IS CHIVALRY DEAD?
As you're reading this, there are probably women (and men) complaining that chivalry is dead. But is it really dead? If so, why is chivalry dead? What does that mean for romance? And what's the actual definition of this archaic word anyway!? Let's take a look...
CHILD IT'S 2021... WHAT IS THIS "CHIVALRY" YOU SPEAK OF?
Before we take a little deep dive, it might be worth hitting up that dictionary, resurfacing the definition, and also give a brief history lesson for context. So chivalry was a code of conduct that governed the behaviour of knights in the middle ages. The code included coming to the rescue of Damsels in [Dating] Distress 🤣👸🏻 (sorry, I couldn't help myself!), but for the most part, it had to do with martial interactions, in other words, focusing on very polite, honest, and kind behaviour, especially by men towards women. The middle ages lasted from around the collapse of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance period, but why has chivalry remained such a hot topic long after? The concept of chivalry — particularly in relation to romance, experienced a revival during the nineteenth century. This was a time when novels became very popular — romance novels being highly favoured. And still today, many of these novels are well received, think of Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Through books, plays, films, and very traditional values; chivalry as a code of romantic conduct has worked its way into our contemporary views on courtship.
BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED NOW
Yes, things have certainly moved on. Growing up watching Disney cartoons was definitely one of my favourite pass times. When we were young, who didn't enjoy the fantasy of living like royalty, having some hot prince chase you around town, saving you from the villains, living happily ever after, and heading back home to enjoy your kingdom. I, for one, wanted all of it... especially the kingdom! 🏰😆 Needless to say, we know that fairytale crap is not how it goes down in today's society. There are a few reasons why chivalry doesn't make a whole lot of sense in our current day and age. With such a huge shift around gender roles, technology, economics, and politics (which I won't go into, otherwise I'll be here all day), treating women with chivalry — even by those who mean well — can be seen as placing women in a position where they're powerless and timid. We have to also remember that chivalry was codified, and now, with women having a lot more freedom, this is just another factor that led to its demise. In addition, the way we interact with each other has massively changed. Guys no longer ride their horses with a bunch of flowers, travelling across the country to see if you'll come downstairs. It's more like a 2am text saying: "U up?" 🤣😩 (I'm kidding!! It's not always like that!) But getting someone's attention nowadays can come in the form of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Tweeting, "liking", commenting — all which don't require much thought, nor having to move out of bed!
CAN WE STILL SALVAGE IT?
I think there is such thing as "modern chivalry", and it doesn't just apply to men, some of the things I'm about to mention can go across all genders. There are plenty of ways to let someone know you care for them without having to slay dragons and shit! So here are a few examples:
Following up to check if a person got home safely
Dropping a text to see how their day is going
Taking the time to plan a date
Putting your phone away when spending quality time together
Looking out for your safety
Contrary to what some might think, these acts of chivalry are not ridiculous. It actually shows courage and maturity to be able to care for someone else, and in my eyes, some of this is just common courtesy! One thing's for sure, I don't think modern chivalry is an unattainable standard to expect.
Okay, so let's conclude everything. Yes I think traditional chivalry is dead. However, I believe the modern day equivalent still exists. By that, I simply mean we should treat each other with respect, be more considerate, and try our best to be a good person. This isn't just about how men should be towards women in dating and relationships, it's everyone towards everyone. Speaking in a romantic sense, while I certainly don't expect guys to throw themselves on the floor so I can walk over a puddle, it's the little moments of kindness and thoughtfulness that puts a smile on my face, I also feel like it aids in keeping a relationship healthy and afloat. Do you agree? What are your thoughts on the above?