In the past, chivalry was a common thing performed by a man to show kind gestures toward a woman. Nowadays, many see chivalry as outdated or no longer in existence.
Opening doors, carrying books and offering a person something he or she needed were just a few acts of chivalry that were often demonstrated.
Dr. Jeffery Mooney, associate professor of Old Testament, described chivalry as a set of social behaviors that in and of themselves cannot define an individual as respectful. He said these actions must be undergirded by other social realities.
“Chivalry itself doesn’t necessarily mean anything,” Mooney said. “It’s just a set of behaviors and typically something you’re taught. If you’re not taught chivalry, it might not occur to you.”
Matthew Kost, junior music education major, said chivalry is not gone and believes there are still gentlemen in this world who will go out of their way to take care of women.
“Chivalry is the act of caring and protecting women,” Kost said. “I believe that if men would actively pursue a relationship with Christ and allow themselves to be changed from the inside out, we will see more gentlemen in this world.”
Kaelie Shull, senior graphic design major, said she believes social media is heavily influencing the actions of youths today. Instead of putting emphasis on things such as chivalry, Shull said the emphasis within the media is put on negative things, such as objectifying women.
“Men should start looking at women as a human beings with feelings, while women need to stop allowing themselves to be misused as objects in this society,” Kost said.
Both Shull and Kost said women try to be seen as empowered and independent from men, but sometimes they are quick to make unfair assumptions about a men’s intentions when they are simply showing common courtesy.
Mooney suggested that some women may interpret chivalrous actions as condescending, depending on the
context they are in.
“If we are discouraging these sort of acts in an effort to become equal with men, then we only have ourselves to blame for the lack of chivalry and the way that men behave towards us as a result of this,” Shull said.
Caleb Meyer, junior math major, said his theory on chivalry being “dead” is that as the women’s role has changed, so has chivalry.
“Chivalry is ‘dying’ because it’s not needed, since women now have positions of power within jobs or even relationships,” Meyer said. “Men these days do not feel the need to be chivalrous because they think women are capable on their own.”
Chivalry can be defined differently depending on the person’s view, but Mooney agreed that chivalry is not completely gone.
Some men and women may view chivalry as dead, uncommon or silly. But chivalry is relative to one’s surroundings.