Was it ever really alive to begin with? I recently read a Mary Wollstonecraft biography and it made me question just how real chivalry was in the past. The book started off with her father hitting her mother; moved on to her sister, Bess, becoming terribly ill due to treatment her husband gave her. Mary and her sisters had to give all their money to their father growing up; when a family court case was won, their brother, Ned, refused to give the sisters their share, her first husband, Imlay, refused to support their daughter, Fanny, and her second husband, Goodwin, wouldn’t give his step daughter, Claire/Fanny, money that she had inherited from a family friend.
If we look back further chivalry is racked with deviousness and a hidden agendas. If we look at the general Prologue from the Canterbury Tales, no one is very chivalrous there: all any of the men seem to want to do is get into the women’s skirts. For instance, while the Knight has his role embodied, his son, the squire, sees kinghthood more for it’s courting than it’s crusading.
My mom is an outstanding woman: she married my father in the 80s and the next Christmas my brother was born. From 1981-1993 they had seven children; a live in grandmother; visiting aunts every weekend; and grandparents who lived 15 minutes away. No, my mom didn’t work, and yes, our dad could work from home. But on a lot of days our mother had to deal with the troubles of her seven children and there were a lot of them. But she raised 7 lovely, successful smart children: 2 boys and 5 girls and we still run to her with our problems big and small. My point is she was a stay at home mom and now she has a great job with a family resource centre (and if there’s one person in the whole world who knows something about families it’s my mom!) I don’t know where I’m going with this. Chivalry. Right. Yeah. I’ve got nothing. I just typed a whole paragraph that has no relevance whatsoever to this post. No, it does. My mother has proven to be an independent woman but that doesn’t stop my Dad from holding the door open for her or when we’re sitting on the couch and he drapes a blanket over us.
It isn’t sexist when men do that sot of thing. It’s romantic. It shows they care. On the note of sexism, (and hopefully I don’t offend anyone with what I’m about to say), I hate feminists. I hate women who blame men for everything that goes wrong in their lives. If you want to blame someone, don’t automatically point to someone else: look at your self. There are 6,973,738,433 people in the world. Approximately half of this population are men. They can’t all be responsible for your problems. It isn’t sexist to want to show someone you care about them by doing something nice because at the end of the day that’s what chivalry is, isn’t it? A nice gesture? (Well maybe that isn’t ALL it is.)
Am I being a ‘green girl’ for wanting to believe that chivalry(and romance) is alive and well in today’s society? I mean I don’t want to meet my future husband in the drink-stained dance floor of a night club. I don’t want all succeeding dates to end up in a night club. I believe in dinner, conversation, a quiet drink in a nice pub, a good movie. (Am I being to harsh on the men in society today?) I believe in women being independent but I also believe that it isn’t sexist to hold a door open for a woman. It isn’t sexist to want to protect and provide for your family. I think it shows a sense of romance. If he orders for you on a date, that isn’t the worst thing that could happen. So you don’t like it? People learn from their mistakes. And if he does it too often THEN you say something. (Why is this turning into dating advice? My blogs never really end the way they’d started do they?) Give it a chance. Take a jacket on a cold night if it’s offered; thank him for opening a door.
Chivalry does not have the cleanest history. Men have treated women pretty terr–
OH! Spreaking of gentlemen and chivalry, The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott (it was actually her debut novel) is a beautiful love story. The leading man is such a gentleman and the leading lady portrays indepence. It’s a love story you see every day but this one is my favourite. It was made into a movie with Thomas Gibson and Cari Shayne.
Anyway, back to what I was saying. Chivalry does not have the CLEANEST history. Men haven’t always treated women brilliantly in the past. But there is that one who, while it may seem like he’s being sexist but he’s being a gentleman. Enjoy it because you don’t know when it will come up again. (But if he gets excessively chivalrous, i.e. won’t let you leave the house alone, meet friends, etc. talk to someone or better yet get out of there.) I truly believe that chivalry isn’t extinct. I know from a lot of the guys I know that it might be on the way out but that being said I don’t know THAT many guys.
And to end, just a note to say that I think chivalry is something that comes with age