I have always wanted to write about chivalry and its reform but for some reason, I kept putting it off until I recently met a buddy of mine who strongly believes that patriarchy and chivalry are indivisible bedfellows. In his words he said, only twenty percent of women know precisely what they want, another sixty percent would blindly trail the other twenty percent who know what they actually want, at least until a raging wind separates the chaff from the real seeds, and then the remaining twenty percent, would ramble across the divide waiting for some random occurrence to gift them any spot of its choosing. He farther described patriarchy and chivalry as a whole tree. Patriarchy is the root and chivalry is the branches. He quizzed if it made any sense to ask for a tree to be cut down and expect the branches to still stand.
Now, I have no idea what birthed that little survey and frankly I don’t care. In my short life, I have met both men and women of strong character, who are pacesetters and go-getters and others, just regular passivists. It pretty much goes both ways. And who says chivalry couldn’t be nurtured to grow as a tree of its own without the shackles of patriarchy or matriarchy?
Chivalry refers to the lifestyle and moral code followed by the medieval Knights. It takes it’s name from Chevalier, the French word for Knight. Chivalry included the values of honor, valor, courtesy and purity. Its basis was a blend of military, social and Christian ethics. Overtime, it’s meaning has been refined to emphasize social virtues more GENERALLY.
Now let’s return to our own little world and how it has tainted chivalry. The boys were brought up to believe that a real man should be chivalrous not for the sake of honor or courtesy, but for the sake of patriarchy. The girls were groomed to expect it and perhaps, even leverage on it at some point. Recall your childhood up until your teenage years. You would tussle for those chocolates or biscuits, that was not even yours to begin with, with an older female and your parent or guardian would say, let her have the chocolate, do you not know you’re the man? How about they tell you to let go because it’s simply the virtuous thing to do? Or perhaps your way of showing respect?
It is that phrase, ‘do you not know you’re the man’ that bred the kind of persons I like to call the rigid man and the expectant woman. The latter would always count on the benevolence of the opposite sex. The former sees chivalry as mere leverage over women. It is like a barter system, “hey since I’m giving you my biscuits and chocolates, you in return, would always consent that you’re beneath me.” It is this idiosyncracy that has got today’s women feeling patronized after a chivalrous gesture.
When the women began to take chops at patriarchy; of course, these men sought to leverage on what the ladies were bred to be expectant of. We can’t have chivalry around when you don’t want patriarchy and the whole caboodle. That sense of patriarchy to them is like a cocoon made of iron. It is where they feel most secure. Strip them of it and they feel like lesser men. They will cling unto anything to preserve patriarchy. Chivalry and its significance was long defined for most of us at a tender age, according to what works for the people at the time or what limited knowledge they had but it doesn’t mean we can’t get a much better hang of it now. We don’t have to narrow it down to opening doors.
It is totally myopic, in my opinion, for anyone to think that chivalry has overstayed its welcome for some reason. In fact, we are in a critical time where chivalry is needed to make an invasive comeback. For romance winter is already here; with the inception of internet and pornography wrecking gender relations in a manner that is not in anyone’s best interest. We are in a time where we don’t even have to necessarily build some sort of deep rapprochement to get laid. This generation have come to see sex as what it is— just sex. There are dating sites, applications that leave meaningless sex at our beck and call. With this full blown sexual revolution, there is nothing sexier and in demand like a well mannered person. That is what chivalry is about— being well mannered and upright towards the first face you see in the morning and the last one before going to bed. We all want to be respected, loved and honoured. At least, that is what modern day chivalry should be about and nothing about patriarchy or matriarchy.