We’ve all heard the infamous saying, “chivalry is dead.” Men might hear it when their significant other is dissatisfied with their behavior, and women may say it whenever they witness a male being brusque and primitive. The definition of chivalry, though, is far more historical and a bit more primitive than we believe. Google defines it as “the medieval knightly system with its religious, moral, and social code” or even “the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, especially courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak.”
Looking at it from this view, chivalry has been long deceased—unless we’re still living in the medieval ages. This, though, is not what people mean when they say that chivalry is dead. Looking at the Urban Dictionary doesn’t quite help either, as the posts are mainly bitter men who seem to have something against women.
To make a long story short, chivalry—in modern terms—is the notion that men are supposed to be courteous and honorable and unwaveringly dedicated to women. This includes opening doors, pulling out seats, throwing jackets over puddles . . . and the like. It’s true that we don’t live in a generation like this anymore. I argue that we don’t need to live in a generation like this. Back then, while men were being chivalrous, they were also being condescending and misogynistic.
This world is still condescending and misogynistic to women.
In today’s times, though, women are fighting back and persevering against this male-run society—and they’re exceeding. Although Hillary Clinton didn’t win the national election, she was the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. Even in the days of chivalry, men were sure to let women know that their place was not in any position of power. Her nomination was historical, ground-breaking, and proof that women do not need to hide behind and depend on men any longer.
Even historically, women have fought past the gender—and even racial—boundaries that are placed upon them by birth. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson were only three African-American women who were apart of NASA’s team of “human computers.” Without this group, made up by a majority of women, there’d be no way for people like Neil Armstrong to travel safely through space. As seen in the movie, men of both races doubted that women could be too much of a help in those type of matters—but, as always, those women persevered.
The moral of this story is that chivalry never directly helped any of these women become the great people that they are and were. In my opinion, chivalry reinforced the view that women needed a man to take care of them, which is simply not true. There were those who directly benefited and relied off of chivalrous men, but there were also those who broke past the custom norms of yesteryear and past the partitions that held them back. Now that chivalry is “dead,” women don’t need to rely on men treating them like queens, because they can treat themselves that way.
It’s perfectly fine to be reverential and chivalrous.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with simply being a good, gracious person. Women, just don’t try to force that out of men—because you can and will flourish, regardless of how they treat you.