A sophomore at USC has learned an important fact at college: Chivalry is dead. And hairy feminists killed it.
His piece is fascinating, but not surprising, because he is the ultimate Nice Guy™. The premise is that he has this female friend who complained that chivalry is dead. He explains that feminism slayed chivalry, and that these whining bitches should turn to Nice Guys™ like him if they’re sick of men treating them poorly. You almost feel bad for him at the end because he comes across as incredibly insecure, but the insecurity is tinged with enough misogyny that the whole pity thing eventually goes out the window.
Upon returning from what I assumed, based on her flashing eyes and violent body language, to be an unsuccessful date, a friend of mine bitterly spat out a phrase I have come to recognize as the international anthem for disrespected and mistreated women everywhere: “Chivalry is dead.”
For years now, the cry has sounded from high towers, railroad tracks and marriages arranged for wealth rather than love. Ladies in desperate need of one decent knight are left to fend for themselves against dragons, dastardly mustached villains and boorish fathers.
OK, for the sake of argument I will grudgingly accept that there may be certain aspects of chivalry that belong in ye olde antiquity, and the needs of the fairer sex may have evolved since.
Yet there is still something resoundingly relevant about my friend’s particular choice of words. I took a minute to think about the object of my friend’s righteous passion – no doubt in a state of blissful ignorance – and came to a realization: It is not only the nature of the distress that has changed over the years; it is the damsel herself.
The truth is, there is no catalyst or inciting incident to explain the drastic changes in modern day relationships. But there is a simple answer. Chivalry passed on because it was no longer asked to exist. What my friend and all her fellow mourners fail to understand is that their outraged cry of bereaved nostalgia is misguided, or I should say, misdirected.
On July 19, 1848, a group of revolutionaries gathered in Seneca Falls, N.Y., and, shedding the feminine shackles of inferiority, began to pull the sword of equality from its historically misogynistic stone prison. What they did not consider at the time was the fatally double-edged nature of that sword. Along with the empowerment and individuality they so undoubtedly deserved came a complete rejection of all things classically feminine and a new phrase to make men shudder; “I can do it myself!”
It takes a special kind of man to shudder when he hears “I can do it myself!”
I try to be optimistic about the state of mankind, I really do. I know plenty of men who don’t feel that their masculinity is threatened by a woman who is self-sufficient; in fact, I know plenty of men who would rather find a woman who can be their partner than a woman who they have to take care of like an inept child. But when I read articles like this one over and over and over, I start to realize that I’m just surrounding myself with certain kinds of people, and that there are more Nice Guys™ and flat-out anti-feminist assholes out there than I like to think. To wit:
Women picked up their newfound freedom and ran full speed, tackling every man who stood between them and their sudden ability to open doors for themselves, or pay for their own dinners and movie tickets.
And so emerged a group of warrior princesses affectionately referred to as Feminazis; lean, mean, emasculating machines in power suits who proved to the world that women are intelligent, strong, capable and incredibly frightening. “I am woman, hear me roar!” they yelled.
And boy, did we hear them. In fact, upon encountering such strong resistance to its natural tendencies, chivalry did the, well, chivalrous thing and retreated.
Over the years the testosterone/estrogen balance was restored, and the modern dating-scape formed from amid the wreckage. Perhaps the new outlook was a response to the previous, or perhaps women were just tired after all that yelling.
The Nice Guy™ construction of masculinity is really fascinating. He wants women to be soft, feminine, and open to male control, and associates characteristics like intelligence and strength with men — when women adopt them, they’re emasculating. At the same time, men are apparently both prehistoric and extremely sensitive — they’re so weak that a woman in a power suit is enough to send them whimpering into a corner (or onto the op/ed pages of the Daily Trojan).
And wouldn’t you know it, the whole women-have-rights thing has turned the ladies into total sluts:
In either case, when the red tint of rage in her eyes faded and the vein in her neck eased, woman did not ask chivalry to come back. Instead, chivalry took advantage of the destruction of feminine stereotypes to fully access her needs, both sexually and romantically.
Without the age-old strictures forbidding harlotry and all other forms of public taboo, women became free to do what they wanted with whom they wanted without an inordinate amount of societal backlash or the need for a long-term relationship.
And yet the screams of bloody murder have not quieted. Males ranging from teenagers to the elderly are gaining notoriety as shallow, disrespectful, insensitive game players with ulterior motives. The funny thing is that for once, a heaping portion of that delicious blame does not belong on their plate. Because in the end, as Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” And permission is an incredibly relevant term nowadays.
As women, the traditional gatekeepers and pacesetters, collectively dropped their standards and engaged in commitment-free, purely physical relationships, they opened the door for the treatment that their behavior elicits.
When a guy is given the option to bypass courtship and gain entry without much effort, it takes no great Holmesian deduction to discover why proper treatment and respect fall by the wayside.
And when a woman is given the option to bypass being treated like property and actually consider herself a real human being fully invested with rights and liberties, it takes no great Holmesian deduction to discover why she’d rather open her own doors than go out with guys like Josh.
Did feminism kill chivalry? I don’t think so, but I wouldn’t complain if it did. There’s a difference between being chivalrous and being nice or polite. Opening a door for someone because you got to the door first is both nice and polite; making a huge production of opening a door for a woman in the hopes that she’ll see what a chivalrous dude you are and fuck you (and then getting all pissy when she doesn’t respond how you want her to) is not polite or nice. And that’s the thing with chivalry: It always demands something in return. If you’re being nice to me because you like me and you’re the kind of person who is nice to people you like, then that’s great. If you’re being nice to me because you’re hoping to get something out of it, or if you think you’re entitled to sex or a relationship with me because you were nice and “chivalrous,” you can go fuck yourself. See how that works?
Further, if you’re the kind of dude who thinks that women who have sex are “harlots” who are opening themselves up to poor treatment, don’t act shocked when women don’t want to sleep with you.
But that does not mean that chivalry cannot be resuscitated, or that it does not live on still in the hearts of a good number of men. And after listening to me prattle on in rebuttal to her no doubt unconscious remark, I think my friend may have gained a new perspective.
After all, there are women all over the world who have male confidants and close friends, but they never for once take a step back and realize that the person with whom they are constantly sharing their romantic woes is in fact - male.
And so to that widow of romance out there, when next the words seem about to spill unbidden from your lips, bite your tongue and look a little harder. You may have to seek, my lady, but ye shall find.
…and it all becomes clear. Josh likes this chick, and he’s mad that she would have the audacity to speak to him and then not fuck him — and after he was so nice to her! Clearly, it’s because all women are stupid sluts who have had their natural desire to submit to men destroyed by the evils of feminism.
Maybe one day Josh will find his princess — a Nice Girl who relies on him to change every light bulb and make every decision, who will never wear a power suit and who will defer to his authority. And should they ever get divorced, I’m sure he’ll be a proud MRA, complaining about how lazy bitches will take you for all you’re worth.
In other words, this entire column could have been summed up,
Please touch my penis.
And it would have been far less painless for all of us.
- Chivalry, again. by Jill April 13, 2006
- An Exercise in Illogic by Jill April 14, 2006
- After reading this article, castration indeed has begun to look appealing. by Jill June 9, 2009
- Germaine Greer Paints a Portrait of Transphobic Feminism by Cara August 22, 2009
- Target Women: Tough Love by Cara April 24, 2009