Thursday, June 7, 2007

Is Chivalry Dead?

This was an article I wrote for a website designed to put your name before the public. Check the websites listed under my favorites, you will find it there. Just before I pushed the 'publish' button on their site I read the user agreements. I would lose all the rights to my work. I'm not sure I can take a favorite topic and sign over all the rights to my thoughts like that. Not on this topic. So, instead of getting reviewed by my peers and seen in such a venue (which does tug at me somewhat as an opportunity missed) I hold onto this and print it here. So, comment! Then I will not feel so bad :-)

Feminism has killed chivalry. It is, after all, what women wanted. Women wanted to be equal to men. The mantras we were spoon fed from infancy through college were, 'You can be anything you want to be' and 'Anything boys can do girls can do better' or 'You are equal to men' but feminism, by the currently accepted definition, is wrong.

Let's look at the current definition of feminism from which states:
1. the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
2. (sometimes initial capital letter) an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women.
3. feminine character.

By reading this definition one can easily see exactly how feminism affected the demise of chivalry. Except for number three which is the true meaning of the word. The word itself is an oxymoron. Definitions one and two mean 'equal rights for women' but definition number three is what feminism truly is. Feminine character.

What exactly comprises feminine character? Anything that IS NOT masculine. Motherhood is the ultimate expression of feminism, but try and tell that to the abortionists who want to murder instead of nurture. The 'feminists' are going against their feminine character.

Feminine character is selfless. In order to nurture you must sacrifice your self and your needs. Having six or eight or ten children is exhausting. And selfless. But the 'feminists' aren't having large families. They are having large incomes, fancy cars, beautiful clothes and large homes instead. But the homes are empty. Mother is working. She may even be the CEO of the company.

Feminine character is joyful. Yes, women who manage a home, cooking and cleaning for a large family can be happy, even joyful. How many career women are filled with joy? Where does the joy come from in a career? Buying things? We all know that material goods are just a band-aid placed over a wounded heart. If you are sad, go buy something to cheer yourself up, if you are happy, buy something to celebrate. But what about the stay at home mother who forgoes the money to keep house for her husband? Can she be joyful without the bling career women flaunt? OF COURSE. True happiness is true feminism.

Go back to your bible. The old Testament. All the way back to Adam and Eve. What did God say to them? He told Eve that her husband shall be her master. He told Adam that he will work to provide for them both. Adam was to work, Eve was to be a wife and mother. That is the nature God gave men and women. When we fight our God given nature, when we try to convince ourselves that our free will is to be the opposite of God's design, we cannot be joyful, self sacrificing and feminine.

This is exactly how feminism destroyed chivalry. Men love women. Men want to be adored by women and not compete with women. Men want to pamper women, and they want women to treat them like men. It is not a weakness in character to allow a man to hold a door, to lift something heavy, to fix something which has broken. Men want to be braver, smarter, richer, stronger, bigger and better than women. When women nurture that desire in their men by admiring, and complimenting him, accepting his affections and his protection, and by allowing him to be a provider and a whole man, well then marriages are sweet and blissful, children are cared for and happy, families stay together and women are fulfilled.

Until this happens chivalry will be remain buried in the ground. We occasionally will experience chivalrous behavior from men. When you do find a true gentleman among men look at the women in his life. I'll bet the women you find will be feminine in dress, mannerisms and appearance. I believe you will find them to be nurturing, self sacrificing and filled with joy. Chivalry must be encouraged and inspired. Only a true feminist, one filled with feminine character has that power. That is why chivalry is dead. Real women are becoming extinct, and without real women, chivalry will die too.


MaryT said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! This is just fantastic!! WOuld you mind if I posted a link to this and sent it to my groups? Very thought provoking!

Lily said...

Of course you may, MaryT! Thank you.

Katherine T. Lauer said...

Excellent organization of thoughts. You are inspiring ME to get back to writing!

Anonymous said...

Amen, you pegged it. God's will for our lives is to keep Him first, not the love of money or things. When we do keep Him first our husbands and children follow right behind. True joy is found in being content. Our joy comes from God above, not earthly things. We can only truly know Him when we are one with our husbands. May chivarly be reborn. May God's ways be greater than mans ways. Denise F

Lily said...

Thank you, Denise, I am happy you agree. Come back and visit again!

Bethany Hudson said...

Lily, thank you for visitting my site and inviting me over to yours to read this article.

I certainly agree that feminism (or at least a certain bent of it) is what destroyed chivalry. I won't say feminism in all its forms, because chivalry continued unabated for several generations after the birth of the original Feminist movement.

One thing that this particular topic makes me think of is Henrik Ibsen's then-controversial play "A Doll's House." I don't know if you've read it, so I'll summarize: Nora is a young wife who is treated by her husband as a doll. He cherishes her, but he sees her more a child, someone incapable of advanced thought, financial ability, or the ability to do or create much of anything outside of the home. Unbeknownst to him, while he was deathly ill, it was Nora who earned the money to keep them afloat. Proud of what she did and gratified by the hard work she would do in the dark hours after he was asleep, copying letters and so forth, she is reluctant to step back and pretend that she is as incapable as her husband believes her to be. In the end, she leaves him. The play was a scandal when it first showed in Norway a hundred years ago.

My only point is that I think there is a fine line between treating your wife as a queen and treating her as a "doll." I think chivalry is wonderful, but I would want no part in a return to a culture that thought me incapable of the same sort of thought, reasoning, and ability as men. Sure, I'm not going to go be a firefighter. I'm a petite 5'2'' gal who like wearing skirts and is afraid of dangerous situations. I'm not saying men and women are interchangeable by any means! But, I would be loathe to think that my husband would ever consider himself morally or intellectually superior to me--a fault that many men AND women bore during many of the eras where chivalry was most prominent.

Hope that all makes sense and isn't offensive. I just believe that we have to find a happy medium.


Lily said...

Thank you for stopping by :-)

I don't think that anyone is promoting the idea that women are not as intelligent as men, nor do I think that anyone would want to. I would never wish to go back to the oppression that Charlotte Bronte so eloquently described in 'Shirley' where Caroline, upon seeming to lose the man she loves, she regrets that she will not be able to bring herself to love someone else, yet she will not ever be able to support herself either. As a 'lady' not of the working class, she had almost no options to support herself. A loveless marriage was not an option for her, she did not feel herself to be of the proper constitution or disposition to suit the profession of nanny, so she feared she would be poor and dependent upon charity after the death of her uncle (and surrogate father). This was one of the best literary examples I've ever read of why we needed to improve the situation of women in society.

I think that men did consider themselves superior and women did consider themselves as inferior, but that is not the perception we all have today. That is one area where feminism was a resounding success, women were recognized for having sense and reason, brilliance and abilities beyond keeping house and raising children. But, there is such a thing as 'too much of a good thing' and I think the feminist movement goes too far today, at the expense of some of pleasantries enjoyed by polite society. Polite society is actually difficult to find today. You must really look to find it. I wish I had more time to expand on this in a proper post, but fear I shall not have much time for a few weeks yet. I will try to revisit this topic again.

Bethany Hudson said...

Lily- Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment. I hope you don't think that I actually thought YOU were promoting men as being more intelligent than women! Hardly the case. I completely understand where you are coming from. I was simply musing about how a lot of people take it for granted that everything coming under the banner of "feminist" was evil. I think, as you said, that the recognition of women as truly equal in worth, intellect, and morality was a huge step forward--and it was brought about by feminism. I agree, though, that we now have "too much of a good thing" :) I wish chivalry would come back--but genuine chivalry--not the distorted kind that believes I am incapable of doing anything because I am a woman, but the kind that believes I should be spared certain things because I am honored as a woman.

Lily said...

Oh, no, I didn't think you directed that at me. Chivalry, originally encompassed many things, including chauvinism. Chauvinism is still present today, but I think many people disassociate chauvinism and chivalry in today's society. One does not always include the other, as it once did. This point reminds me of your post, the one which started this discussion.

Heather said...

I hope chivalry is dead. I would much prefer people to be polite to each other because it is the right thing to do rather than due to the gender of the other person. I would much rather be treated as an equal who can contribute to both household and conversation than a delicate thing that needs to be wrapped in paper to keep from being broken. So you can keep chivalry, and I'll continue to hold doors open for anyone, male or female, who has their hands full or is coming in after me or going out before me. I can pull out my own chair and order my own dinner. Thanks a bunch.

Lily said...

I agree, courtesy should be extended both ways. I agree that people should be polite because it is the right thing to do. But I also think that manners are a forgotten art. There is nothing demeaning about men acting like men and women acting like women. In fact it makes things very pleasant for all involved.