What’s The Deal With Chivalry? [Friday Faves]

Here at CollegeCandy, we’ve wondered where chivalry has gone – and I’d like to know where the little sucker slipped of to, too. But what I want to talk about now is, if chivalry is gone, do we really want it back? And should we expect it?

No matter how you slice it, chivalry always smacks of gender inequality. And yeah, it’s a lot harder to complain about inequality when you’re the one benefiting from it, but shouldn’t we still stand up against it? Are we hypocrites if we don’t? Add to that the fact that most of the little things we ascribe to the idea of chivalry (flowers, love tokens, professions of undying love) are all essentially just methods of winning over or even buying our affections. Isn’t that something that we in the post-feminist era should rebel against on principal?

We’ve fought for years to say that we’re just as good as men, that we shouldn’t be treated differently – and now, like it or not, this lack of chivalry is basically just guys treating us exactly like they treat each other. Hello, feminist victory here!

But at the end of the day, say what you like about feminism, we aren’t all the same. Genders are different, not better or worse, but different and we will always, in some ways, want and need to be treated differently. Beyond that even, when you really break it down, chivalry is a respect thing – it’s good when a guy will respect you enough to at least offer to pick up the tab at dinner or hold out a chair for you. I mean, ultimately, chivalry is as much manners as anything else, and what’s wrong with expecting a guys to have manners?! There’s nothing inequitable or anti-female about wanting and expecting a certain level of manners and courtesy!

OK, on one side, I’m a Southern girl and I was brought up with a definite emphasis on manners so chivalry has always been up there on my list of things a good guy should have. But, at the same time, I’m also a modern girl and I really don’t care who opens the door – if you get there first, open it – no big, right? Are these contradictory ideas? Can we really have our cake and eat it too?

What do you think ladies? Does the idea of chivalry just hold us back? Or are we taking the whole gender equality thing too far when we can’t even be treated special?

Duke it out!

This post was originally written by Lauren H — The New School

[Lead image via Smart-foto/Shutterstock]

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  1. Andy says:

    Great article men and women are not the same we are different, and our differences are what makes us great especially when we come together. Listen I want to be treated equal and get paid the same as a man but also I am so tired of seeing men treat women i know like crap all the time. I want a man to open the door for me, I want a guy to buy me a drink at least, and I would like a guy to use my name instead of thinking its cool to refer to me as bitch. This is all just basic manners and respect which everyone deserves. I mean nursery school children know to say please and thank you, so why is it so hard? Ladies we need to not let the men off the hook because they won't change unless we challenge them to, and yes we can still be strong independent women who have their respect .

  2. djnemec says:

    A agree that respect is a better reason for chivalry than some notion that women "need my chivalry". I try to excuse myself by thinking "if I were gay, I'd be holding the door for men," but in practice I'm still not sure if that makes things better or worse.

    Still, whenever possible I try to practice chivalry just because it's a nice thing to do. I'd be a little annoyed if someone started expecting me to open the door for them (eg. if they reach the door first and wait for me to open it), but I have no problems with holding the door for others.

  3. Shortcut says:

    In your first sentence you put “of to” instead of “off to”. I didn’t even read the rest of the article.

  4. Kar says:

    I personally don't care about chivalry. I don't see anything wrong with enjoying it if that's your thing. But it's not for me. I think it's a weird outdated concept that stems from an era of gender inequality. I associate chivalry with men calling me "doll" and saying things like "don't worry your pretty little head." Not to mention they reinforce traditional gender roles, which frankly isn't good for the progression of women's rights. There is a difference between treating your partner with respect, and ascribing to ideals of chivalry.
    I'm not going to launch into a tirade against a guy if he pulls out a chair for me, but I'll be a little weirded out because I just find it so unnecessary and mystifying. It would be like someone else putting the toothpaste on my toothbrush every evening. Thanks.. I guess?
    Ultimately, to each their own. But for me I don't want to be treated "like a lady" because I don't see myself as a lady. I'm just another human being.

  5. Danielle says:

    My biggest issue is not that men aren't chivalrous anymore. It's that they've moved from chivalry right to seeing women as sex objects. At least with chivalry, men actually cared (most of the time) about the women they were dating. It's hard to find that now.

  6. Tess says:

    Chivalry and gender equality aren't the same thing in my book. Chivalry is about having manners towards women and a woman should be lady like. At least, in my upbringing this is what I've seen, known, and now expect. Not everyone believes this way, that's fine. In open public I think it is for the best but when you have a personal relationship, that's your business. To each his/her own. And for the record, I sometimes think feminist movements and groups don't play to our strengths anymore.

  7. "Can we really have our cake and eat it too?"

    Sure, as long as you are okay with other old time gender-role traditions. If you're okay with chivalry and men spending thousands of dollars on engagement rings, then you should also be A-OK with things such as women taking the man's last name (no questions asked) in marriage, the women being expected to be the one to care for domestic chores (while the man is expected to provide income – even though they both may need to help the other), etc.

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