What place for chivalry in a world of equality

Is chivalry relevant in an age where technology and a self-centred mentality has got everyone wrapped up in their own small cocoon in which polite actions towards people of different sex are often treated with suspicion of being accompanied by ill intent or as groundwork for looming underhanded advances.
Much can be said of the privilege of living in this interesting times, what with technology moving in leaps and bounds leading to advances that have eased life for a lot of today’s men freeing them to pursue their passions without the nagging bother of a life preoccupied with a struggle to live at subsistence level; an engagement that stared the pre-locomotive man in the face every single day. Welcome to the age of convenience, where everything is just an impersonal button away, where words like lady and gentleman have almost no import other than to distinguish between genders and where chivalry is fast becoming a concept as alien as the unwieldy garb of the Victorian era.
There is no doubt that, despite the ease with which today we can move about and reach out, modernism has taken a certain edge off the human touch and unspoken principles that have bound together and informed generations past. We talk but we don’t communicate, we hear but we don’t listen, we touch but we don’t feel, we fear but we don’t respect, we know but we don’t understand and worse, chauvinists, hidden under politically correct tags, have distorted the whole equality debate the consequences being men are at a loss as to whether to open doors and pull back chairs for women; why they should have equal opportunity at work yet in times of mortal danger be compelled to allow ladies to scamper to safety first; why say equality is a reality and still be expected to regularly make concessions based on sex. So what place then for chivalrous action in a world of gender activism?
Nowadays it is not uncommon to see otherwise respectful strapping males defiantly occupy the last chair in a waiting room in which ladies are standing, it is equally not surprising to have attempts at chivalry, such as courteously offering to open a jammed can, being treated with hostility and viewed as nothing more than condescending macho display. Chivalry as a concept came about in the Middle Ages to combat the attitudes of brutality, ignorance and prejudice that were prevailing at the time, it meant embodiment of the characteristics of knighthood such as being courteous to women and showing gallantry. A lot has since changed and just considering that the sentiments which modern career women relate to are the kind you find in lyrics such as Wahu’s Sitishiki or Destiny’s Child Independent Women, and with women going about life totally convinced and actively deciding they can live without men, it’s an understatement to say it has become increasingly hard for the regular guy to realize that ladies, at least most of them, do still want to be treated like princesses.
For sure the average man is not given to too much analysis on the emotional dynamics that govern his partner’s thinking, this is tricky uncharted territory that most men sail purely by guesswork and instinct, it is for this reason that you can’t really blame such a man for concluding that all women want is to be acknowledged and treated as strong, independent people, who do not need to be patronized by men. As men we come face to face with a troubling double standard knowing that women would like to be swept off their feet, that they need and expect the man to make the first move, but yet in the same breath, they harp on the fact that they are strong and couldn’t be bothered with being single for the rest of their natural lives. Women have to appreciate that it is hard for most men to understand that actually women would like to be treated well and to be placed up on a pedestal, yet this treatment does not and shouldn’t lessen their strength or independence, but in all honesty it’s the very same women who have the onus to show us that they want this treatment.
It is a largely unstated belief among a lot of men that chivalry still has a place in modern society; unfortunately many get frustrated when attempts at being courteous go unnoticed, unappreciated or even condemned by women. We have scenarios such as being with a woman who pauses so that the man can walk ahead of her and hold the door open for her, then you have the gentleman who of his own volition goes ahead to open the door for his date, only to have his date shout at him that she can open doors without his help.
Are we even sure women want men to be chivalrous to begin with? to be chivalrous on not; that’s the question that has men squarely on the horns of a dilemma.


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