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That tyrant ruled too long. Gen-Y, women and feminism are the primary suspects to blame for its death.
Maybe that is true, but is "blame" really the word to use? More importantly, is "chivalry" really the word to use?
"Chivalrous men" will open doors for ladies, stand when they enter a room, pull their chairs out for them, give them their jackets, drop them off at the door, hold their purses and so on.
Essentially, they eliminate all strenuous and menial activities a lady would might need to do throughout her day.
How kind. How thoughtful.
"Chivalrous men" also protect women from any harm they may be exposed to, whether it be physical violence, verbal threats or social humiliation.
That sounds great, so it's not surprising that most women would like to find one of those "chivalrous men" right away.
I did some research (it only took me 17 seconds) to understand the seemingly tragic death of this thing we call chivalry.
What I found was that we have romanticized the term, "chivalry," and twisted it to embody the ideal male behavior.
The actual definition of the word is this: "The medieval knightly system with its religious, moral and social code."
Or if you prefer:
"The combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, especially courage, honor, courtesy, justice and a readiness to help the weak."
That all sounds horribly ancient, antiquated and outdated, right?
Ironically, so are the expectations we have assigned to a quality that women are "holding out for" in a man.
Let's break this down and understand what's wrong with the way we — as a society and culture — use the word chivalry in the first place, before mourning its death:
We are not only expecting "knightly" qualities out of men, we are expecting ideal knightly qualities.
Talk about pressure.
Throughout history, there have probably only been a select few men who have even come close to living up to this code.
Those men likely include King Arthur, whose life was shrouded in myth and legend and may not have even been a real person, and Richard the Lionheart, who only married his wife in order to gain her homeland as a fief in his kingdom, so … strike one.
The point being, even in its original context, this concept was seen as rare and unattainable for common men.
We have standardized cultural expectations of morality.
Chivalry, in it's original context, is a code of religious, moral and social behaviors adopted by a willing group of elite individuals.
It was intended to be a choice, a way of life for those who were selected to be held to a higher moral standard.
These uncommonly righteous behaviors cannot be forced on the unwilling, and those who have not subscribed to this set of expectations cannot be penalized.
Cultural norms vary. Behaviors are received and judged differently based on cultural values. "Chivalry" is not a human, universal term.
However, our society and culture has developed a standard against which we are measuring male behavior, and no one really knows why or where it came from.
Women readily identify themselves as weak.
If women are looking for someone to open their pickle jars, lift the heavy boxes and protect them from all the aforementioned forms of harm, they're identifying themselves as those the chivalrous men have a readiness to help.
Yes, it can be argued that opening doors is courteous or honorable, which falls under the other traits mentioned, but then wouldn't they be looking for a courteous or honorable man?
Chivalry carries a much heavier weight and is more complex than just those individual traits.
Blame is being misplaced.
Yes, chivalry is dead. But who said that was a bad thing?
The ambiguous, archaic symbol of medieval knighthood was finally put out of its misery after centuries of being misunderstood and abused.
Sounds like an act of mercy.
We must not blame men for not being chivalrous — very few men ever were. And, we must not blame women for wondering why there aren't any good men out there.
We certainly must not blame feminist movements because, personally, I'd rather open my own door and have the right to vote than be pampered as sh*t and not have my opinions taken seriously.
Asking to have it both ways is unfair, ladies.
There is still someone to blame though, not for murdering chivalry, but for continuing to believe and expect that if men are not instinctively courageous, courteous and honorable, there's something wrong with them and they "don't know how to treat a woman"
We need to blame ourselves, the people, movies and culture for constantly trying to tell people how to show affection.
Now that it's out of the way, cleared from our minds and deleted from our vocabulary when it comes to dating, it can be replaced with something much more simple: respect.
Not only for each other, but also for ourselves.
Humans in general are real pieces of work. You would be hard-pressed to meet anyone with upstanding moral character in a bar.
It's about time we stop projecting our moral expectations onto others, then judging them for not obliging.