Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why is "Chivalry Dead?"

I've been watching some good old "Dr Quinn Medicine Woman" re-runs lately, and it's made me think a lot about the Women's Liberation Movement. This movement was also mentioned in the class at U of C on Tuesday.

I was wondering if perhaps there is a link between women wanting to be established as equal to men, and "chivalry being dead"? Maybe somewhere along the line, in the quest for equality, freedom, and rights for women, men decided that they no longer needed to act chivalrous towards their "equals"? Suppose men got to thinking that if women were now allowed to do things that 'only men were supposed to do', that they were no longer women. Not literally, but that they no longer should be treated with the same mannerisms.

Or perhaps the new independant female attitude has made men feel that women do not want men to act chivalrous any longer? The "I don't need a man" attitude has maybe scared men into thinking that women no longer want to be 'swept off their feet'?

Just something I've been thinking about lately.

As I watch Dr Quinn, I find it so infuriating to see the predominant opinion of a woman's role. Of course, the opinion is that of men. To have hot meals on the table when her husband got home, take care of the children, and keep the house clean. As if she did not have anything better to do with her time, or any other things she wanted to do. A women had no right to vote. A women should not be a doctor, or anything of any importance. A women should not be opinionated....

However, you see a little more chivalry in that time period. Not with all the men, but with many. They took good care of their wives and children, and protected them from harm. They spent months courting their wives, and built them the perfect house before getting married.

It's interesting to compare the differences.

I think that there are still chivalrous men today. I just think that less men find it important or appealing. They don't think it matters anymore.

I think it does. Maybe not every woman will agree with me, but I think quite a few would. I think equality is important also. A guy has to be able to accept (and love) that a woman can be a great student or doctor or carpenter or whatever. But I still think that there should be chilvary. And I still think a relationship should have romance.

1 comment:

  1. One of the misconceptions a lot of people have about feminism is that it precludes a complete and total independence from men in all matters. But an intelligent person knows that meaningful relationships are based on interdependence. We need loving relationships from men AND women, just as they need them from us. We should treat each other respectfully regardless of sex.

    I think what some women (and men) bristle against is the idea that as women we haven't the intelligence or power to do something for ourselves. I think this has at times gone too far: when a woman refuses help from a man simply because he is a man, it is showing that she thinks she is superior to him, which is another kind of sexism altogether. I've known some women at work who will not ask questions of men because they don't want the man to think they don't know what they're doing.

    What's important to realize, I think, is that there is a difference in the underlying attitude between consideration (opening the door for someone, holding up a coat to put on, or something equally thoughtful) and being condescended to ('are you PMS'ing or something?').

    There are still lots of people who have a belittling attitude towards women as if they are just slaves of emotion instead of thinking, acting human beings.

    Chivalry, in my opinion, is as simple as loving and respecting your partner enough to be considerate in all things, and treating them not as a piece of fragile pottery whose good looks are to be admired, but as simply another human being that has ambitions, thoughts, and faults.

    I think that women should be 'chivalrous' to men as well. If it's done with true affection, it need not be demeaning. If you like to cook, for example, there's no reason why that needs to be a sign of weakness just because you're a woman. It's more about being free to do what you really want, regardless of what that is and what it means to other people.


    Chivalry, not quite dead :)