Is Chivalry Dead?

In Love by Antwuan Malone

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Chivalry is dead! Or is it?

An “Under Construction” sign hangs above the head of this generation’s ideas of love and relationships. The boundaries keep shifting. Twenty years ago, open relationships and gay marriages weren’t even heard of, let alone accepted. And divorce, not even a real option. Women want different things than their moms and grandmoms wanted, thus the roles of the sexes in romantic relationships have become less defined.

Enter chivalry, and the two questions this post is about. Is chivalry dead? And, should it be?

I don’t even know all the chivalrous acts that used to happen. I guess I should freshen up on Kate and Leopold and  Pride and Prejudice. But gone are the days of standing when ladies come to the table, laying your leather coat over a puddle of water so she doesn’t get her shoes dirty when she walks across, and standing when she enters the room. I don’t have a problem with it (well, maybe the leather coat thing is out), but it’s just not done anymore. Chivalry ends up being things like, holding the door open, paying for dinner, or handing over your coat in the sudden brush of a bitter wind. It’s letting her stay covered while you brave the elements to get the car after the movie, so she doesn’t have to get wet. Those are the images of chivalrous acts that most probably think of.

Dead or Alive?

So ladies tell me! Is chivalry is dead? I’ll bet most will answer quickly, and in the affirmative. I think they’re right-ish. Maybe it’s not completely dead, but it’s certainly dying.

But chivalry’s not dying simply because men are pigheaded, canine losers who’d rather run with the pack than scratch the back of his female canine pooch. That’s a part of it. But I’ve heard more and more women say they don’t need their back scratched by some grungy male dog. They can do it themselves (thank you very much!).

And this is my first point. The empowering female movement that, frankly, we’re still in, has confused most guys. As it turns out, men like feeling needed. That’s one of the reasons most men really want to be the breadwinner in marriages. When this powerful generation of women arose and communicated they “could do fine without men” or that they “could do anything a man could do,” men heard “we don’t need you anymore.” At least not in the traditional sense. So, when women asked to be treated as equals in nearly every area, and men started to oblige, and women suffered a chivalrous casualty.

So ladies, if you feel chivalry is dead. It’s probably because you or your female cloud asked for it to be.

However fellas, we’re not off the hook. As much a man needs to feel needed, woman need to feel cherished. And she really wants that to come from her man. Her friends are alright, but when a man makes a women feel cherished and loved, she’ll  stay with him forever. So men, we are still needed, we’re just having a hard time adjusting to what ways she needs us.

So, to answer the question. Traditional chivalry is certainly dying, and no I don’t think it should be. But I’ do think chivalry needs to morph and change with the times.

In the end, chivalry is either a sign of respect, consideration, or it is flat out kindness. So ladies, when a man opens your door, he isn’t saying you’re beneath him. He’s trying to make your life easier in that moment by opening the door. When he pulls your seat out for you, or orders your food for you, he isn’t calling you incompetent, he’s probably doing what he was taught by his mom.  He’s trying to show he’s thinking about you, even in the small mundane things. And that he’s paid attention enough to know what you like. Stop getting all offended! You’re killing it for the ladies that would really appreciate all this. (trust me, I speak from experience on this one).

And fellas, we can’t stop with chairs and doors and jackets. Women feel most cherished when you see and hear them. I’m not a love doctor, but here is the best tip I can give you. Nothing is more chivalrous to a woman than when you pay attention to her. I mean really pay attention. While she’s talking, try to listen more for how she’s feeling, than what she’s saying. Respond accordingly. Remember, she doesn’t “need a man” to fix her problems. She is increasingly capable of doing that on her own. But empathy. Empathy takes two  Fellas, empathy takes you. And she’ll take that over open doors, paid dinner checks, and curbside pickups all day long. (though, keep all those in your toolbox. 😉

So what do you think?  Is chivalry dead? Should it be?

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Antwuan Malone is a Ministry Director at ELEVATE Young Adult Ministry (elevateministry.net) where empowers young adults toward Christian leadership. He is passionate about seeing young adults take their place in church history by drawing near enough to God to hear his call on their life, and courageously living in obedience to that call.