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YouSpeak: Is Chivalry Dead?

Some say yes, others say it’s changing

When you hear the word chivalry, chances are you conjure up images of King Arthur and knights in shining armor coming to the aid of a damsel in distress.

The Code of Chivalry dates back to the Late Middle Ages. It emphasizes virtues like courage, honor, and service. It also came to connote images of courtly love.

Over the centuries, the chivalric ideal changed and today, it’s become synonymous with such (often rare) behaviors as a man holding a door open for a woman, walking a woman to her door, or offering his coat if a woman is cold.

Does chivalry still exist? Have today’s dating apps and hookup culture rendered it obsolete? If it does still exist, how does it play into modern romance? And isn’t chivalrous behavior something that can be exhibited by all people?

This week’s “YouSpeak” asks: “Is chivalry dead on campus?”

If you have a suggestion for a topic, leave it in the Comment section below.

16 Comments

16 Comments on YouSpeak: Is Chivalry Dead?

  • michael on 04.10.2017 at 9:47 am

    Psssst. It’s dead.
    People are so detracted from life these days. Headphones on eyes down and hands on phones. It’s amazing the number of deaths by distracted people walking into roads and off train platforms than current records show.

    I still hold doors and use manners but it becomes difficult when people respond with an almost privileged attitude. Wake up people! Take the buds out, put the phone on silent, look around and start a conversation with a random individual. You may find something more interesting than your friends food pic on Facebook.

    • Tim Hegan on 04.10.2017 at 12:21 pm

      Dear Michael~ Thank you for your statement, I’ve been sounding that alarm for close to a decade, and it is increasingly difficult to summon the attention of students (and some staff)! I have signs up in our residences that say “Please remove your headphones/earbuds while in the HoJo building, we would like to interact with you!” Keep up the good wishes for people returning to civility!

    • Kenny on 04.10.2017 at 8:35 pm

      Look, that’s great and all that you hold doors open with a polite candid demeanor, and are interested in having meaningful interactions daily. Still, that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to having people give you the response you want based on your actions (no matter how commendable.) You should do those things because you want to rather than expecting something in return. Also, sometimes people just want to be left alone and aren’t comfortable engaging with strangers right away, and that should be respected. Long story short, be nice because you want to otherwise you’re just being a faux nice guy ya dingus.

      • Adam on 09.26.2018 at 8:48 pm

        just because you hold the door for someone and if they dont give you a response, then thats fine. you dont have to expect a response, but if you were raised right, you would respond somehow, whether its a smile or a nod or a “thank you”. just something that lets you know that they appreciate your kindness

  • Andrew Wolfe on 04.10.2017 at 10:08 am

    Chivalry is predicated on some form of inequality of the sexes. It arose as the cult of the Blessed Virgin Mary elevated women from near-chattel status to a protected role of honor completely different from masculine honor, complementary to it. As such, insofar as we discard gender roles and gender binary, chivalry is dead.

  • Gregg on 04.10.2017 at 12:04 pm

    To be sure, today’s ‘swipe culture’ has made it more difficult to purely connect with each other. Sure, we’re always looking down at our devices, but when it comes to real life, it seems increasingly clearer that we’re always on the lookout for something better, physically, chemically, intellectually, socially. We look through one another.

    All that said, I agree with Michael that beyond even modern dating culture, basic decorum is truly more at risk than chivalry.

  • Emma on 04.10.2017 at 12:53 pm

    Chivalry is founded in the sexist belief that women are weak and in constant need of protection and defense by men. While courteous actions from one human to another (holding the door, giving up a bus seat) are always appreciated, they should not be done because of a gendered subtext. If someone at my place of work were to always act extra “chivalrous” to me and not my male coworkers, It would probably make me uncomfortable, and I might still worry that I am clearly being viewed differently because of my gender, and thus might have different opportunities because of it. (Not necessarily true, but possible). If what’s being referred to is treating women differently based on the assumption that they are weaker or needier, then I’m glad to see it go.

    It frustrates me that the text of this article makes no mention of being critical of Chivalry to begin with though, so perhaps not as “dead” as I had hoped…

    • Andrew Wolfe on 04.12.2017 at 10:39 am

      The society is conflicted on the topic of the equality of the sexes, specifically whether it means only equal dignity or equal possession of all additional attributes such as strength or autonomy.

  • Joe on 04.10.2017 at 2:20 pm

    Chivalry is dead and courteous behavior in general is on life support. You can’t do anything nice for someone without your motives coming into question.

  • Tomas Munarriz on 04.10.2017 at 2:45 pm

    I certainly believe that chivalry is a lot harder to come by these days, and part of it is that we don’t really call it “chivalry” anymore. It’s adapted with the times, and these day, you’re more likely to hear words like “courteous”, “polite”, or sometimes “gentleman.” Of course, those words aren’t really chivalry, and to that degree, yes, Chivalry is “dead.” It just couldn’t survive in today’s society, primarily due to changes in perspective over time, specifically regarding women (Women were virtually never regarded as “chivalrous” in the Middle Ages, as part of chivalry was about men’s actions towards a lady), and so chivalry was dropped. But traits like courage and kindness and selflessness are here to stay, I hope, and we’ll keep trying to find what chivalry is today.

    So yes, technically speaking, Chivalry is Dead. Capital C, Capital D. But from it, we’ve learned something, and it’s my hope that we hold on to that something, whatever it may be. Holding the door behind you for someone, regardless of gender, isn’t chivalrous anymore.

    It’s just being a decent person.

  • Jim in New Orleans on 04.10.2017 at 8:49 pm

    I think it’s dead primarily because most women now want it to be dead, as Emma suggested above. Holding a door open for a woman because she’s a woman is considered condescending in most social circles now.

    Myself…..I extend myself in courteous embrace to all folks; I mean hell…….we’re all connected, are we not? I hope we all make it, so I try to be supportive to everyone when I can.

    Ladies…..the days of the guy paying for the date are over, thanks to your wishes!

    • Andrew Wolfe on 04.12.2017 at 10:35 am

      I got chewed out by a female classmate for holding the door for her, as a college freshman… in 1979.

    • Carol on 05.02.2018 at 1:08 pm

      Not to me it isn’t. All women are not feminists. I’m certainly not and I wish to be treated as a woman because that’s what I am. Feminists don’t speak for all women, nor do they represent all women. I’m strongly opposed to feminism and always have been.

  • Branden Lighter on 01.20.2018 at 6:34 pm

    great blog

  • Carol on 05.02.2018 at 10:05 am

    Not among Southern men. Northern men no longer want nice girls for some odd reason. It used to be that if a girl was willing to sleep with a guy before marriage she was considered ‘the kind you don’t take home to mother.’ Nowadays it seems many men WANT unkind loose woman and are leaving the nice girls single. Even some Christian men seem turned off by and have developed a great disdain for women with virtues. Sex has become THE MOST important thing on their dating agenda. It’s very cruel and unfair. Things have gotten quite backwards and chivalry has gone straight to hell I’m sad to say.

  • b on 05.14.2018 at 4:17 pm

    wow, so whats the decision, is it dead or not

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