Chivalry is dead. At least, that’s what a lot of people say. And it’s an interesting claim. What exactly define chivalry, and why is it dead? Well, to look at this we have to consider a few qualifications. Who is saying Chivalry is dead, and in what context?
I most often hear that Chivalry is dead from women or from men in reference to how other men treat women. Nobody hold the door for a girl anymore, or waits to sit at a table until a lady is seated. Nobody pushes the chair in behind a girl anymore. And so on. Is this what defines Chivalry? How polite a man can act for women on dates? Really?
A more strict definition of Chivalry is: the medieval knightly system with its religious, moral, and social code (seriously, I copy-pasted that from a basic web search). At what point does this mention dating? The reality is that it doesn’t. Chivalry didn’t mean men must act this way for women when they were courting them. It meant that they acted like this all the time. So yes, Chivalry is dead.
Think about it, who holds the door for everyone anymore? And who actually says thank you? I go out of my way to do both, but there are a significant number of people who won’t do either. Many girls just expect doors to be held for them. Other girls expect it not to be held for them. Both say nothing. I certainly understand the male plight that we never expect the door to be held for us. Because who is kind to men in basic actions nowadays?
The idea that Chivalry is dead is specific to the fact that it is a dead system. These great knights were also part of a system that expected women to be subordinate to men, prizes to be won. Contests were held to win brides, which sounds rather heroic, but in reality is a depressing fact that women’s role was as a sexual and political device for the agenda’s of men. The kindness stopped when she stopped putting out.
Maybe this wasn’t all knights. But work with statistics. Most men in this era—in fact, almost every era prior to the modern (and even now, things aren’t great)—treated women like objects. So when it comes to all of Chivalry being dead, it’s probably for the better. Of course, there is always the other argument, which is that the good parts of Chivalry should not have been put to the wayside. Holding the door for people is so simple. I have a theory on this though.
It is my opinion that we shape ourselves based on the core values of our society. In the United States, which is the spearhead for culture in the world (for better or for worse), we prize individualism before nearly everything. The idea that one man or woman can rise above everyone else. In doing that, we place trust only in ourselves—and our expectations match this. Instead of holding the door for someone, we instead have engrained this idea that everyone can open their own doors. If you want to change this problem, change how people think. Make the world more oriented toward thinking as a community that works together to succeed. And suddenly treating people with common respect isn’t so hard.