Chivalry- Essential or Expendable?

I offered to walk a girl out to her car after work last night and she declined, but when we were leaving I conveniently took our last piece of trash to the dumpster and kept walking with her. She immediately caught on to what I was doing, stopped walking and told me very harshly that she was a big girl and an independent woman; that this is 21st century America and she didn’t need anyone’s help. She then told me that she seriously would not move from the spot she was standing in until I left. Now my normal reaction to something like that happening is to politely (arrogantly) smile and insist that I wouldn’t mind the wait and assert my secret talent of being stubborn, but the thought never crossed my mind. Instead, I was hurt that she was hurt, you don’t see how she was hurt? Well, she lashed out at me. Someone once told me that it’s like trying to help a cornered, wounded animal (not saying that’s all she is) and having it attack you because it’s sure that you only mean to hurt it. It can’t be blamed though,

Because whoever was there before you obviously did, and she had trusted him.

I don’t know what may have happened in the past, and I don’t think it’s necessarily my job to find out, but for the first time I can remember, I didn’t stubbornly make the situation worse just to prove that I would get my way.

When she reacted like that, I tried my best to affirm that she could make it to her car safely and told her that it wasn’t about safety. Still visibly irritated, she said that if I wanted to do it as a friend, then she’d let me, but I shouldn’t get used to it. She then took off quickly walking slightly ahead of me. I gathered my thoughts for a moment and tried to sincerely explain that it wasn’t mostly about safety, it was about value.

 I told her that even though diamond is the hardest substance on Earth (I just found out this morning that there are a couple new ones that are actually quite harder) we cherish it and protect it. It’s not that it needs protection because it’s weak or feeble, it’s just that we should never take it for granted because it’s so valuable. We should instead take every opportunity we can to treat it according to the value it has. That’s how I see people, especially women.

That’s all I could say before we had made it to her truck, she turned and quickly but earnestly *slap-pounded* me (is that what you call those handshakes?!) as she usually does and hopped in just as my brother came around the building in his car.

She had let me walk her out and I explained my motives a little, but I didn’t feel like I had won anything or succeeded at something. I was just burdened for her, even sort of depressed. I know she’ll be fine and that she’ll come around because I have yet to meet a girl who hasn’t, but I was still hurt that she was hurt. I thought about how women shouldn’t have to open their own doors, and how they should constantly be served and seated, how they shouldn’t have to reject unwanted male attention, and how they should have fathers and brothers and male friends to do that for them, they should never have to defend themselves from aggression (especially male aggression), and that they shouldn’t even have to carry heavy items. Men should honor them by bearing those responsibilities for them.

Now I know that this isn’t a perfect world and that all of those things happen, that there won’t always be a guy there for her, that they aren’t all necessarily bad things, and that women actually enjoy doing some of them, and that even in the worst case, it’ll only make her stronger (assuming she doesn’t die of course!). I guess the key is that they should know that they deserve to never have to. I’m sure that most women have no idea how valuable they are, that they were the last thing God created, the very crown of all creation, and how Christ made them joint-heirs with men, how only they can bring new life into the world, how men will recognize their value and pursue them (not the other way around), how their spiritual and emotional qualities are more deep and complex than men’s and how that naturally draws them closer to God than most men and makes them relate to His infinite complexities better too (He is emotionally relating to each of the 6 billion people on Earth every second whether they’re experiencing spirit lifting bliss or a soul wrenching pain or sorrow). If no one tells them and shows them these things, they’ll never know! It’s not about being strong or weak! I honestly believe that most women are stronger than most men! They bear so much more than us on a daily basis! Besides, I promise that you will never see Barack Obama (as President) open his own door (unless it’s for his wife!), not because he can’t, but because he shouldn’t have to concern himself with such a petty task. I think that now, more than ever chivalry is absolutely essential. And not only do our women need it, our men need it too. What do you think about it?

4 responses to “Chivalry- Essential or Expendable?

  1. It’s biblical-
    It’s essential because its’ something we’ve lost and needs to be restored to both men and woman
    It’s simple
    woman need to re-learn womanhood
    men need to understand that their role needs to be redeemed
    together we can take steps to reclaim who we are called to be
    -thanks for this

  2. I would say it is permissable. Maybe not ‘essential’. The only reason I would say that, and granted my viewpoint is not a religious one, is that personally I feel it does women a disservice to categorize and reduce them as ‘delicate’ or ‘docile’, gentle creatures. Those words associated with gentleness and femininity easily begin to mean weak(er) and unable to fend for themselves. Granted, the one thing i hate the most about being a woman is that if it came down to it i simply do not have the manpower to overpower an attacker. And therein lies the problem, the word itself is “Man”power.. asserting that women never had the power to begin with and will never have the power. Because of the assumption that women (thank you for not making this assumption and clearly acknowledging strength) are docile and gentle ‘creatures’ kind of dehumanizes them… into children. And for decades the argument was that women could not fend for themselves, they had to be taken care of like children. Or kept.. to rear children. That they only belonged to their father or their husband, and not to themselves. In your case, it would be that everyone is equal because they belong to God. Gender roles are about power relations, in my opinion. So when it comes to chivalry i think there are very fine lines. Saying a woman should NEVER have to do (insert here) begs the question that someone else will always have to do (insert here). Which means that women will have to depend upon man for (insert here). Unfortunately because of the world we live in and the fallibility in man’s heart, this kind of exchange comes with unseen tethers and obligations. Or at least it has for centuries, which in my opinion is why women may overassert their independence at times. As for your last paragraph, I enjoyed reading it. It brings me some comfort to know that other people find comfort and strength in God. Sorry i didn’t log out of my org’s email. this is Jessica Rey, btw.

    • Hey, thanks for stopping by Jessica. I appreciate your opinion and I think I really understand your viewpoint. It’s extremely difficult to take a sort of responsibility for another’s well-being (so to speak) and still see them as an equal. Naturally, we only depend on people when we’re unable to depend upon ourselves and I think it’s unfair to put women in a spot where all they “should” do is depend. You’re right. The only way I’ve been able to succeed at that (not 100% of the time, mind you) is by doing my best to exalt them while lowering myself to serve them. That has its own dangers, yes, but I think it would be a very healthy thing for the men in our society not to see women as the weaker sex that is simply there to serve us, but instead appreciate the intricate strength and beauty of women and want to serve them, while women learn to appreciate the distinguishing qualities of natural masculinity. I think that an attitude of submission and admiration coming from both directions, especially in a relationship, fosters an profound interdependence that we rarely ever see in our day. I think that could potentially do away with the whole “weaker sex” discussion. The concession would not be that women can’t provide for a family or that men can’t cook or nurture a loving home environment; it would be that women and men simply want to do those things for each other because they esteem each other so highly.

Any thoughts?

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