Feminist Chivalry…?

chivalry2In this modern age many women and men mourn the death of chivalry, many blaming feminism for its demise. On the other side of the coin many feminists celebrate the “death” of chivalry, seeing it as the advent of an age where women and men can be one step closer to equality, at least in terms of dating. This is certainly how I felt, until I became interested in the concept of chivalry and did a little research of my own. The days of men being obligated to open doors for women, pay for every date, and so on certainly should be on their way out… but what many of us fail to realize is this isn’t chivalry.

While there is no one definition of chivalry I have found some fairly authoritative summaries, via  a University of Maryland professor’s research, that has lead me to believe that chivalry, true chivalry, may (a) not be completely dead as a social practice and (b) may actually hold a great deal of merit.  Chivalry isn’t dead, not even close, its alive and well, and its growing to fit the times.

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First off, chivalry is not what most people think it is. The following are the “Ten Commandments of the Code of Chivalry” which come from Chivalry, by Leon Gautier:

knight1. Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches, and shalt observe all its directions.
2. Thou shalt defend the Church.
3. Thou shalt repect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
4. Thou shalt love the country in the which thou wast born.
5. Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
6. Thou shalt make war against the Infidel without cessation, and without mercy.
7. Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
8. Thou shalt never lie, and shall remain faithful to thy pledged word.
9. Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone.
10. Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.

Now, of course, the benefit of following this code  is just as questionable as the idea we actually follow these ten rules as a general culture in this century… luckily these rules, generally, are not what people mean when they refer to chivalry. Semantics aside, the ‘art courtly love’ is what we’re actually referring to when we think of door-opening, check-paying chivalry in all of its patriarchal glory. This courtly love/chivalry may not exist in the  form that it did when knights still dueled and fought for their king… but that’s not to say the positive aspects of “chivalrous love” are gone! In fact, I would argue that many feminists (and other people) naturally follow a sort of adapted form of “chivalry” every day…

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From The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus:

  1. Thou shalt avoid avarice like the deadly pestilence and shalt embrace its opposite.
  2. Thou shalt keep thyself chaste for the sake of her whom thou lovest.
  3. Thou shalt not knowingly strive to break up a correct love affair that someone else is engaged in.
  4. Thou shalt not chose for thy love anyone whom a natural sense of shame forbids thee to marry.
  5. Be mindful completely to avoid falsehood.
  6. Thou shalt not have many who know of thy love affair.
  7. Being obedient in all things to the commands of ladies, thou shalt ever strive to ally thyself to the service of Love.
  8. In giving and receiving love’s solaces let modesty be ever present.
  9. Thou shalt speak no evil.
  10. Thou shalt not be a revealer of love affairs.
  11. Thou shalt be in all things polite and courteous.
  12. In practising the solaces of love thou shalt not exceed the desires of thy lover.

Now, I will admit that some of these values are no longer pertinent in today’s society. For instance…

(Rule 2) Feminism  advocates for a person’s freedom to develop their own values when it comes to sex. The feminism I know does try to do away with the idea of “chastity” or “purity” because it is one that is damaging to women (and men, to a lesser degree), but I believe the spirit of this rule, that one should abide by their own personal morality regarding sex and respect their bodies and their needs before seeking love, is one that remains strong within the feminist movement.

(Rule 4) This one bothers me, because I don’t understand where this natural sense of “shame” is supposed to come from but, if we take this at face value I believe it is important to be proud of the one that you’re with and the relationship you have, regardless of what that relationship is like.

(Rule 6) Discretion is good and certainly it is not nice to go around bragging about a love affair (one night stand, hookup, whatever…) but I believe in this day and age we have moved to a place where one can be open about their sexuality, and their hookups, while still being respectful. For instance, I am fairly candid about my own sexuality, relationships, and actions because I believe it is important to challenge society’s notions of purity and expectations for women through my own, personal experience as well as advocacy ( the personal is political!)

(Rule 10) This one confuses me – I think revealing anyone else’s business is wrong (gossip!) but in certainsituations (like an actual love affair that involves someone being cheated on) it can be the right thing to do.

Most of these rules, on the other hand, make sense and are more-or-less feminist values. For instance…

(Rule 1)  Avarice (greed) is something that feminism advocates against for sure. Learning to be truly generous by giving up my privledge as much as possible, is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned through my involvement with the feminist movement. As a white, heterosexually inclined female I am afforded a great deal of privledge in my daily life; feminism advises us to be aware of our privilege (whatever it may be: skin color, ableism, gender expression, romantic preferences, sexual preferences, wealth, etc.) and to try our best to give that privilege up by raising  those who are kept down to give us that privilege up to the same level we are on. This is perhaps one of the hardest concepts to actually bring into action, but the daily struggle with privledge is a noble and generous thing… and is certainly a life choice that leads one away from avarice.

(Rule 3) This one goes, really, without saying. Its a fairly accepted social value not to mess with someone else’s relationship. I honestly even like use of the term “correct” here because, the truth is I have tried to get a friend out of a relationship that was “incorrect” in the sense that her partner was abusive. There is, however, an important caveat to this: it is always important to remember that your idea of a “correct” relationship may not be someone elses idea, it is important to let peope make their own decisions so long as those decisions are not harming anyone in an objective way.

(Rule 5) Most people agree lying is bad (though that d0esn’t stop many from doing it.)

(Rule 7) Here’s where it gets a little sticky. I believe we can, at this point, ignore the first part (I mean, honestly, were men ever truly 100% obedient to the commands of ladies? I think not – most people recognize the need to be obiedient to their own wishes above all, I doubt knights were much different) but the spirit of this rule – ally thyself to the service of Love – is a beautiful and noble one. To ally thyself to the service of love is to promote loving onesself and others in your every action and word – and what could be better than a world full of people working to activley defend and create love?

(Rule 8 ) Modesty, to a degree, is also a wonderful trait to have. Be proud of your accomplisments, of course, but be modest enough to acknowledge the accomplisments and wisdom of others too.

(Rule 9) Again, never speaking evil is a noble (if rarely achieved) goal.

(Rule 11) Nothing wrong with being polite.

(Rule 12) Amen. If all people lived by this creed we wouldn’t have issues with sexual assault – its hearteneing, in a way, to know that the concept of consent was (at least in concept) a part of even midevial value systems.

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What true chivalry seems to boil down to, at least to me, is empowerment. Knights were taught to respect others and their wishes, to be generous, honest, and kind; while this belief system isn’t perfect, it certainly mirrors the value system I see many feminists (and other wonderful people) practicing in this century. Chivalry isn’t dead; the kind of chivalry that people see as dead was never real chivalry, which cannot be boiled down to simply treating women as if they need to be waited on… real chivalry has been alive and well all along hiding under the common decency that should be expected of everyone, male or female.

[ETA: In many ways this post says it better than I can.]

17 thoughts on “Feminist Chivalry…?

  1. I don’t agree that the original meaning of an English word is somehow still the “true” meaning of it.

    English is a language that is ever-changing (especially since as long ago as the middle ages) and the definitions of words can shift entirely. For example, the word hussy used to mean housewife and had no negative connotations to it. housewife is not the true meaning of hussy. It’s the old meaning of it. That meaning no longer holds.

    When people say chivalry now, it unambiguously means men opening doors for women and picking up the check on dates. It does not have anything to do with defending the church or keeping secret one’s love affairs.

    Consensus is what gives meaning to a word, after all.

    That said, I celebrate the dying of chivalry. It is a sexist and condescending relic and should be replaced by mutual respect, politeness, and giving.

    Just as often as men open doors for women, women should be opening doors for men. Just as often as men pick up the check on a date, women should be picking up the check on dates. While we’re at it, though, we also have to make sure women have enough money to pick up the check and stop underpaying women for the same work. We have to stop giving het women the message that a good man is one who is chivalrous.

    I think there is a lot of pressure in the het dating scene for women to look on men as dogs who do not pick up the tab on a first date and a lot of pressure for men to pick up the tab lest they come off as dogs.

  2. Before I start to explain myself I would just like to thank you; I appreciate your thoughtful and lengthy response!

    While I understand that definitions of words can and do shift, does that necessarily mean it is a good thing? There is a large consensus of Americans that equate the word gay with stupid, does that mean we have to accept it? No.

    I wrote this post so people could understand that the sexist, unbalanced chivalry they mourn is just a small fraction of what true chivalry was. I had hoped that people, especially those who are sad that “chivalry is dead” would read this and take on a new concept of the true idea of chivalry – one that respects both men and women as equals.

    “That said, I celebrate the dying of chivalry. It is a sexist and condescending relic and should be replaced by mutual respect, politeness, and giving.”

    The article I wrote essentially argues that the original rules of “courtly love” (which is where people get their misguided idea of chivalry from) advocate for mutual respect, politeness, and giving. I aknowledge that there are some parts that are antiquated and sexist, but overwhelmingly these rules seem to be a good way to live.

    If a person wants to live a chivalrous lifestyle they could do much worse than following the “rules” highlighted in blue above – “rules” that lead to mutual respect, generosity, and so on.

    Maybe I’m clinging to a word I should just let go of, instead of trying to CHANGE the definition to something good, I don’t know, but its certainly something to think about.

  3. Good post. Your study and writing_Great.
    As a child, my father, a retired army Colonel, instructed me in the Ten Commandments of the Code of Chivalry.

    To this day, I try to put in use his training and gentle instructions. This works. Also, we open doors, offer our seats, walk closer to on-coming traffic and etc..Not chivalry…just courtesy.

    Thanks!

    Phil Edwards

  4. Courtesy is great in my opinion if its expected of both genders equally. I open doors for people whenever I get to the door first and I offer my seat to those who I see and struggling or tired. I think these are nice gestures coming from both genders, so long as the recipient actually WANTS the door opened for them or the seat given.

    My belief is that if everyone lives by these principles we can take them back from their patriarchal roots and turn them into the courtesy that everyone should show one another, simply as human beings.

  5. There is a simple solution to keep everyone happy: treat feminists and men with equal courtesy and offer ladies chivalry. Feminists get the equality they demand and ladies get the courtesy they prefer.

  6. I guess I just don’t understand the difference between courtesy and chivalry…? I mean, I open doors for everyone if I get to them first, offer to help someone out when it seems they are struggling (regardless of gender), etc. Wouldn’t the best solution just be treating everyone with equal courtesy?

  7. Courtesy is what men do for other man. It’s basic courtesy but doesn’t go out of its way. For example, men will seldom buy another man a meal, a drink or anything else, or open a door for him other than not allowing it to slam in his face. A man won’t trudge through ice, snow, or mud to pull the car up for another man regardless of what kind of shoes he happens to be wearing. If he’s carrying something heavy, unless he’s seriously straining, he will let him carry it himself.

    However, most women want to be treated like ladies, which means we will simply treat them with more courtesy than we offer to other men. And, men are not the least bit offended.

    Again, I have no problem with treating feminists with the same (equal) courtesy I offer to men, and non-feminists like ladies. That becomes a win for everyone, and makes this whole thing a non-issue.

  8. Like I said in the post above, chivalry is problematic in its roots because it comes from the assumption that women are weaker than men and NEED protection. You’ll notice that it is also incredibly heteronormative, as it was adapted from the “Art of Courtly Love” which only covers romantic relationships between men and women. In the reality that we face today your explanation is incredibly reductionist in many ways…

    Many people (men and women) treat men with much more courtesy than you are giving them credit for. I have plenty of make friends who open doors for other men, will offer to help them carry something, etc. just because they’re nice people. Same with women! Not everyone in this world follows the rules that you are claiming “is what men do for other man.”

    In this post I make the argument that chivalry is a concept with merits – if it is applied evenly regardless of gender. What could you possibly have to say against EVERYONE showing the people around them (men and women) a little more kindness as opposed to this silly idea of only helping people out if they fit into a certain box?

  9. Chivalry’s roots are largely irrelevant since the average guy who opens a door for his date isn’t thinking about or know what chivalry was about hundreds of years ago. And, last I heard men generally were physically stronger than women.

    Where exactly did I even use the word “kindness” let alone express a problem with it being shown.

    I haven’t seen too many men offer to buy a stranger man a drink just to be nice nor to open his car door and make sure he gets in safely or fetching the car so that he doesn’t have to walk through the snow. Nonetheless, I don’t control what others do, nor do you. We can only control what we individually do.

    Your statement: “What could you possibly have to say against EVERYONE showing the people around them (men and women) a little more kindness as opposed to this silly idea of only helping people out if they fit into a certain box?”

    When did I even use the word “kindness”, let alone say that people should not show it?

    You seem to want to force people to act as you see fit for them rather than allowing them to choose how they want to live. That’s where we differ. I believe men should be free to offer chivalry to women who prefer it, which is most, whether their reasons meet your or my approval or not.

  10. Chivalry’s roots are hardly irrelevant, since they are part of the past that that informs the attitude of benevolent sexism… the idea that men are supposed to perform these actions has to come from SOMEWHERE and that somewhere is a sexist belief system that is most often presented in modern times as being “a gentleman.” Being a “gentleman” means taking care of “ladies” because “ladies” shouldn’t have to do things like open doors or pay bills for themselves. Why is that? What is it about “ladies” that merits this treatment? Men are most often thought that “ladies” have merited this treatment because they are delicate and they want to be taken care of and fawned over. Regardless of what you say this lesson that many boys are taught put the idea into their head that women are not as strong as they are… an idea that eventually helps to bolster the idea that women just aren’t “cut out for” fast-paced careers, the military, politics, whatever.

    Basically, our actions don’t exist in a vacuum, we do them because of the beliefs that we are raised with/adopt and I happen to think that chivalry is based on a fairly fucked up set of beliefs.

    I don’t want to force anyone to do anything but THINK. By dodging my questions and brushing off the implications behind your actions you are refusing to take a critical look at your beliefs system and that is frustrating to me. It is true though; I’d much rather live in a world where people were simply kind (chivalrous, whatever) to other people because they feel they ought to be, rather than only going out of their way to be kind to women because they feel they ought to.

  11. OK, this is one part of the reason so many women reject feminism. Statements such as “. . . . a sexist belief system that is most often presented in modern times as being “a gentleman.”

    Only feminists believe that being a gentleman is sexist. The rest of us think it’s just a nice thing to do, ESPECIALLY women. Sorry, you will simply never convince most women that they shouldn’t be treated like ladies.

    “Being a “gentleman” means taking care of “ladies” because “ladies” shouldn’t have to do things like open doors or pay bills for themselves.”

    “Men are most often thought that “ladies” have merited this treatment because they are delicate and they want to be taken care of and fawned over.”

    Lots of women do like being treated that way. Why do you want to rip this from them against their wishes? Why do you feel that you know better than other women themselves what they should and should not get?

    “Regardless of what you say this lesson that many boys are taught put the idea into their head that women are not as strong as they are… an idea that eventually helps to bolster the idea that women just aren’t “cut out for” fast-paced careers, the military, politics, whatever.”

    Only feminists think that way. But, again, I’m happy to treat feminists like men. That’s what they want, that’s what they get from me. No problem. Other women, the majority, disagree with you. Sorry.

    “I don’t want to force anyone to do anything but THINK”

    You want to force them to THINK like you. They don’t want to. Sorry, they just don’t agree, and it’s very insulting to contend that you know so much better than the majority of womankind.

    “By dodging my questions and brushing off the implications behind your actions you are refusing to take a critical look at your beliefs system and that is frustrating to me.” I’ve heard this argument before. If you are a college student, I heard it long before you did.

    “It is true though; I’d much rather live in a world where people were simply kind (chivalrous, whatever) to other people because they feel they ought to be, rather than only going out of their way to be kind to women because they feel they ought to.”

    Oh well. You’ve got your work cut out for you in convincing women that being treated like a “lady”, with chivalry, is a bad thing.

  12. Talking to you is about as productive as bashing my head repeatedly into a wall. I have already addressed your first point, so let me just copy & paste it in here to give you another chance to read it:

    You said: “Lots of women do like being treated that way. Why do you want to rip this from them against their wishes? Why do you feel that you know better than other women themselves what they should and should not get?”

    I said: “That’s been my point all along: chivalrous acts opening doors, paying, what have you are FINE so long as they’ve been negotiated within the context of the relationship (not that you have to draw up a contract but, for instance, maybe having a conversation when the check comes where you decide who wants to foot the bill). When these acts are done because they make all people involved happy, that’s great… when they’re done indiscriminately because of the historically sexist ideals of chivalry, not so great.” [Comment 34, Feminist Dating.]

    “Only feminists think that way.”

    Only feminists think what way? This is the most bullshit excuse I’ve ever heard for dismissing a valid argument, to be honest. Prove to me that women are not conceptualized by most people as weaker than men (intellectually, temperamentally, and physically) and that these conceptions are not actually based primarily on socialization and THEN we can talk. It’s not just feminists that think this way… its psychologists who have done studies, sociologists, authors, professional women, etc. Most people who think this way are feminists, sure, but that’s because once you realize how fucked up this social structure is you want to do something about it… thus, feminism.

    “You want to force them to THINK like you.”

    And you want to force people to THINK like you… why else would you still be here, forty comments later, repeating the same handful of points to me?

    “It’s very insulting to contend that you know so much better than the majority of womankind.”

    I never contended anything of the sort… you seem to assume that you know how ALL men treat one another, as well as how all feminist women and all non-feminist women want to be treated… you’re coming off just a bit more pompous than me there.

    “I’ve heard this argument before. If you are a college student, I heard it long before you did.”

    Great, but you’re still dodging points… for instance, the issue of heteronormativity. I feel like a broken record bringing it up over, and over but… you’re not even acknowledging, let alone addressing it. You may have “heard this argument before” but clearly you dismissed it without consideration because you’re still only addressing the points you WANT to address.

    “Oh well. You’ve got your work cut out for you in convincing women that being treated like a “lady”, with chivalry, is a bad thing.”

    And by that, you mean I have my work cut out for me convincing EVERYONE that treating other people with kindness (chivalry, whatever) regardless of gender is a bad thing. The interaction I advocate wouldn’t take anything from “ladies” or feminists or whatever other categories you want to lump women in… it would simply consist of people going out of their way to be kind to people, as opposed to just men going out of their way to be kind to women (but not other men). Nothing changes for the “ladies” and the men get treated nicely too… what the fuck is wrong with that?

  13. “Talking to you is about as productive as bashing my head repeatedly into a wall. I have already addressed your first point, so let me just copy & paste it in here to give you another chance to read it”

    I can easily cut and paste several comments from this and the other thread where you contradict yourself by criticizing “chivalry” being offered to OTHER women, not yourself. You refer to it as “sexist”, an opinion to which you are entitled, but one that is shared by feminists only.

    “Only feminists think what way? This is the most bullshit excuse I’ve ever heard for dismissing a valid argument, to be honest.”

    The argument is valid in your opinion. Of course, you are entitled to hold whatever opinion you want. Lots of luck in convincing the majority of women who don’t agree.

    “Prove to me that women are not conceptualized by most people as weaker than men (intellectually, temperamentally, and physically) and that these conceptions are not actually based primarily on socialization and THEN we can talk.”

    HAHA! It’s your argument to prove that they are. Be sure to include evidence that women and men are equally physically strong on average.

    “It’s not just feminists that think this way… its psychologists who have done studies, sociologists, authors, professional women, etc.” Who generally are feminists.

    “Most people who think this way are feminists, sure, but that’s because once you realize how fucked up this social structure is you want to do something about it… thus, feminism.”

    There you go again projecting feminism’s arrogant claim of intellectual superiority.

    “And you want to force people to THINK like you… why else would you still be here, forty comments later, repeating the same handful of points to me?”

    No, they already think like me – that everyone should make their own choices. Feminists want to be treated like men. Fine, no problem. Non-feminists want to be treated like ladies. Great.

    “You seem to assume that you know how ALL men treat one another, as well as how all feminist women and all non-feminist women want to be treated… you’re coming off just a bit more pompous than me there.”

    Not at all. I’ve got a lot more experience being a man than you, so I know very well how men treat each other.

    “Great, but you’re still dodging points… for instance, the issue of heteronormativity. I feel like a broken record bringing it up over, and over but… you’re not even acknowledging, let alone addressing it.”

    What do you want me to address? That human bodies were not designed for heterosexual intercourse rather than male on male anal intercourse? Sorry, they were. That women aren’t the ones who should breast feed babies. Sorry, that’s the way it works. That the human race can only continue if men and women mate, not women and women, and men and men? If not for our opposite sex parents no humans would exist.

    “And by that, you mean I have my work cut out for me convincing EVERYONE that treating other people with kindness (chivalry, whatever) regardless of gender is a bad thing.”

    “The interaction I advocate wouldn’t take anything from “ladies” or feminists or whatever other categories you want to lump women in… it would simply consist of people going out of their way to be kind to people, as opposed to just men going out of their way to be kind to women (but not other men).”

    OK, lots of luck in convincing men to buy drinks for men they’ve never met, helping other men on with their coats, buying other men dinner, pulling out chairs for other men, opening car doors for other men, pulling the car up for other men so they don’t have to walk through the snow, stopping to help other men change a tire, etc.

    If some men want that from other men, that’s their right and I have no problem with it. Good luck in convincing men to treat each other that way.

  14. “I can easily cut and paste several comments from this and the other thread where you contradict yourself by criticizing “chivalry” being offered to OTHER women, not yourself. You refer to it as “sexist”, an opinion to which you are entitled, but one that is shared by feminists only.”

    I have maintained, this whole time, that I make a distinction between intention, not action. This means, as I have said at least eight times now, that I don’t have any issue with the actions (opening a door, paying a tab, whatever) being done for ANYONE when they are done out of courtesy and kindness, instead of the fucked up notion of chivalry. What this means is that, in real life, outside of theoretical discussions I don’t criticize anyone for doing another person a kindness… the only time I get into this discussion is when someone either asks me how I feel about chivalry, or makes a statement that implies these attitudes (i.e. “I’m the man here, I should handle that for you”) at which point I simply make MY FEELINGS about chivalry clear and, yes, I will deny the help for myself if I feel it comes from sexist motivations.
    “HAHA! It’s your argument to prove that they are.” Google is your friend, I’m not going to do your work for you. I think the fact that women are paid less, often hold far less prominent positions in major companies, make up a small minority of our government (despite being the majority in the population as a whole), etc. is evidence enough that some sort of systemic oppression is going on.

    As for the strength thing: I have no numbers, you’d shown me no numbers either… but since our society is currently based far less on physical strength than it is on mental ability. Plus, most people are capable of opening doors… even less-muscular “ladies.” So I hardly see how that’s relevant here. Bottom line: You’re on my blog, if you want to make a point I’m going to ask you to have evidence.

    “Feminists want to be treated like men. Fine, no problem. Non-feminists want to be treated like ladies. Great.”

    Feminists want to be treated like PEOPLE… meaning we’d like to be looked at as individuals with individual abilities as opposed to being judged based on our gender. NEWSFLASH: Most ladies, feminists or not, feel this way too. Plenty of women would like to be independent (and plenty of them want to be pampered, and plenty want something in between) just like plenty of men would like to be pampered (and plenty want to be independent, and plenty in-between.) For someone who has such a disdain for feminism, you certainly pretend to know a lot about what feminists want.

    “Not at all. I’ve got a lot more experience being a man than you, so I know very well how men treat each other. “

    You know how men treat you, and how you treat other men. For everything else I am just as knowledgeable as you because we’re equally capable of observing the way that other people treat one another.

    “What do you want me to address? That human bodies were not designed for heterosexual intercourse rather than male on male anal intercourse? Sorry, they were. That women aren’t the ones who should breast feed babies. Sorry, that’s the way it works. That the human race can only continue if men and women mate, not women and women, and men and men? If not for our opposite sex parents no humans would exist.”

    Why am I not surprised that you’re homophobic too? I’m not even going to address your homophobic bullshit, because that’s all it is: bullshit. I do have to ask though, where the hell did this come from: “That women aren’t the ones who should breast feed babies. Sorry, that’s the way it works.”? What does breastfeeding have to do with being LGB?

    The reason I bring this point up is simple: First off, I was trying to figure out where bisexual, lesbian, and asexual women fit into your “feminists” vs. “ladies” dichotomy… because once you bring queer relationships into the mix, the conversation about chivalry muddles because you have to acknowledge that at least some of it is motivated by a desire to get into someone’s heart/pants/whatever. The same behaviors tend to exist within queer relationships (except they’re much more divorced from their roots, obviously, since the male/female dichotomy is not in play). Your assumptions that ALL women want this attention from men (unless they’re feminists) kind of ignores the fact that some women have no interest in men. Which leads me to wonder, again, why everyone being kind to everyone, regardless of gender, doesn’t make more sense to you too.

    “OK, lots of luck in convincing men to buy drinks for men they’ve never met, helping other men on with their coats, buying other men dinner, pulling out chairs for other men, opening car doors for other men, pulling the car up for other men so they don’t have to walk through the snow, stopping to help other men change a tire, etc.

    If some men want that from other men, that’s their right and I have no problem with it. Good luck in convincing men to treat each other that way.”

    Or could I have been implying that *gasp* sometimes women could buy drinks for some guy or girl they’d like to get to know (because let’s not kid ourselves, chivalrous guys don’t go around buying drinks for every girl in the bar, they buy drinks for the girl(s) they want to date or do.) You act like these acts are *random* and done without the expectation of some reward… both of these things are untrue.

    I find it telling that when I say *people* should treat other *people* kindly, regardless of gender you only seem to hear me talking about the way *men* should treat other *men*. Just for reference when I say people I mean everyone: men, women, feminists, ladies… whatever categories you come up with, that’s who I’m talking about.

  15. “the fucked up notion of chivalry.”

    That’s how you feel about it, and that’s fine. Why do you insist on shoving your extreme views down the throats of the vast majority of women who strongly disagree with that statement? It’s views such as those that turn so many women off to feminism.

    “I will deny the help for myself if I feel it comes from sexist motivations.”

    What you perceive as “sexist motivations” which, again, is not shared by most women or men. Live your life as you see fit and everyone else should live theirs as they see fit. Deal?

    “Google is your friend, I’m not going to do your work for you.”

    MY work? I don’t have any work that I don’t get paid to do. Most women feel that your views are wacko and they reject them. It’s your job to convince them about “the fucked up notion of chivalry.” Good luck!

    I think the fact that women are paid less often, hold far less prominent positions in major companies, make up a small minority of our government (despite being the majority in the population as a whole), etc. is evidence enough that some sort of systemic oppression is going on.

    Let me be clear that any form of discrimination is wrong, be it sex, race, religion, whatever. However, you are determined to force women to do what they haven’t chosen to do and claiming discrimination for free will choices. For example, how many women ran for President or Vice President during the last election? Answer: Less than 5%.

    How can you expect them to comprise 50% of the elected officials if they aren’t 50% of the candidates? If women choose to run for office far less often, and if women are the majority of voters, who are discriminating against them?

    Similarly, women choose to give birth and takes months or years off to care for their children. I recommend you research Norway and Sweden, which have both gone to extreme measures to enforce gender equality, and STILL women choose far more often to work part time, work lower stress jobs, run for political office less, and not work at all more often. No matter how hard feminists try, they simply can’t force women to behave like men 100%. We are simply different in too many ways.

    “As for the strength thing: I have no numbers, you’d shown me no numbers either… but since our society is currently based far less on physical strength than it is on mental ability. Plus, most people are capable of opening doors… even less-muscular “ladies.” So I hardly see how that’s relevant here.”

    I agree that physical strength has nothing to do with opening doors. However, I was addressing your ridiculous statement that men and women are physically equal.

    “Bottom line: You’re on my blog, if you want to make a point I’m going to ask you to have evidence.”

    Evidence of what? That men are in general bigger and stronger than women? Fine.

    From Wikipedia article on “Gender Differences”:

    “Men’s unique physical advantages in term of body size and upper body strength provided them an edge over women in those social activities that demanded such physical attributes such as hunting, herding and warfare. On the other hand, women’s biological capacity for reproduction and child-rearing is proposed to explain their limited involvement in other social activities. Such divided activity arrangement for the purpose of achieving activity-efficiency led to the division of labor between sexes.”

    “Feminists want to be treated like PEOPLE… meaning we’d like to be looked at as individuals with individual abilities as opposed to being judged based on our gender.”

    If you don’t want your door opened or whatever, just say so. But, don’t force that onto other women who do. Follow?

    “For someone who has such a disdain for feminism, you certainly pretend to know a lot about what feminists want.”

    You’ve made it clear how feminists feel about: “the fucked up notion of chivalry.”
    Fine, none for feminists. I have no problem with that.

    “You know how men treat you, and how you treat other men. For everything else I am just as knowledgeable as you because we’re equally capable of observing the way that other people treat one another.”

    So, that gives me a 20+ more years of experience about how men are treated than you have.

    “Why am I not surprised that you’re homophobic too?”

    Homophobia means to be afraid of homosexuals; I’m not. My next door neighbors are gay and we get along just fine. But, if you want me to argue against biology, sorry I believe what science says.

    What does breastfeeding have to do with being LGB?

    You didn’t say anything about LBG, you used the term “heteronormative”, which suggests a rejection of gender roles. Sorry, biology dictates some things, no matter how much you fight against it. Biology dictates that humanity requires the mating of males and females to continue the existence of the species.

    “The reason I bring this point up is simple: First off, I was trying to figure out where bisexual, lesbian, and asexual women fit into your “feminists” vs. “ladies” dichotomy. I didn’t make a connection between them.

    Feminists (as is their right) reject chivalry and gender roles (hence, they often object to the term “lady”, “ladylike”, etc.)
    “ . . .you have to acknowledge that at least some of it is motivated by a desire to get into someone’s heart/pants/whatever.”

    Not necessarily. Oftentimes it’s simply being courteous.

    “Your assumptions that ALL women want this attention from men (unless they’re feminists) kind of ignores the fact that some women have no interest in men.”

    When did I EVER say “ALL women?”

    “Which leads me to wonder, again, why everyone being kind to everyone, regardless of gender, doesn’t make more sense to you too.”

    I am kind to men everyday, including my co-workers, family members, and even strangers. But, sorry, I am simply not going to treat them like ladies nor do I want them to treat me that way. Most men and women agree with me. Not sure why how other people live their lives bothers you. Tell people what you want and don’t want and leave it at that.

    “You act like these acts are *random* and done without the expectation of some reward… both of these things are untrue.”

    The buying of drinks often does have an ulterior motive but not all chivalry does; nonetheless, women like it. They just do.

    “I find it telling that when I say *people* should treat other *people* kindly, regardless of gender you only seem to hear me talking about the way *men* should treat other.”

    I think that people should do what they feel is right, regardless of my opinion. This does not mean to treat men badly, just that some men prefer to treat ladies with chivalrous courtesy because we and they like it, and other men totally understand and respect that. Live and let live, OK?

  16. This conversation is turning into Sexist Bingo… I wanna play!

    Sexist Trope #1 You’re an extremist who wants to control everyone else’s lives!!1!!11

    Example: “Why do you insist on shoving your extreme views down the throats of the vast majority of women who strongly disagree with that statement?”

    I wasn’t aware that having an opinion and blogging about it on my own personal blog counted as shoving something down anyone’s throat… clearly now that I know this I’ll just shut down the whole operation. Or you know…. not. The day you see me tackling women away from doors opened by men, or tying them down and forcing them to read my blog… well, then this point would be vaild but right now? No one (including you) has to look at what I wrote… if you feel your throat is in danger PLEASE, close the damn window.

    To quote myself, again, from before: ““That’s been my point all along: chivalrous acts opening doors, paying, what have you are FINE so long as they’ve been negotiated within the context of the relationship (not that you have to draw up a contract but, for instance, maybe having a conversation when the check comes where you decide who wants to foot the bill). When these acts are done because they make all people involved happy, that’s great… when they’re done indiscriminately because of the historically sexist ideals of chivalry, not so great.”

    That hardly seems like the words of someone intending on shoving “extremist” beliefs onto anyone.

    Sexist Trope #2 Women aren’t discriminated against; they just don’t want to be politicians, or executives, etc.

    Example: “How can you expect them to comprise 50% of the elected officials if they aren’t 50% of the candidates? If women choose to run for office far less often, and if women are the majority of voters, who are discriminating against them?”

    Why are women running for those positions less? That’s the question that has to be asked. Is it just that no one of them want to run… or is it because of the discrimination that exists at lower levels of the political system as well, and stops them from being able to rise high enough to run for those seats? Not to mention the fact that a large portion of American society will still say things like: “Were just not ready for a woman president.” As if judging a person’s ability based on nothing more than their anatomy is an intelligent, rational way of thinking.

    In short, you can’t just say: “Well, clearly women just don’t like politics/business/whatever…” and walk away if you actually want to look at the problem of discrimination. If you just want to dismiss someone’s very real concerns in an argument then it works just fine, but if you actually want to get to the bottom of a problem it’s a really crummy strategy.

    Sexist Trope #3 Feminist want everyone to be men.
    Example: “No matter how hard feminists try, they simply can’t force women to behave like men 100%. We are simply different in too many ways.”

    Or… maybe this hasn’t been achieved because this isn’t feminists’ goal… never has been, never will be. Thanks for playing, though.

    Sexist Trope #4 Small biological differences between average men & women are so fucking important!


    Example: “I agree that physical strength has nothing to do with opening doors. However, I was addressing your ridiculous statement that men and women are physically equal.”

    I stand by that statement – what I was saying was that in the modern world, slight differences in musculature are irrelevant because the average man and the average woman are BOTH up to performing the strength-related tasks that come up. In situations – like athletic competitions or the military – this changes, obviously, but that’s why the men AND women in this situation are all of above-average ability. (Also: Wikipedia, really? I would have thought you’d be better than that.)

    Sexist Trope #5 I’m not homophobic, I have a gay friend!

    Example: “Homophobia means to be afraid of homosexuals; I’m not. My next door neighbors are gay and we get along just fine. But, if you want me to argue against biology, sorry I believe what science says.”

    I’m just going to leave this here as evidence of what a massive douche you are. No need more commentary.

    BONUS ROUND: Laziness!

    Example: “You didn’t say anything about LBG”

    Yes I did :) This is why we look up words we don’t know the meaning of before responding to them. The term heteronormativity speaks about the privileging of heterosexual relationships… it has nothing to do with gender roles. For your reference: “HETERONORMATIVITY (heteronormative): Those punitive rules (social, familial, and legal) that force us to conform to hegemonic, heterosexual standards for identity. The term is a short version of “normative heterosexuality.”
    (Source)

    So yes, yes I did bring up the LGB community.

    Sexist Trope #6 Its not my fault that science says being gay is wrong.

    Example:“Biology dictates that humanity requires the mating of males and females to continue the existence of the species.”

    Yet queer people have existed as far back in history as you want to go… and humanity still continues to exist. Curious, isn’t it?

    Sexist Trope #7 All (non-feminist) women are the same… and they’re all totally receptive of/happy about men’s advances.


    Example: “Not necessarily. Oftentimes it’s simply being courteous.” “The buying of drinks often does have an ulterior motive but not all chivalry does; nonetheless, women like it. They just do.”

    Most times, especially when it involves a significant amount of effort or a monetary investment, it’s not simply courteous. Yes, some women like it (typically women who are attracted to the person doing the drink buying or whatever) but, for starters, since not all women are straight we can assume off the bat that at least some women will not appreciate this kind of attention.

    “When did I EVER say “ALL women?”
    When you grouped women into two categories: feminists and “ladies” and claimed that “feminists” as a whole rejected chivalry, while “ladies” all embraced it. It’s just not that simple.

    The bottom line: Not all “ladies” (or whatever we’re calling women who don’t identify as feminists) want your chivalrous attention… but typically, we’re not given the choice as men assume that we want to be treated in this way rather than asking first. Is it really that extremist for me to make the point that people should ask women if they want shit done for them before doing it rather than just assuming they will, based on their gender? ‘Cause that’s the point I have been making this whole time… chivalry, as a concept, isn’t a choice it’s an ideological obligation. The same acts, when applied based on individual preferences as opposed to gender are FINE BY ME. It’s just the concept that all men must do x,y, and z for all women that gets me.

    Seriously, I’m done with this argument. I hope you find a nice “lady” who will appreciate the attention that you heap on her, I really do. I hope she never finds out how much weaker you think women are, and I hope she is truly happy filling the gender roles you care so dearly about. I’m out though because, honestly, talking to you is just tedious… if you actually challenged me instead of trotting out the tired old tropes I’ve heard a million times before… maybe then I’d care to debate you (I do love a good debate) but this is just getting sad and boring.

  17. I’m no longer a college student with time to burn, so I won’t bother to take time to blow each of your points totally and completely out of the water, obliterating them!!!  Just kidding.

    So, let’s agree to live and let live. Cool? You tell guys you don’t want them opening your doors, helping you change a flat tire or whatever else – and non-feminists enjoy the experience of chivalry. As long as they are happy with it and are getting what they want, leave ‘em be.

    Thanks for letting me post on your blog. Feel free to have the last word – since (as you continue to point out) it IS YOUR blog. Out.

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