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Misogyny's other side: Chivalry
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Misogyny's other side: Chivalry:

 1 The Handle, Thu, 27th Sep '12 2:38:45 AM from Location, Location, Loca
I've been reading some old-fashioned works, and I'm rather curious about the sort of Dogged Nice Guy mentality that pervades chivalry values. Some women are offended by it, some appreciate the nice gestures, some feel entitled to them, and some "take advantage". Some men think it's a fool's game, others do it because they like to think of themselves as "gentlemen" (regardless of whether they have to work for a living), and others have been brought up that way and, like House Elves, may feel unhappy about not being humored. What are your experiences with chivalry? How do you feel about it? Is it noble? Is it stupid? Is it cool? Is it lame? Should it be promoted, or thrown into oblivion?

edited 27th Sep '12 2:39:01 AM by TheHandle

I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
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"Chivalry" means a number of different things to different people. Some are laudable, some are kind of silly but harmless, and some are just straight out insulting.

Personally, I think that courtesy is a better ideal — one that, obviously, applies to both men and women.
But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 3 Morwen Edhelwen, Thu, 27th Sep '12 3:13:20 AM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
I think for me, it would depend on the man's intent. If I felt a man was being chivalrous because he thought I was helpless, I probably wouldn't like it.
The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
[up]Right. A pedestal is still a small, confined space it's difficult to get out of. If you want to be polite, try being gender-neutral about it.
Freedom of speech includes the freedom for other people to call you out on your bullshit.
 5 Game Chainsaw, Thu, 27th Sep '12 3:52:44 AM from sunshine and rainbows!
The Shadows Devour You.
Why not be "chivalrous" towards both sexes and call it "manners"?

Ninja'd by Iaculus, but I think my phrasing is better. smile

edited 27th Sep '12 3:53:28 AM by GameChainsaw

 6 Inverurie Jones, Thu, 27th Sep '12 4:20:05 AM from Station 78 Relationship Status: And they all lived happily ever after <3
'80s TV Action Hero
Chivalry can die in a fire. Why should I elevate other people above me just because they haven't got some bits that I've got?

Winter is Coming

I don't always do stuff, but when I do, it's freakin' awesome.

[up] My thoughts exactly
 
Euo will do!
Chivalry? Meh... no need for it if you regard it in its narrowest sense. General manners? That we could do more of: doesn't matter what gender you are, you should be treated like a fellow human being.

edited 27th Sep '12 4:47:03 AM by Euodiachloris

"When all else failed, she tried being reasonable." ~ Pratchett, Johnny and the Bomb
 9 Jhimmibhob, Thu, 27th Sep '12 6:55:03 AM from Arm's reach of the julep machine Relationship Status: My own grandpa
It's simply one of those customs that many people were raised with, and that they consider (rightly or wrongly) inseparable from common courtesy. I can understand arguments against it, and why someone might not subscribe to it. Still, it seems adolescent and graceless to resent it in others who do. After all, most civilized manners don't serve any utilitarian purpose, and don't make "sense" in the way we're discussing; requiring that they do so is missing the point on a Brobdingnagian scale.
"She was the kind of dame they write similes about." —Pterodactyl Jones
[up]'

Its not as much baseless resentment as finding the idea insulting morally.
Going Forth!
 11 Jhimmibhob, Thu, 27th Sep '12 7:14:49 AM from Arm's reach of the julep machine Relationship Status: My own grandpa
[up]Whether or not that's so, there's no reason to assume bad motives in its practitioners, and plenty of reasons to think the contrary. Ergo, I'll stand by my evaluation. Courtesy/Adult Behavior 101: gracefully accepting what the other person intends as courtesy.
"She was the kind of dame they write similes about." —Pterodactyl Jones
Never Ask Me the Odds
@Jhimmibob: It's not so much that it serves no purpose, but when it serves the purpose of reinforcing the stereotype of a male that needs to do all of the protection, finances, and wooing, and a woman who needs the man to do all of that rather than take her equal share.

edited 27th Sep '12 7:18:02 AM by TheGirlWithPointyEars

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 13 Inverurie Jones, Thu, 27th Sep '12 7:40:19 AM from Station 78 Relationship Status: And they all lived happily ever after <3
'80s TV Action Hero
As a male I find chivalry appalling. The idea that we should always do all the work and always pay for everything just disgusts me.
Winter is Coming

I don't always do stuff, but when I do, it's freakin' awesome.

 14 Jhimmibhob, Thu, 27th Sep '12 7:51:34 AM from Arm's reach of the julep machine Relationship Status: My own grandpa
[up][up]I think you'd have a hard time finding someone of a chivalric temper (of either sex) who conceived of it in those terms, or who considered that its defining elements. What's more, that's an uncommon view even among people who reject many of the attitudes that informed traditional chivalry—at least, among the mature, socially adroit ones I've observed.

There are many modern rules of interaction that rub me the wrong way, and whose rationale I like even less. Still, being a functioning adult fit for public consumption, I neither quixotically fight them, nor throw them back in the face of someone who's obviously well-meaning.
"She was the kind of dame they write similes about." —Pterodactyl Jones
Never Ask Me the Odds
[up ] [up] And as a woman, I find those assumptions insiulting. If a man displays chivalry because he actually believes them, that does not speak well of him in my eyes - and if he does it because that's what he's been taught and he didn't think about the underlying assumptions, that doesn't speak well of his powers of thought.

edited 27th Sep '12 7:54:15 AM by TheGirlWithPointyEars

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 16 Jhimmibhob, Thu, 27th Sep '12 8:58:00 AM from Arm's reach of the julep machine Relationship Status: My own grandpa
[up]That's life for you. Frustratingly (from certain perspectives), it's often the nature of a polite man to persist in his idea of courtesy, whether his interlocutor is worthy of it ... or manifestly the contrary. Incurring an ulcer over it is harmful to nobody but oneself. (And, it scarcely needs saying, not every interlocutor's disapproval is something to feel diminished by or embarrassed about—quite the reverse sometimes!)
"She was the kind of dame they write similes about." —Pterodactyl Jones
I brought this issue up in another thread not too long ago.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=13391625490A43109200&page=37#915

I don't think misogyny and chivalry are directly connected, but in the literary examples I listed from the Middle Ages, it should noted that there is a pervasive tendency for chivalrous individuals to develop misogynistic tendencies when said ideal falters. These are works of fiction, but they draw upon very real problems with the medieval practice of chivalry, particularly Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Chaucer's "Wife of Bath's Tale". Chivalry, if left unchecked, can lead to female objectification and even hatred of women because those who practiced it in the sense of courtly love misunderstood its political and militaristic roots. Edmund Spencer's The Faerie Queene shows how chivalry can really backfire and lead to some pretty Unfortunate Implications.

edited 27th Sep '12 9:06:12 AM by Aprilla

And as a woman, I find those assumptions insiulting. If a man displays chivalry because he actually believes them, that does not speak well of him in my eyes - and if he does it because that's what he's been taught and he didn't think about the underlying assumptions, that doesn't speak well of his powers of thought.

Wait, what?

Are there any qualifiers here? Like, if the woman is small or slender and trying to load a basket of watermelons in her trunk? If she's wearing a skirt and it's a strong breeze, should he offer to pick up something she dropped just so she won't risk embarrassing herself?

I have to say, I would find it hard not to offer assistance in those situations. If the genders were reversed, I would still offer assistance, but I would approach it more gently.

Offering men help with something is different than asking women help with something, especially if you are either gender. A woman being offered help by a man has less connotations than a man offering to help a man or a woman offering to help a man.

edited 27th Sep '12 9:13:46 AM by KingZeal

Never Ask Me the Odds
[up] To clarify, I wouldn't consider that chivalry, I would consider it common courtesy, which I would consider different and perhaps the source of some confusion here. I hold doors for others, and I AM a tiny female. If someone were to reach something for me I couldn't on my own, that would send a different message than refusing to go dutch on a date. As you pointed out, these are things that apply regardless of gender and are genuinely helpful. There is no assumption of one-sided deference or (lack of) ability simply because of one's gender.
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My Skating Liveblog
 20 De Marquis, Thu, 27th Sep '12 1:50:15 PM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
The purpose of chivalry is to give a man who is interested in a female an excuse to introduce himself and ingratiate himself with the woman. It's also a way to make clear what kind of man he is- someone who is at least a little traditional, and oriented toward women who are comfortable with at least some of the traditional gender norms. If you aren't that kind of woman, then it's only natural to refuse the help- but there's no reason to be offended. After all, traditionally minded me and women need some method to get to identify each other.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 21 0dd 1, Thu, 27th Sep '12 1:51:34 PM from Nowhere Land
Just awesome like that
Personally, I think that courtesy is a better ideal — one that, obviously, applies to both men and women.
(this along with other similar statements that have been said) Huh? Personally, I've never thought there was a distinction between chivalry and courtesy. Maybe in the medieval sense, sure, but in the modern sense, I'd say chivalry and courtesy are interchangeable terms. As for acting with chivalry, I refer you to Jhimmibhob (dear Lord your handle is hard to remember) when he said, "It's simply one of those customs that many people were raised with, and that they consider (rightly or wrongly) inseparable from common courtesy."

Besides, I really don't (consciously) differentiate between helping males and females. I was, however, raised to treat people (read: all people) with respect no matter who they are or how they act or what have you, as well as to help others when they need it (and, as such, to offer help whenever it looks like someone needs it, or even if it doesn't look like they need it but it would be nice anyway), and dammit, I do. I don't care if someone's gonna think I'm sexist for offering a woman help with something. If anything, they've got underlying sexism for assuming my motives are sexist.
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It seems to me that in the modern usage, "chivalry" specifically only applies to men's behaviour towards women, where "courtesy" has no such restriction. But then again, I am not a native English speaker, so I might be completely mistaken here.

To make a random example, it's common courtesy that if one enters a door and someone else is also about to enter, you hold the door for them after passing. Nothing wrong about that.

However, it is "chivalrous" for a man to make a point to keep the door open for the woman and let her pass first, even if the man and the woman reach the door at the same time; and there are some men who would consider it emasculating if the woman instead (horror!) held the door for them. This is a bit silly, and I can see why a woman could feel offended by the implication.

Another example: at least over here, it's perfectly normal for friends to pay for each other's drinks and so on. It's simpler than splitting the bill, and well, since if you offer then the next time someone else will, it's not like anyone is always paying. I find that this is a good system. However, if a guy made a point of always paying for women, even ignoring them when they say that they'd rather pay themselves or split the bill, well, that's creepy and inappropriate. Sadly, it's also the kind of behaviour that some think about when they talk about "chivalry".
But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 23 Aondeug, Thu, 27th Sep '12 2:08:18 PM from  Our Dreams
Oh My
I have long thought and been told that there is a difference between courtesy and chivalry. This difference largely being, in the modern sense of the words, one of gender restriction. Chivalry is extended by men towards women for any number of reasons. It is not extended towards men. Courtesy or some other such thing is and different feelings go into helping a man with such things from my understanding with those who hold to it.

For that reason chivalry greatly upsets me. Both as a woman and as a man. I would refuse any and all offers of aid once I learned of the intent. I will not be patronized because of my sex and I desire equal treatment of both sexes and all genders. I'll open my own doors, thank you. However I don't assume that men hold doors open for people because of chivalry. Only when I observe repeated evidence of such or I am told that they hold to such will I refuse aid. Vandro, as an example of someone I know to some extent, does hold to such standards and I know that he does. As such I would refuse his aid in things like that.

edited 27th Sep '12 2:11:45 PM by Aondeug

If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah
 24 De Marquis, Thu, 27th Sep '12 2:18:04 PM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
I think the difference between chivalry and courtesy is the amount of effort expended. It's courteous to open a door for a woman. It's chivalrous to carry her suitcase all the way from the train station to her hotel (and yes, I did that).
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 25 Oh So Into Cats, Thu, 27th Sep '12 2:19:22 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
CANON!!
Wow, I wonder if it's just the culture around here, because around here everyone holds the door open for everyone else?

Like holding doors open for people is something that is considered very gender neutral here. However a man insisting on paying for everything is not, pulling a chair out for a woman is not, etc.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

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