Bella Mezzacapo photojournalist
Chivalry: the medieval knightly system with its religious, moral, and social code. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, to be chivalrous is to be very polite, honest, and kind, especially by men toward women. In today’s day and age, we commonly hear the words “chivalry is dead,” but so what if it is?
Chivalry, in general and in romance, is completely outdated and is only evident in medieval times. Truth be told, chivalry in its entirety died with the rise of modern concepts such as feminism and the realization that women need to be treated as equals to men. So, when we hear people, typically women, say that “chivalry is dead,” is that such a bad thing?
Simply put, no. Today, people do not necessarily need chivalric care and men are seldom equipped to provide it anyway, and that’s okay! But what does that mean for romance?
Men, you may be wondering “what do I do now?” Have no fear, just keep being you! Seeing as you probably have not slayed any dragons or have had to let your partner know that you care for them through an honor duel, you probably were never chivalrous to begin with.
Chivalry was simply a code of conduct and a standard held for knights. We should not be holding men to this standard. We are in 2022, not the age of King Arthur. With that, court your partner however you see fit, see what works and what doesn’t. Just be respectful and genuine. This goes for all genders, and sexual orientations, not just the straight, cisgender male.
When chivalry was the norm, a lot of things were not evident in society like they are today. For example: men were dominant over women, there was a lack of same-sex relationships due to the heavy amounts of toxic Christianity that deemed it “sinful,” and being transgender was kept a secret. So, it just does not make sense for chivalry to be evident in our society today. It is outdated and just wrong because not only does it deem women inferior, but it disregards anyone who is not cisgender or straight. So, to hell with chivalry, let it be dead.
There are some things we can learn from chivalry and its death, though. If you are going to help someone, help them because they are a person who could use some help, not because you think they need you to be their knight in shining armor, and especially not if you are expecting something in return. It may have once been customary for a man to throw down his jacket for a woman to walk across a puddle, as we have seen in some movies, but I would be entirely repulsed if someone were to do that for me. Some may find it flattering, but I would feel that I am being seen as helpless and inferior to the man.
Overall, a lot has changed since chivalry was born, and that is why it has died. However, that does not mean that you can’t treat your partner or someone you’re interested in with respect and be a good person in general. It just means that you should be doing so out of the goodness of your heart rather than to land a partner.