Chivalry has always been highly regarded, but lately I am not so sure that chivalry is the most appropriate of qualities. Being courteous is what should be sought after. By definition, chivalry is most definitely a trait almost solely for men. This is the problem with chivalry. Never have I heard the term chivalrous being used to describe a woman and the word seems to have put unwarranted expectations on both genders.
Members of a relationship enjoy being treated well by their significant other—that is a given—but the focus should no longer be doing everything for each other on the basis of chivalry. The whole “pay for the first date or you’re a schmuck” mindset needs to fade away. There are certainly a growing portion of people who are not obliging the traditional expectation of making the man pay, going half and half is not uncommon, and that is exactly the mindset that needs to take over.
To some, dismissing chivalry may seem like a misogynistic view, but that is not the case. Our concept of chivalry is warped.
Women are independent and strong. That fact is probably obvious, but women are not treated as such nearly as often as they should be.
When asked about chivalry a female peer told me that it made her sometimes feel helpless, like the idea she needed assistance was always the case. Chivalry often makes the woman out to be a princess that needs saving, when in reality that is just not the case. It feels nice to be treated respectfully, but if I was treated as though I always needed help I would lose a great amount of pride.
Chivalry is quite outdated by other measures as well. There are people who do not identify with either male or female, so it seems oversimplified that we have such a black and white expectation that men need to help women. The traditional gender roles of men and women are starting to break down and thus the old idea of chivalry begins to become an inadequate principle to follow.
By no means am I vouching for a society where acts of service for one another are lost, that is far from my goal. I am imploring people to move away from the expectation that women need protection.
Instead, a respectful and generous culture is something we should strive for, not a chivalrous one. Nobody is always in dire need of help, but genuinely wanting to hold the door open or pay for a meal out of courtesy to one another is never a bad thing.
Through removing chivalry’s stigma of being a man’s duty we can move to relationships where baseless expectations are forgotten and everyone can begin to genuinely help one another, regardless of gender.
Collegian Columnist Troy Wilkinson may or may not actually exist, but if he does he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @blumitts.