Buzzfeed put together a video asking a group of men and women: is chivalry dead? There are mixed responses that show the general understanding of our culture today.
In the video one of the men asked, “are we implying that women are literally so dainty that they cannot hold a door for themselves?” Good question! It can be really confusing to know how to act and what to do in a society that likes to look simply at an action rather than the true symbolism behind that action.
But what is chivalry and what does it try to achieve?
Acts of love and service look different depending on the person who is performing the action. We all show our love in different ways and that difference is contrasted and complimented even more so as men and women. St. John Paul II told us:
In this statement, the ideals of feminism and chivalry are similar— they both try to empower women by reminding them of their inherent dignity and worth. So much of what we see today is about using one another rather than upholding the dignity of our fellow brothers and sisters.
Especially in our culture today we need to look beyond the actual action and rediscover what the action tries to achieve. There is a constant battle being fought to take oneself out of the center of the universe and place our neighbor before ourselves. One of the men in the video said it best, “it seems that a lot of chivalry rules are just good rules for everybody really.
Depending on where you live and many other factors this question may be answered differently, but let’s see what some young men have to say about the same question that Buzzfeed proposed… is chivalry dead?
Chivalry is not dead but it is on its’ last breaths. It is seldom found amongst my generation and that which is left is a twisted version of what it really means. Chivalry is the way a man acts and treats a woman and those around him. It is a respectful, kind, and always observant person looking to help and put first those he is with. Spencer T. 20
The hook up culture idealizes guys who can flirt with and pick up women, making dating a hassle. Without mutual respect, there can’t be much of a relationship. You can always find people with similar values depending on where you look though. Sean C. 21
I think while there are many good, holy men in the world, there are also many many unholy boys. Through their words and actions, men seem to show little respect for women and the woman’s body, and often fail to treat women like daughters of God. I think that this stems from the porn and birth control industries that tell men that a woman is merely an object. Our culture is one that emphasizes pleasure and self-gratification over everything else. Overall, men are less courageous in their interactions with women, and less respecting of the woman as a human person. Phil H. 21
I don’t think chivalry is completely dead! I think there is in some sense still respect and admiration for women. I think chivalry at times is becoming twisted though. I personally love the idea of chivalry. Mostly in simple things like holding the door open for a woman or giving up your seat for a woman. I think these small chivalrous gestures are small signs of admiration and respect of women. I mean straight up. Women are epic. They give birth, they nurture, they raise children, they are sensitive to so many aspects of reality… they are strong and yet sensitive. Thibault V. 21
Chivalry works in a twofold manner. It shows the woman that you respect her and yourself. The women sees that there is an honor that rightfully belongs to her and is valued. Chivalry is a sign of a man’s true manhood and allows a woman to enjoy, love and cherish her femininity. Bryan S. 20
If chivalry is dead, it’s because we’ve neglected it. It’s an art that has to be taught (I was taught mostly by my Mom and a little by my Dad). We’ve all become so insular that we don’t even recognize the little opportunities we have all the time to love each other (that’s the important part, simply being aware of others around you). The other problem is defining it. Men aren’t sure what it is or how they should act it out. “Am I being a misogynist when I open the door for women?” PJ H. 21
I think chivalry has to do with being service-minded and striving to love others before yourself. So it’s not just a set of actions meant to make guys look good (e.g. holding doors, walking people home across campus, etc.) and help others in the process, but a way of striving to love and serve others more than you love and serve yourself. So this doesn’t necessarily just apply to women, but anyone, especially people who, for whatever reason, have not been afforded the same societal privilege as you. We guys (especially the white, upper-middle-class ones like myself) have been given so much that we should be happy to give back to others however we can. Andy F. 19
Chivalry is not dead, but it might just be hiding. It’s super important for men to respect our sisters in Christ, but a lot of us seem to have forgotten this. We see a lot of offenses against our sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and other women in our lives every day. It’s a sad reality, but it is not a permanent one; we can change it. To change it, we need to remember that the woman has a unique dignity as a beloved daughter of God, one that we need to help to protect. We still see men caring for women, respecting them and caring for them, but this has become the unusual in our culture. When we see a man showing respect for the women in his life, he is either held up as an unusual exemplar or ridiculed for being weak or unmanly. It is a sad fact that chivalry, respect, and compassion has become the oddity and that we notice it when it happens because it is so foreign. Andre E. 19
I do not think that chivalry is dead. I think that it is scarce and needed in the world today. From a mans perspective, a man desires a true woman he can be chivalrous for. Today’s society is full of women that throw themselves at men and men that are pigs with women, and these activities have resulted in a lifestyle and a culture for the youth of today. Women need to keep their dignity and men need to treat them with dignity. Chivalry is a two part system that makes a whole. Chivalry is not dead and it is needed in today’s world. Men need to step up and be the men that God created them to be, and women need to keep their dignity and allow men to respectfully grow closer to these beautiful daughters of God. John I. 20
What do you think, is chivalry dead?