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Is chivalry dead?


© Maksim Bukovski

It seems so, yes. If you are a 21st century woman, you might have problems finding chivalrous men that you know from your father’s or grandfather’s generation. Are men changing in the past decades? Or is it women’s perspective on men that is changing because women have become more confident?

Before we go further, let us take a closer look on the definition of chivalry. According to the Oxford dictionary, chivalry means a combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, especially courage, honour, courtesy, justice and the readiness to help the weak.

Men and chivalry

Chivalry is always associated with men because a long time ago, only men became knights. Women stayed at home and took care of the household. When they needed help, let’s say because some mean robbers came, the knights in shining armour would come and save them. We do not see this kind of scenario anymore these days. Of course, a man is supposed to help a woman who is being attacked, but nowadays being a knight is not a career choice, unlike wanting to be a journalist or a lawyer. Being a knight is not a job anymore but a character. In other words, it’s all about being chivalrous.


Copyright: David Baltzer

How does it look like in everyday life in a modern society? For many people, chivalry is mainly courteous behaviour towards women, or you might say towards “the weak.” For example, opening the door for women, giving your seat to women and being respectful towards women. Although these manners cannot be seen very often, they are not totally extinct. But I would argue that men should be more chivalrous these days simply because that is the right thing to do.

We have to consider one thing, though. Women have become very powerful in the last few decades. Oftentimes, women earn more money than men or are more educated than men. So these days men might feel intimidated by women who have the same or a higher position than them. On the other hand, do women still want men to be gentlemen and open the door for them? Yes. I would argue that men who are confident would have no problem with that. And opening the door for a woman is not helping the weak, it is courtesy.

Chivalrous women

Let us now look at confident 21st century women. In a modern society, these are mainly women who have enjoyed good education and are able to support themselves and even their families. That is basically everything which was only possible for men a long time ago. If it is so, women can be chivalrous as well.

If we take a closer look on the definition of chivalry, being courageous, honourable, just and ready to help the weak are not only appropriate for men. These are basically good character traits that every human being could cultivate. So women can have those qualities as well. Consider how much a woman as a person can reach with those qualities! But I would say a woman should not open the door for a man. It just does not look right, and no healthy man would ever demand that from a woman.

A long time ago there were only male knights. Now women have achieved many things just like men. Shall we not be chivalrous as well? Not because we want to compete with men or because we are better then men. We could just do it because it is the right thing to do.

Author: Marjory Linardy

Editor: Manasi Gopalakrishnan


27.10.2014 | 14:43