Don’t kill chivalry

By Lauren Taylor | Copy Editor

Chivalry is not a bad thing.

No, I’m not talking about the knights’ code of honor back in the Middle Ages, although that would be a pretty cool topic to discuss. When I say chivalry, I am referring to today’s definition — social courtesy and respect, with the term usually being used to describe men’s treatment of women.

Over the last handful of decades, times have really changed for the better treatment of women. Women in America have gone from being deprived of the ability to vote in their own country to becoming some of the most powerful people around. Although we still have a long way to go, society is taking great strides to continue giving women the voice we deserve in the world.

With women rising up in society, however, there are some conflicting views on how men are expected to interact with them on a daily basis. I have a theory that there are some genuinely good guys out there who have had a curveball thrown at them whenever they are suddenly berated for doing what they were taught was right: being polite and respectful to women.

I can say with full confidence that a man taking a moment out of his day to hold a door open for a woman is not an attempt to demonstrate his superiority over her. In fact, the thought that she is too weak to open her own door more than likely never crossed his mind. He might have just been raised to be considerate toward women, and it’s his way of esteeming her and showing her respect. I think little actions of kindness and service such as this are something we should be encouraging, not complaining about.

When a man offers to pay for a meal on a date, he is not assuming the woman he is with isn’t able to afford the bill. Chances are, he is merely trying to make a good impression. The sooner people stop assuming that every kind act is an attempt to undermine them, the better off the world will be.

Relationships, both romantic and platonic, can be tough. People need to be willing to make small sacrifices for the ones they care about and be grateful for the little things their loved ones do for them in return.

What it comes down to is that it isn’t OK to scream at a man or accuse him of objectification because he went a little bit out of his way to be accommodating. It doesn’t make a woman more empowered to put a man down; it’s just a human hurting another human in the name of equality.

Chivalry can be a man holding a door every once in a while and having basic manners toward a woman. It’s not a threat to a woman’s integrity or capabilities. Everyone should support the idea of there being a little more respect in the world.

Do both women and men a favor. Don’t kill chivalry.

Lauren is a junior journalism and communications major from Mansfield.