What is Chivalry?



Oh, there’s a rabbit hole to go down now isn’t it? What was chivalry? What has chivalry been? What is chivalry today? Much has been written on this subject for many hundreds of years. I certainly won’t be the best most eloquent writer or most long winded of the thousands of writers to tackle this subject.

Well these days chivalry no longer a french derived term for a warrior on a horse. It is also no longer the cult of the queen used to reign in rampant bullying by people trained for war that had no war to go to.

Chivalry today is none of those things and properly done, at least in my opinion, is entirely unbiased.

I have a not short speech I give teens and young 20s about chivalry and chivalrous conduct. And it started from a college freshman english paper I wrote about opening doors for females. I’ll condense it here.

Chivalry is not a knight in shining armor. Chivalry is not riding in on a white horse or truck and saving someone. Chivalry is not about protecting women. The first is showing off, the second is heroic and the third is misogynistic.

Chivalry is about speaking for those whose voice can’t be heard.
Chivalry is about protecting anyone who is too weak to protect themselves.
Chivalry is about ensuring justice is given for everyone.
Chivalry does not care if you are young, middle aged or old.
Chivalry does not care if you are male, female, trans, hermaphrodite or even human.
Chivalry does not care what god you may follow, what religion you may be, what your income is, what your personal philosophy is, or anything else.

Does your voicing of needs get heard? No? A chivalrous person amplifies that voice. Meaning if there are those who society has forgotten or treats badly a chivalrous person speaks out against it and makes sure those ill forgotten are heard in their own voice, not the chivalrous persons.

Are you capable of defending yoruself from any given attack be it verbal, emotional, physical or “spiritual”? No? A chivalrous person steps in and provides protection as they can. Meaning the hungry are fed, the poor are clothed, spouses do not abuse, etc.

Is a action just or unjust? A chivalrous person ensures their actions are just and that they correct injustices. Meaning if a person works for pay, they receive just compensation for their labor. Meaning if a person violates social norms they are taken aside and spoken to about a better way to be without embaressing anyone. Meaning that should a crime be committed the chivalrous person comes forward and speaks clearly and honestly about it.

Chivalry is offering assitance when it may be needed but also accepting an honest refusal for that offer. It is not chivalrous to force yourself on someone else in any manner including forcing others to accept your assistance. If one truly should be assisted then it is also chivalrous to accept that help and unchivalrous to refuse help when you truly need it.

Chivalry is giving honest compliments as it accepting that same compliment regardless if you believe you deserve it or not.

That is the short version of what chivalry is to me. It is all of those things, and it is not just those things. Much more can be and has been written on chivalry. To me that is the core of chivalry and it expands from there.

Opening a door is merely courteous. And yes, can be a right good thing to do. But if you’re doing it because the person’s sex happens to be one of the sexes, you aren’t being courteous and you aren’t being chivalrous. You’re being sexist. Open the door for everyone.

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