If Chivalry is Dead...Are Women The Assassins?

Jennifer Brown Banks

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In the words of Joan Rivers: “Can we talk?”

Some time ago, I was watching game show host and best-selling author, Steve Harvey discussing some of the principles of his relationship book, “ACT LIKE A LADY THINK, LIKE A MAN.”

Where during the segment, there was a question from one of the audience members about the loss of chivalry in today’s times.

Harvey addressed it by proclaiming that:

one of the reasons that men are no longer chivalrous, (by and large) is that women no longer require it.”

Wow. What a wake up call for all of the women who were amid the audience. And sadly, it was true.

WHAT IS CHIVALRY?

Before we explore the dynamics of this polarizing topic, a definition of chivalry would enhance the discussion. Cambridge dictionary defines chivalry as: “very polite behavior, esp. such behavior shown by men toward women.”

Vocabulary.com defines it as “men behaving courteously toward women--holding the door for them, offering them their jackets when it is cold.“ It states further, “Many women consider chivalry a lost art. Nice work fellas.”

"YOU'VE COME A LONG WAY BABY!"

A popular cigarette commercial of former times reminds us of the strides and advancements achieved as women. There is no doubt about it: there is much to celebrate and applaud in terms of our collective gains historically. Things like women’s suffrage; the “Me Too Movement“; closing the wage gap; and the election of a female vice president for our country.

Still, I can’t help thinking sometimes that in our efforts to become progressive we are losing some of the advantages and niceties of being fabulously female. "For every gain there is a sacrifice."

Don’t get me wrong here. I consider myself as a “modern,” evolved chick--for the most part.

I make my own money; own my own property; possess my own opinions; and am even liberated enough to sometimes go braless. But, I don’t believe that men and women are supposed to be totally equal. At least not according to the Bible and divine design. A man is called to be the “stronger vessel.” And I am totally okay with that.

IS CHIVALRY DEAD TODAY?

I would say that it isn't. Chivalry isn't dead; it's just dormant.

HERE ARE A FEW COMPELLING REASONS WHY:

  • Because women (by and large) don’t require it (as Steve Harvey noted).
  • Because men are receiving “mixed messages.” Some women consider chivalry to be sexist and condescending. While others actually welcome it. An article at Ms. Magazine recently offered the following analysis.

“For women, the feeling of having a door opened, or having dinner paid for by a date gives pause—not because feminists don’t appreciate men’s affection, but because the concept of chivalry and chivalrous actions can imply lack of equality, or a classification of women as weak beings that must be doted on and protected. Women may think: “Is it sweet that he wants to walk on the street side of the sidewalk, or hold the door, or pay the check so I don’t have to?” Or is it all just stirring the pot, allowing women to be seen as ‘less capable’? “

  • Chivalry isn’t always valued and/or recognized. I’ve actually witnessed situations where men have held doors, given up their seats, etc. and the women who were on the receiving end did not respond in an appreciative manner (like saying something as simple as “thank you.”)

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WHY CHIVALRY MATTERS...

IF YOU’RE NOT BEING CHERISHED, YOU’RE BEING CHEATED!

So often we as women settle. We think that “knights” are found only in fairy tales, or we buy into the too-many-women-too-few-men ratio hype. Many of us don’t even hold guys to chivalrous standards any more, accepting what comes our way as a reflection of the changing times. In essence, we’re cheating ourselves.

Life is bittersweet. There are so many variables we can’t control: the loss of a loved one; illnesses; violent crimes; a son or daughter who chooses the wrong path; the boss from hell; and economic upheaval, to name a few.

The “choice” of a loving, chivalrous, giving mate helps to cushion the blows of life and weather its many storms. In my opinion, it makes us stronger. It nurtures the spirit and helps to fulfill our divine roles. As women, we are the backbones of society! We give life. We create homes. We raise families. We run offices. We support dreams. Why not be receptive to chivalry? We deserve to be protected, honored, cherished.

ARE WE THE ASSASSINS?

HERE ARE SOME WAYS WE CONTRIBUTE TO THE CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS:

NOT HOLDING MEN ACCOUNTABLE OR TO DECENT STANDARDS

For example, if a man picks us up 2 hours late for a date without calling to inform us of the delay. Or allowing words and behaviors that are demeaning or unkind. Or dating a habitual liar. In the words of Dr. Phil: “We teach people how to treat us by the things we accept.”

DUTCH DATING

Call me old-fashion here. But I have never believed in paying my own way on a date. I think that if a man asks a woman out on a date that it is a reasonable expectation for him to pick up the tab. I see it as part of the courting ritual. If a girl has to pay her own way, what’s the point? Though I do think relationships should be 50/50, in the beginning he should definitely take the lead.

PAYING FOR LOVE

Women should never put themselves in the position to take care of a man they're dating by paying his bills.

It sends the wrong message and cries desperation. The old expression that money “can’t buy love” holds merit. Still, week after week, I watch my favorite court room shows (People’s Court, Judge Mathis, America’s Court, etc.) and without fail, there are numerous women taking their former mates to court to try to reclaim their money and their dignity. In a recent episode, one lady was trying to recover 2500.00 she loaned to her former boyfriend to help him meet his child support obligation. Shortly after she extended her generosity, he began to “ghost” her. Dead beat dads are rarely chivalrous.

In conclusion

If chivalry is dead, it's up to women to resurrect it. To quote the Loreal commercial: "Because we're worth it."

Image credits: Pixabay.com

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Veteran freelance writer, award-winning blogger, thought leader, herbal tea enthusiast. My mission is to entertain, engage and inform readers with articles that are interesting, enriching and diverse.

Chicago, IL
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