By Joshua Sutphen
Many people say that chivalry is dead – but is it? Chivalry is defined as being a gentleman for one’s significant other. To women, chivalry may be when their partner opens doors for them or picks up the check at a restaurant or bar. Sometimes, a guy can even carry a woman’s books or purse to show his consideration. Chivalry, for the most part, is about respect – not superiority.
Emily Esfahani Smith is a feminist writer who has a lot to say about the chivalry in today’s society. Smith wrote, “Chivalry arose as a response to the violence and barbarism of the Middle Ages. It cautioned men to temper their aggression, deploying it only in appropriate circumstances.” By doing this, it would end the torture and assault of women. Of course, men did not abide by society back then, and even today, but chivalry changed societies outlook on women. Chivalry may not be 100 percent better than it used to be, but it is becoming more and more of a social norm, according to Smith.
Men may be physically, chemically, and mentally different than women, but even so, they should still respect women and be polite, helpful, and kind around them. Danielle Coccia, freshman Undecided major, said, “I think people who grew up watching their parents practice chivalry are the only ones who use it now.” She believes that chivalry comes from family and parental guidance. However, it might also stem f from environment, friends and associates, Coccia explained.
Alexander Ayala, Graduate student, said, “Well, it’s not dead – – it became more open, and easier, to have sex due to the new social nature of society. Why be a gentleman if you don’t need to be to impress a girl’s parents? Girls think more like men nowadays.”
Ayala stated that he is chivalrous, though. He continued, “My girlfriend, for example: I’ll hold the door for her and I’ll walk to her to class if we hang out. I’ll bring her coffee also. So it’s not dead, there are just different forms of it.” Chivalry is different in every era and society. Fighting a war for your woman had become holding the door open for your lady. Ayala uses chivalry to respect his girlfriend and not feel “above” her.
The main question still stands; is chivalry dead? Most people believe it is not dead, so why should we suspect it is? Maybe there are just different forms of it.