Chivalry is Dead

Hey ShoutOut readers. It’s the last post of the semester and I find myself looking back on my previous posts. It’s a bit difficult to figure out what to write about now but I shall endeavor to keep you interested.

Today, I want to talk about chivalry.

I am guilty of wanting men to be more chivalrous but a story my friend told me made me rethink my position. Chivalry is nice but in actuality, it’s just the idea of good manners. Some women want men to open the door for them but I think it’s nice when anyone holds the door for you. If someone pays for you, then it’s a kindness that you appreciate. Then there is the whole idea of men carrying the heavier things so that women don’t have to.

In my opinion, chivalry puts women at the same level as children. Women need to be shown care and men need to make sure they’re safe. It does not seem fair. Women also take care of men. I’m sure some of you have heard of the idea that men are just big children and their wives take care of them. On the other hand, having a guy take something out of my hands because “I can’t handle it” is rude and insulting to me. I’ve had friends laugh at me when I insist I can carry my own boxes because of my lesser strength. It’s a matter of pride for me. It’s nice to be helped but it’s one thing to be helped because they can see you’re struggling and want to help. It’s another when they think of you as incapable.

It’s not just men though. Women think the same. My mother, when we were moving, wanted to ask my ex-boyfriend to come help because “he’s strong.” Whenever my roommate and I carried in groceries, we moaned about needing a guy to help. It’s just something that we all think at some point because of the culture we live in. It’s also not just women that are put in the same level as children. My roommate carries around a cane because of joint pain and she said people open the door more often for her now. I’m not sure what to think of this because it’s not her arm that is in pain, but her leg. Did people find her more in need of help because they saw her as handicapped? I cannot really say because I don’t know people’s thoughts.

I’m also not saying that everyone thinks this way. Men open the doors for certain women because they care about them. We, as students at JMU, often open the door for someone behind us because it is the nice thing to do. Chivalry has different meanings behind it now. However, it is important to remember the background behind it. At present, chivalry is indeed dead. We need to think of a better way to categorize it now. Perhaps we should get rid of the word “chivalry” and use “consideration” instead.

And now I come to the end of my post. Thanks for reading and have a great summer!

6 thoughts on “Chivalry is Dead

  1. I open doors for men, help them carry loads, etc., and always tell them “It’s Women’s Lib Day”. It often makes them smile, and is a reminder that our goals are legitimate.

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  2. In Marilyn Frye’s piece “Oppression” she highlights the “door opening ritual” as a sort of golden bar of the birdcage of oppression… people think of it uncritically as a nice thing to do with out any realization of what the ritual implicates. But, like you say, it’s actually calling women uncapable of even opening doors from themselves. And it’s a “helpful” gesture, but a false, empty one. Men can open the door, but not do chores at home or vote pro-choice or help with childrearing, you know?

    I really like that this post points that out — there’s hypocrisy in the gesture, and even if it’s “nice” isn’t it still reinforcing sexist stereotypes about women? I definitely think so.

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  3. This is why I hold doors open for everyone, as long as they’re close enough when I open it. Not because they’re weak or need help, but because I like to be nice to others. Holding a door is just a courtesy, as far as I’m concerned. I do it for everyone.

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  4. Great post! You’ve really hit the nail on the head for why so-called chivalry bothers me. When I try to explain it so many men say ‘So you’d rather I slammed the door in your face’, clearly missing the point. If I’m shortly behind a man entering a building, I do appreciate it if he holds the door for me. I only object when it’s clearly an act performed because he’s a man and I’m a woman; otherwise I give the benefit of the doubt and thank him or make a joke about how I *can* open doors, so that if he was being ‘chivalrous’ he realises it’s wrong, if not he can laugh with me.

    There’s a world of difference between the man that saw me struggling on the train and lifted my suitcase into the overhead rack and the one who rushed ahead of me to open the door for me, when I could have easily opened it and held it for him. The former was being polite, the latter, while he might have intended it to be polite, was in fact being rude.

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  5. It is this type of thinking by woman “I’m insulted if a man tries to help me carry something because my pride is hurt as I think that he thinks I am incapable” and woman’s liberation fight that has killed chivalry. Chivalry was about honor, values, kindness, and service to others. If a man offers to help you lift something heavy I highly doubt to insult you is one of the primary reasons he’s doing it. I just think women who fight so hard to be equal dont get it MEN and WOMEN are NOT EQUAL. It is proven by the way we are designed, we were made to different things. I am by no means a sexist male, I love the woman In my life, my wife is my queen and I adore every aspect of her, and I would lift a million pounds for her for the rest of my life if it meant she would have a better life, but my wife and I are different, we have different strengths and weaknesses and I’d like to think we can compliment each other for the greater good of the family. There is plenty for women to be proud of that men can’t do, childbirth for example, you deserve to have all your heavy items carried for you for the rat of your life all the time just because you go through that lol. I hope I made a point sort of, chivalry is a good thing and I wish it wasn’t dead because our women need to be treated good, and they need to be taken care of well, but it doesn’t mean your a child or incapable it’s just I can take care of you in certain ways and you in turn can take care of me in other ways and a two different people with different designs, strengths and weaknesses we can take of each other, that’s the way it was meant to be, that is if you believe in the union of woman and man.

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