivalrously.

The survey discovered:

Despite this, just one in 25 women say they feel embarrassed when a man demonstrates old-fashioned manners such as carrying heavy bags or pulling out chairs, and only seven per cent view chivalrous acts as patronising.

Evidently, those who yell the loudest have set the tone for relationships between men and women.

And yet, feminists insist that men should respect women. No one will argue with that. But, what should a man do to show respect for a woman? Express his feelings openly and honestly? Vote for Hillary Clinton? Support Sandra Fluke’s right to free contraception?

Not to be excessively glib, but codes of behavior are one of the better ways to show respect. Obviously, chivalric codes involve gender identity: they are a way for men to show respect for women, but also to show that they want to protect and provide for women.

In many cases today’s independent woman finds this notion repugnant. But, what is the alternative? In the absence of a code of gentlemanly behavior men have learned how to disrespect women. No longer wanting to be gentlemen, they become scoundrels.

Perhaps that is not the message that feminists wanted to convey, but that is the message that has been received.

Apparently, the assault on chivalry derives from the workplace, where men were told that chivalrous gestures demeaned women and compromised their careers. One may argue the point, and Donna Dawson does it well, that women never meant to kill off chivalry outside of the workplace:

Psychologist and relationship expert Donna Dawson said: 'There seems to be a "disconnect" between what women appreciate in terms of little chivalric gestures from men, and how men think women want to be treated.

'This report makes it clear that it is still little things that mean a lot to many women but men seem confused by the modern "women want to be treated as equal to men" message.

'This message was primarily meant for the workplace and was never meant to replace good manners.'

'Men will always be the stronger sex, physically, and so it is only natural for men to want to show consideration for women when it comes to dealing with doors, heavy luggage or by offering a seat on public transport.

'So if men are worried about the response they will get, women should respond to any little chivalric gesture that means a lot to them with obvious appreciation, so that men will feel encouraged to repeat such actions to more women in the future.'

This works until you make the wrong chivalrous gesture to the wrong woman. Treating a woman one way when she is at work and another way when she is at a cocktail party sounds like an easy compromise. And yet, if the women at the cocktail party is a colleague, or if she has an important career, is it appropriate to hold her coat or to open a door for her?

Some of the time women want to be treated like one of the guys. Some of the time they don’t. Obviously men are confused. The best course is simply to act chivalrously. If anyone takes offense say that you are too old to know any better.


Anonymous said...

Answer: YES. And I think the vast majority of women suffer as a result. Our society has become much less genteel, leaving women more vulnerable. It doesn't help brutish men become more civilized, either. "Equality" is not a free lunch.

As I've shared many times in these comments, nothing is going to change until mainstream women get pissed off, take their grievances to these lunatic feminists, and socially ostracize/isolate them (read: shun). Men are perceived as brutes when they shout down or intellectually destroy a woman. It's viewed as bad form, regardless of the merit or substance of the argument.

Change in this regard, whether about chivalry, sexual restraint, etc. is going to have to come from women themselves. A bunch of "normal" women are going to have to take a feminist out n the theater of debate on social norms, and the video is going to have to go viral to silence the crazed feminist perspective. It'll have to be a "Have you no sense of decency, madam?" moment (a la, at the McCarthyist HUAC hearings).


Suncraig said...

"Chivalry was a system, and one that made demands on women every bit as much as on men."

Glenn Reynolds

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Not quite... all definitions that I've seen describe chivalry as a warrior ethos. See this from Wikipedia:

Regardless of the diverse written definitions of chivalry, the medieval knightly class was adept at the art of war, trained in fighting in armor, with horses, lances, swords and shields. Knights were taught to excel in the arms, to show courage, to be gallant and loyal and to swear off cowardice and baseness.[8]

Related to chivalry was the practice of heraldry and its elaborate rules of displaying coats of arms. When not fighting, chivalric knights typically resided in a castle or fortified house, while some knights lived in the courts of kings, dukes and other great lords. The skills of the knight carried over to peacetime activities such as the hunt and tournament.

And this:

From the 12th century onward chivalry came to be understood as a moral, religious and social code of knightly conduct. The particulars of the code varied, but codes would emphasize the virtues of courage, honor, and service. Chivalry also came to refer to an idealization of the life and manners of the knight at home in his castle and with his court.

There is some confusion when chivalry is mixed in with courtly love... the latter developed as a seduction ritual that took place between a Lady and a troubadour. the latter was originally a younger member of a servant class, someone who occupied a Lady's attentions and affections while her knight was off fighting the crusades.

Originally, courtly love was an adulterous practice.

Later, the custom became extended... even to the practice of premarital courtship.

Anonymous said...

It may have been here at your site,Stuart.

One poster noted that...
"...while modern women may strive to become men, they cannot become gentlemen."


Sam L. said...

Anon, it's true, they have no sense of decency.