While the responses were mixed they all said it was more than opening a door – “It’s about respecting women and having the right attitude”.
And while the jury is still out over who should pay for meals, the word service and occasionally sacrifice rose up.
Additionally some wanted to make it clear that chivalry was different to patronising or using women.
A number of males said sometimes they were reticent to act chivalrously because their intention could be misinterpreted.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the word and ensuing actions have transversed into a dangerous area of modern language.
So is chivalry dying?
Certainly the word has changed from its origins, yet it is still synonymous with masculinity. Unfortunately the whole discussion around the masculine identity has become somewhat foggy – modern media doesn’t offer a clear depiction of what it is to be a man.
Still, I am glad to be alive in this era which has St John Paul II’s Theology of the Body as an anchor or reference point.
Essentially he said women and men are absolutely equal in dignity before God, but constitute different ways of being human.
He also stated the opposite of love is use.
In the past I have worked for Mensline Australia and delivered papers on men’s health but when asked what I know about men my response is – it’s a mystery.
That said, what I do know is despite living in a war zone and taking boxing classes I like it when a male offers to escort me to my car or sees I am cold and moves chairs and table so I’m not caught in the wind.
I also like it when I am in a meeting and my voice is heard, not because I am a female or it’s a “nice” thing to do but because I add value to the discussion.
Female friends share with me how they feel cared for and special when a male steps ahead and takes initiative, not to overpower, but to love and respect.
Are these women able to do some of these tasks?
Yes, but the joy of reciprocity would be lost, as would the symbolic gesture that if you were in danger they want to protect you.
While I don’t know if the word chivalry will die out I take heart Australian society has just said “enough is enough” – men like Blanc teaching assaulting women is about being powerful and masculine are not welcome here.
Let’s hope this sentiment of respecting people continues so we can live freely celebrating our gender differences.
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