Is Chivalry Dead?

Jessica Broverman, Editor

Kind gestures such as holding a door open and pulling out a chair can say a lot about a man. Whether or not he does it, how he does it, or if he even believes a woman needs a man to do these small things for her. It is not a matter of if men are capable of them, but if they are willing and if there is even a purpose to practice them anymore.

Chivalry is defined as, “behaving in an honorable or polite way especially toward women.” Most men who originally practiced chivalry were nobleman, knights, and horsemen. Though the tradition of expressing respect and honor towards women was presented by these men, it developed into a way to woo women in a respectful manner.

Our generation has been referred to as many things. We are called millennials, the technology age, and the hookup generation. The thought that chivalry still exists within this generation seems glim, but we can ask ourselves if we still perform acts of romanticism and for what purpose.

In a time when young ladies are now able to do almost everything by themselves, men are often referred to as being obsolete. Men used to be the bread winners and leader of a household. Women used to suck in their stomachs and have a smile plastered on their face while waiting for their husbands to come home for their dinner. Now, men either share in every responsibility that a woman has or the woman will simply take control all together. In a way it is empowering that women can run a household, take care of children, be the head of her household and still find time for yoga, but how has this changed the view on chivalry?

Roles have changed for the better, but it has confused men to some degree. On a first date, men would always pick up the check. For some women, if a man picks up the check or tries to split it with her, he is either considered cheap or unwilling to acknowledge her empowerment as an independent woman. So, how do we explain to men that every woman is different when it comes to her conquest in finding a gentleman? We just did.

I don’t believe that chivalry is dead. Is it in low supply? Absolutely. After centuries of the rule book always being the same, it wasn’t hard for men to know what to do in terms of being a gentlemen. The art of chivalry has changed whether anyone would like to believe that or not. It is all a matter of open mindedness, communication and respect. Chivalry is not about praising women and bringing men to their knees. It is a simple matter of respect. I doubt a woman would ask of you to throw your jacket over a puddle for her to walk over it like they did in medieval times, but I’m sure she would appreciate you holding the door open for her.

Though it wasn’t customary when chivalry was originated, women can practice this form of respect for men as well. There is nothing wrong with holding a door open for a man, women, or child. Chivalry is not dead, but has simply been forgotten. Though chivalry is still alive, we do still need to make an effort to practice it. Not just from men to women, but from one to another, regardless of gender.