The Concept of Chivalry and Stereotypical Gentlemanship

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The time has come for chivalry and stereotypical gentlemanship to take their place in the graveyard next to all other gender norms that have been killed off in recent years. Why is it that just because some people are born as male, they are expected to make more money and fund everything that their significant other wants to have? Why do people get surprised when a woman reveals her husband is looking after their child or making dinner for the family? Men who feel emasculated if they earn less than their partner or who refuse to let a girl pay for anything on a date need to swallow their pride and realise that they are living in the 21st century when stuff like this is so minimal and pathetic compared to other issues everyone has to face on a daily basis.

Chivalry originated in the medieval ages as the code that knights had to vouch to and follow. Over the years it has become the stereotypical way in which a man should treat a woman. This is outdated and the majority of gender norms should be squashed as we live in a society that needs to accept the equality we, as humans, deserve.

Emilia Fox in an interview with the Telegraph said that feminism should not kill off chivalry and that men should still be gentlemen and open doors for women. This is completely untrue and contradictory to the statement (which in my opinion IS true) that women are completely equal to men in all aspects other than physical appearance, if this is the case then do not expect anything of a man when frankly you can do it yourself. People thinking that chivalry is a thing that a man must hold himself to and carry out with no question is absolutely ridiculous and this is a belief that has to be stopped. Why is it offensive to say that a women’s place is the kitchen but it is completely acceptable to expect a man to carry something for you or allow you to enter a building first. Neither are acceptable, both points are crazy and they add extra pressure and sensitivity to society that is otherwise totally not needed.

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I agree with the fundamental core of feminism, that both genders are equal. I do not, however, agree with radical groups of feminists taking the idea too far and suggesting that women are superior to men. Holding open a door for somebody is simply good manners, not “asserting your dominance” as some people choose to see it. It is now a common thing to see a man holding open a door for a woman who is trailing shortly behind them, just for the women to announce that “she is more than capable of opening a door for herself”. This subgroup of feminists have been dubbed ‘femi-nazis’ due to their discriminatory beliefs that are very hypocritical when you think about the message that these people want to spread and preach.

Feminists and the so called femi-nazis can both be related and compared to the two biggest suffrage groups in British history who dominated headlines in the early 20th century, the NUWSS (Suffragists) who used political tactics to peacefully protest and get their views on Women’s equality discussed in parliament and the WSPU (Suffragettes) who opted to use more militant tactics and had a violent, almost terrorist-like approach to getting their voices heard. 

The Suffragettes are the more famous of the two groups as a result of their erratic antics, such as bombing train stations and Emily Davison’s infamous death from jumping in front of the King’s horse at the 1913 Epsom Derby. However, contrary to popular belief, the Suffragists were quietly a lot more effective, largely because of the political relationships they formed by not hating men and just wanting equal rights. The relationships they formed with the early labour party resulted in them getting three bills discussed in parliament. Unfortunately none of these bills were passed but it was a good start at least.

I am by no means stating that every human should just solely look out for themselves and not do anything for anyone else be it a male or a female. I am merely stating that chivalry shouldn’t be expected anymore, it is a luxury not a necessity. Offering to pay for a meal or any other kind of date is purely a polite thing to do and is in no way misogynistic or disrespectful, just like holding a door isn’t showing off your physical advantages. After all most women will hold a door if they see a man walking just behind them or another woman just like most men would do the same if another man was coming through a door after them. 

It is just the correct way to act towards other people that we have been taught since we were 5 or 6 years old and suddenly it has been twisted to be seen as this horrific act of showing that you are superior to someone. No. This attitude has to stop and everyone just needs to accept the overall equality between the genders. Men can do some things that women cannot and women can do many things that men are unable to do, but at the end of the day we should all act and be treated with the same level of respect that each and every one of us deserves to be treated with.

So just remember the next time somebody holds open a door for you, or offers to pay or allows you to enter a building or go up a flight of stairs before them. They are not trying to show that they are a superior human being. They are just being a decent person and you should thank them rather than freaking out and causing an unnecessary scene. So no, chivalry shouldn’t be something that boys are brought up being told to uphold, but manners and treating people with respect are things that every human, no matter the gender, should preach and carry out. 

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