Chivalry is dead, and feminism has killed it, stabbed it, thrown it in the trash and flushed it down the toilet.
I am a woman pleading guilty to the murder of chivalry. The sentence: a life of independence, being treated as an equal, and straying away from the stereotype that women should be proper and “girly.”
So I guess with that sentence, I’m happy I killed chivalry. I didn’t mean to kill it, and neither did all the other feminists in the world.
Jennifer Harper wrote in her article “Poll: women today treated with less chivalry” in The Washington Times, “Eight out of 10 Americans, in fact, say, ‘women today are treated with less chivalry than in the past.’ Two-thirds say women are ‘discriminated against’ when it comes to supervisory or executive jobs, while an equal number agree that the U.S. has ‘a long way to go’ to reach gender equality.”
By the pure and simple acts of wanting to hold a career, striving to play at the same level in sports and burping in public, women throughout the centuries who follow the ideals of feminism have slowly, but surely killed chivalry.
Those might be extreme examples, but the idea is that feminism, and the women (such as myself) who buy into it, are suffocating chivalry to death and wondering why its heart has stopped beating.
According to dictionary.com, feminism is “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.”
According to that same website, chivalry is “the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor and dexterity in arms.”
This concept of chivalry goes way back to the 14th century, and that code of chivalry seems pretty great, right?
But the way we see it today, chivalry has morphed into various acts of a male being kind to a lady such as opening a door, giving a girl a rose, or maybe even requesting a father’s permission to ask his daughter on a date.
And while all these acts of modern chivalry are quite fantastic and romantic, it really comes at a cost. For women to exclusively receive this chivalrous treatment, it requires the women to act in a certain way and to take on their traditional female role. But with the rise of feminism, many women don’t want to do that anymore.
For example, I want to be a doctor. I want to hold a job that men have traditionally dominated, and by doing so, I plan on being the “bread winner” of my future family. I am taking on this sort of “male role” by wanting this career. I want to be equal to men.
And so as time passes, women are taking similar actions and straying further away from the constraints we were once held in place by.
We don’t have to let men make all the money. We can ask men on a date. We don’t have to let men hold the door open for us. But in doing so, the equality we seek with men is creating this double standard that is unfair to them.
We are changing our roles as women and are straying away from the traditional female role, but we still expect men to follow theirs? That’s not equality. That’s hypocrisy.
How can we, as women, fight for equality in the workplace, in our paychecks, on the sports fields, in the military, and elsewhere but still want to be treated like pretty princesses when it comes to the little things?
“After interviewing 277 students,” Joseph Heschmeyer wrote in his article “Radical Feminism Waging the Real War on Women” in the The Washington Times, “researchers found that no one, whether a single man or a single woman, preferred for the woman in a relationship to propose marriage.”
True equality to men, as feminism claims to seek, means that we should be treated the same as men, but that takes action on the women’s part as well.
“At their best, chivalrous norms are about politeness and respect,” said sociology professor Adina Nack who helped organize an event called “Chivalry and Chauvinism” as an undergrad at UC Irvine in the 90s “I think politeness and respect, in a social context, should not be predicated on whether you’re a man or a woman, a girl or a boy. If there’s romantic interest, then whoever initiates the date asks the other person out should probably be willing to pay for the date.”
So that means: No excuses. No exceptions. No “special rules.”
Yes, feminism is killing chivalry, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be revived. A little chivalry CPR can resuscitate a new code where men and women act in generosity, hold doors open for each other, and live with valor.
Chivalry doesn’t have to be one-sided. If women want true equality, then that means action from both genders.
Published February 10th, 2016