Thursday, August 31, 2017

What We Lost When We Lost Chivalry

Another scene from everyday life in the People’s Republic of Brooklyn. While Faith Moore was playing with her son in a playground, a man tried to steal her diaper bag.

Here is what happened:

A couple weeks ago some guy tried to steal my diaper bag at the playground. I just happened to look up and there he was, nonchalantly walking out of the park with my bag on his shoulder. I was already running after him yelling, “Hey! That’s my bag!” before it occurred to me that perhaps I shouldn’t be threatening an unknown man who’s clearly a criminal. Especially while holding my son on my hip.

I didn’t think, though, and I confronted him and, actually, I got the bag back. But as I turned around and met the startled faces of the other moms and dads at the playground who’d watched the whole thing go down, it occurred to me that not a single man had come to my aid. There were plenty of dads at the playground that day. Some who even spoke to me afterward, wondering how I’d gotten the guy to give my bag back. But no one had seen a woman in peril and stepped in.

Because this is Brooklyn and because men have been trained not to defend women—this is a world occupied only be feminists—not one man stood up to defend a young mother, holding a toddler, running after a thug.

Moore reflects that, had she been thinking more clearly, she might not have been quite so brave. On the other hand, the scene took place in public, and the presence of multiple witnesses have always restrained those of a more criminal bent.

Upon reflection, she asks herself what we lost when we threw away chivalry. You recall—or perhaps you do not—that second wave feminism declared that courtship and chivalry had been invented to make women feel weak and to keep them off the battlefield. Thus, courtship was banned. Chivalrous gestures were interpreted as misogynist bigotry.

Moore reflects on the meaning of those gestures. She points to the simple fact that men are significantly stronger than women. It’s a fact. It’s reality.  In that context chivalrous gestures mean something. Her analysis is  on point:

But, the things is, those “little gestures” aren’t just to make us “feel special.” They’re to let us know we’re safe. They’re the things a man does to tell us that, even though he’s twice our size, and twice as strong (because biology made him that way), he won’t hurt us. He pulls out our chair, or pays for our meal, or opens the door for us, not because we don’t know how to pull out chairs, open doors, or pay for things, but because it shows us that he’ll be using his superior strength to care for us, not kill us. And that if someone comes along who seems like he does want to kill us (or steal our bag), he’ll use his superior strength to make sure that other guy takes a hike.

Because I know that, even though a woman and a man are equally capable of becoming, say, brain surgeons, they aren’t equally capable of punching some guy in the head. And I also know that, because men and women are different, the kind of interplay that comes from a man taking care of a woman by protecting her physically, and a woman taking care of a man by protecting him emotionally is desirable to both.

So, though it strikes fear into a mother’s heart to say it, when my son is grown, if he sees a man threatening a woman (no matter how frizzy her hair, and defiant her gaze) I hope he’ll come to her aid. And when he goes on those first, awkward dates he’ll know (because I taught him) to pull out that chair, open that door, and pick up the tab. And if any girl tells him he’s being offensive and insists on going dutch? Well, she’s just not the right girl for him.

Yes, indeed.


James said...

It still lives re: Houston.

Sam L. said...

Well!! This is UNACCEPTABLE!!11111!!!! To all feminists.

Jack Fisher said...

We know the feds paid $709,000 to study how glaciers are sexist, so this so-called "water" macro-aggression cannot be a surprise.

David Foster said...

C S Lewis argued both for the necessity of chivalry and for a broad interpretation of the term:

Jack Fisher said...

This isn't rocket science. If you're a man, act like one, as best as you cant. Be courteous, helpful and protect those who need protection. This includes dogs, and most cats. Make this a habit with all things and when the bell rings, you will instinctively answer it.

Anonymous said...

Why should I put my life on the line potentially for a diaper bag owned by a woman who took my place in professional school with lower test scores (in the name of diversity or whatever) and who probably would not give me the time of day if I said hello to her or would criticize me for holding a door for her.

A neighbor woman who has not returned a hello in 10 years was at the mailbox when I was getting my mail. An add flyer slipped out of her hand and fell on the ground. She looked at me (20 years older senior citizen) with the expectation that I pick it up for her without asking me politely or even speaking. I said, "you dropped something. You should not litter." She sniffed and turned away leaving the flyer, which I also left.

Modern women have no right for the expectation of help. Had the woman paid more attention to her diaper bag it would not have been stolen. Keep what you value with you especially in city parks.

Ares Olympus said...

The question is whether people were paying attention, and I'd assume they were, and some would have intervened if the thief acted threatening. So apparently people thought she was handling situation well on her own and didn't ask for help, and didn't look like she need help.

Someone trying to be an inconspicuous thief is usually not going to act violently. At most he might try to run away, and its not entirely clear what should be done when a thief tries to flee, since he may have a weapon if he was cornered.

There are lots of social experiments on public intervention, more on verbal or physical abuse, and they seem to consistently result in men and women intervening for a woman being abused in public, while the opposite is not true when a woman is abusing a man. Extreme Domestic Abuse In Public! (Social Experiment) Would you stop a woman from beating a man? Footage: Fox News

Jack Fisher said...

@Anonymous. If you're not up to the job, don't. Why spend so much time defending yourself?

"Modern women" is a strange and unconvincing dodge, obviously, because not every woman fits the description of the women you don't like and you're bitter about something (probably more than losing a place in every single professional school ever), and, there's something truly bizarre about a claim that a man's obligations are defined by the "right" or "wrong" kind of victim. Whether she accepts help is a different issue.

James said...

I will add a little to what Jack has just said. A man should do things because of "who he is" not because of the type of person who needs his behavior.

Jack Fisher said...

James, you said it better than I did.

MEO said...

It's because we have so many men like "Anonymous" that America is no longer a great country. I'm in my 60's. I hope America lasts out my lifetime, but I wouldn't bet on it.