Ever been on a date, and on arrival at the location of your date you (being female) wait for your date (being male) to hold the door open for you. Maybe he does and you like it, maybe he doesn’t and you do.
What is chivalry? Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is an informal, varying code of conduct developed between 1170 and 1220. It was associated with the medieval Christian institution of knighthood; knights’ and gentlemen’s behaviours were governed by chivalrous social codes. Even though it started as a sort of moral code or compass for knights of the early church to follow or live by it has evolved to mean most times how a man should treat a lady, especially one whom he fancies.
Don’t call me a feminist yet, I believe in equality for both men and women, putting into consideration that we may be different physically but we can be aspirationally equal. Let me break this down, what do I mean by this, if a boy should be made to go to school, so should a girl, if a girl is made to learn how to cook so should a boy, if a girl should be told if you don’t do things a certain way no man would want to marry you so should a boy.
Aspirationally, men and women should be able to accomplish anything they want and not be forced into any gender role defined boxes. It makes me happy when I see male nurses or female pilots, we need more of those in the world if you ask me.
So what does chivalry have to do with femininity? Let me add that femininity isn’t mutually exclusive from feminism, even though early feminists felt the need to move away from the norm so they would dress up in baggy clothes and not wear make up just to emphasize that women were more than just having a pretty appearance. The crux of being feminist however entails being able to be whatever it is you want, as long as it’s what you want.
Chivalry is dead is a term used by most people to mean that men don’t act as courteously as they used to maybe by holding doors open for women, offering a shivering woman your jacket, holding an umbrella for a woman when it’s raining and many other things.
Many people might take all these acts to mean that chivalry is the sworn enemy of feminism, cause it paints a woman out to be this helpless being that needs saving or protecting.
I think both preconceived notions are wrong, I would like to live in a world where everyone was chivalrous, both men and women. Yes, I said it, I want us to have chivalrous women. This would mean everyone was polite, everyone was courteous, everyone was just, generous and treated equally. It’s funny I should end my previous statement with the word “equal”, which is the bedrock for which feminism is built.
This world already has too many things dividing us, race, socio-economic status, height 😁, how about for once we don’t look for another thing that is dividing us so we don’t have another battle of the sexes on our hands, instead let’s acknowledge that both things, by this I mean chivalry and feminism, actually have similarities, wouldn’t you want to live in a world that had humility, justice, courage, gratitude, generosity, discipline and most importantly EQUALITY.
I know I might have said I you shouldn’t call me feminist yet, at the beginning of this article, but right now I change my mind, I am a chivalrous feminist, even though I am not completely sure what that means right now I know i can be both.
-Eguono Ruth Ovie