A Defense of Chivalry

7 Feb

Have you noticed that more guys are opening doors for women these days? I honestly cannot seem to walk into a building by myself.

Not that I’m complaining, because goodness knows I love the attention. But can chivalry be too much? Is there a point when chivalry challenges the idea of female independence, you know, with it being all about the man doing things for the woman?

There must be a line that separates simple human respect and a complete lack of female ability. What I mean to say is, at what point is a man so chivalrous, so willing to do it all, that it seems as if he is overriding a women’s ability to do things for herself.

It’s funny, because it used to be that women rarely walked anywhere in public by themselves. They needed to have an escort. Feminism has changed that by emphasizing women’s independence, yet chivalry is thought of in terms like damsel and knighthood. I think woman have long since proven they can be their own knights in shining armor, but what does that mean for chivalry?

There are actually dating sites now that teach men how to be chivalrous without threatening a woman’s independence. This site actually has feminist views on issues and finds a compromise at the end. For example a man reaches for his wallet to pay for the first date, but his date wants to pay for herself. Acocrding to Askmen.com, the man should pay. In fact, he should just be ready to pay for the first couple of meals/dates until a relationship is established. A woman may offer at times, if she so chooses.

I don’t see anything wrong with this social custom. As females, we shouldn’t be threatened by chivalry, we should be using it to our best advantage. If a so-called line is crossed, then individual situations will be tested. But what about taking chivalry (and the advantage it offers) in a different direction? Can a feminist honestly believe it’s OK for a woman to walk down a street late at night by herself, maybe even in a big city? There is a reason for old customs, such as walking a lady to her door after a date. It’s not just about male ego, it’s about safety. We all wish it wasn’t necessary to be so careful, but facing facts, women can be viewed as the “prey” so to speak. It’s not the “weaker sex”, more like a “gender challenge” that exists simply because of birth, not strength.

Chivalry could never die, but women will always have the right to refuse it. The generalization that chivalry encourages a male ego is only relevant to a society that has made it so. Can we change that opinion? How about 2.0 Chivalry, where the necessity of chivalry is used and the offense of it thrown out. I think with a few safe walks here and couple of free first dates there, this generation can surely learn to appreciate all the benefits of chivalry.

This post is brought to you by Kendra .


5 Responses to “A Defense of Chivalry”

  1. Maureen February 7, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    I’ve been with my partner for 7 years, married for 5 and he still holds open every door, even the car door. Of course there are times where I can do it myself, but I consider it more a sign of respect then helping my oh so helpless self.

    And he pays for all of our date nights. Granted, we share a checking account so it doesn’t matter who pays but I just don’t reach for my wallet in time.

    I think that sometimes, even strong willed, independent women need to welcome a mans chivalrous tendencies. I really believe it’s about respect and not ‘taking care of’ a woman.

  2. catch May 11, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    TRUE feminists reject chivalry because unequal treatment based on gender is what feminism opposes. What is compatible with feminism is to treat women with no more or less courtesy than men are given.

    However, since most women do not identify as feminists chivalry is still acceptable in polite society.


  1. Final thoughts on chivalry vs. feminism « mislabeled - February 7, 2011

    […] is in that spirit that we were thrilled to post Kendra’s thoughts on chivalry. I speak from personal experience when I say that Kendra is a strong and smart woman. I […]

  2. Despite my vagina, I can pay for myself « mislabeled - February 7, 2011

    […] Feb I’ve said it before, but I’ll preface my reaction to Kendra’s chivalry post with this: I’m a feminist. I have no problem at all with respect and kind gestures towards other […]

  3. Final thougths on feminism vs. chivalry « mislabeled - February 7, 2011

    […] is in that spirit that we were thrilled to post Kendra’s thoughts on chivalry. I speak from personal experience when I say that Kendra is a strong and smart woman. I […]

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