WANTED: CHIVALRY, DEAD OR ALIVE

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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. Only one in seven men will offer their seat to a woman on a train or bus, and over a third says they never assist mothers struggling with heavy prams, according to research.

With these statistics, questions arise. Is chivalry officially dead? Are men changing in the past decades? Or is it women’s perspective on men that is changing because women have become more confident? Or did feminism kill chivalry?

Before we go further, let us take a closer look on the definition of chivalry. “Chivalry”, which we now use to mean the kind of small, self-sacrificial behaviors, is what remains of the knightly code of conduct that emphasized virtue, honor and the protection of the poor and the weak.

For many people, chivalry is mainly courteous behavior towards women, or I might say towards “the weak.” But I would argue that men should be more chivalrous these days simply because that is the right thing to do.

Let me make one point abundantly clear, men don’t have to be chivalrous if they don’t want to. The lack of chivalry doesn’t make anyone less of a man. This also means that a woman shouldn’t expect to be treated chivalrously by all men or that they should feel offended if the man does not behave that way.  Chivalry is a personal choice; it’s an oath that must be given full heartedly.

But in the hookup culture we now live in, with so many issues involving men being arrogant or impolite. It’s pretty obvious that chivalry is definitely fading.

I’m not saying that we Filipinos are not being courteous to others, or helpmates to women, or supporters of justice, or defenders of the weak nowadays. I think it’s the other way around. But these traits were usually taken for granted nowadays. What happened to our so called “Filipino gentlemen?” Is it really men’s fault why chivalry is disappearing?

As research says, men nowadays usually think twice before committing chivalrous acts to women. Why? I think it is due to fear of offending. These days, men profess to being so worried about offending women and being accused of being patronizing. Women misunderstood men.

But, do not all ladies love when young men treat them like a lady? Little acts that make them feel like they are important and remind them that not all men are abominations.

Men need to stand up and lead their families, businesses, and communities with passion! Men will always be the stronger sex, physically, and so it is only natural for men to want to show consideration for women when it comes to dealing with doors, heavy luggage or by offering a seat on public transport.

So now, I cannot understand why girls find it offensive. I think this problem is just a matter of misunderstanding between men and women.

Girls, we boys are just trying to help. We don’t mean to offend you. Doing chivalrous is not underestimating women’s capabilities. Women should understand that. Women should understand what is the difference between underestimating and the willingness to help.

The complaint from most women was of men thinking they could “buy” a lady with chivalrous behavior or that Chivalry was based on the idea that a woman could not do anything without a man’s help. Ladies, let me make this clear: Any action based on ulterior motives is not chivalrous. Men who “Act like a gentleman” or behave Chivalrous because “women love gentlemen” are not true gentlemen. A man is chivalrous because he expects it from himself, and not because he expects payment in return or because women expect said behavior from him. His chivalrous actions are not because he doesn’t think a woman can’t do something, but rather because he thinks she shouldn’t have to.

So if men are worried about the response they will get, women should respond to any little chivalric gesture that means a lot to them with obvious appreciation, so that men will feel encouraged to repeat such actions to more women in the future..

But do women’s visions in life also evolved? Maybe it evolved, or even changed as time pass by. I think these days’ girls, at a young age, are taught to be independent and strong and that they don’t need a man. I think it has somewhat lead them to disapprove of chivalry because it makes them feel like they are the weak ones. Young women have the attitude that they can do everything by themselves—including opening doors, paying for a date, etc.

Somehow, these incidents should serve as an eye-opener.

I’m not saying that people who value chivalry are bad. I’m saying that somewhere along the line, there’s been a little misunderstanding. I think the solution for these will lie on both men and women’s mind sets and prospective.

Women just have to appreciate. Women must not think of their prides. Women should understand that this is not sort of scurrility. I think that chivalry is never an insult. It shows respect… However, I have noticed that not too many women know how to receive it anymore. I hope the system of thinking will change sometime soon.

And for men, do chivalrous acts not to patronize. You can’t “buy” a woman with your chivalrous act. No secret codes. No sexism. No rape culture. Just humanity. To say that chivalry is sexist doesn’t mean that men shouldn’t open doors, buy meals for, or smile at women. Go right ahead! In fact, that behavior is often encouraged. However, it is also encouraged toward other men.

From my experience, I think the simplest, most direct, answer is to lead by example.  Regardless of the situation, uphold your beliefs and treat the people around you with respect and honor. Guys, we have to revive and preserve the art of chivalry. Is it more secure to live a world full of chivalrous guys?

Maybe, somewhere out there, Chivalry isn’t dead. If chivalry is not dead, it is definitely up against the ropes. He’s on life support at a local hospital. I think that Chivalry is alive! Thriving, and is needed now more than ever.

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