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…And We Wonder Why Chivalry is Dead

Happy Couple

chiv·al·ry (shvl-r)
n. pl. chiv·al·ries
1. The medieval system, principles, and customs of knighthood.
2.The qualities idealized by knighthood, such as bravery, courtesy, honor, and gallantry toward women.
a. A manifestation of any of these qualities.

I read a blog post from the ever-interesting Matt Walsh today.  Good thing too, because I was up against a writing deadline and inspiration was no where to be found. This did it.

Men, on behalf of women everywhere, I apologize that it appears we don’t want to be treated with respect and kindness where matters of everyday life are concerned. I can see how you would think we don’t appreciate having the door held open. Maybe we’ve allowed the culture to speak for us instead of speaking for ourselves. Maybe all this forward thinking has actually put us back a few decades.  Or more.

Last week, Candace Cameron Bure made a remark about submission in marriage.  She said she allows her husband to be *gasp* the leader in their home. Keep in mind that we’re talking about a happily married, successful woman, not some beat down, cowering wife.  That didn’t matter. Before you could sneeze a tweet out, thousands of mocking remarks flooded the Internet.  “Thanks for setting us back a hundred years, Candace!” one woman screamed through her screen.

And we wonder why chivalry is dead. We’ve worked hard for some time to kill it.

If I were a man, I would hesitate to hold the door open for a woman in the culture we live in. I’ve seen men barked at more times than I can count. It makes me sad when I get on the Max train in Portland and see pregnant ladies standing while young, strong men sit and text and tweet and talk. But then again, part of me doesn’t blame them. A gentleman can rarely act like a gentleman in the culture we live in without being seen as a chauvinist, domineering, dare-I-say-it … man.

Since when is it “backwards” for a man to hold the door open for a lady, or carry her groceries or offer her a seat?  Since women decided it was. That’s when.

Thanks, feminism. We’ve come a long way, baby.

And that’s too bad—because by denying men the opportunity to act like honorable men, we women miss out on one of the glorious things about being female. (Come on, there has to be an upside to some of the obvious struggles of being female, right?)   When we’d rather get the door ourselves or turn a man who offers his seat to us down just because we’re women, we miss out the opportunity to see love and service, respect and honor in action.

And we wonder why chivalry is dead.

Or is it? Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so.

My husband is a gentleman. It’s one of the things I admire most about him. He holds the door open for women all the time, and he is teaching our sons to do the same.  I saw a young man rush to give an older woman his seat on a ferry I was on last summer.  I thanked him. He smiled. His smile said it had been a long time since anyone appreciated his kind gesture.

Sorry, but I don’t blame the men for this.  For the most part, it seems to rest solely on the women.

A woman at a conference I spoke at last summer told me in essence that women don’t act like ladies anymore. To a certain degree, I agree with her.  Heaven forbid if we were to admit we could use some help with that heavy box or that we appreciated the offer of that seat on the subway.

Listen, ladies: if you appreciate a chivalrous man, tell him! If a man holds the door for you, say “thank you!”  If he offers you his seat, say “thank you!” and then, accept it.  Not allowing men to practice these simple acts of kindness and respect has taken us back in time, not propelled us forward.

Men, it’s a good time to step up.  Don’t sit around and wait for women to lead in this area. Hold the door. Offer the seat. Carry the boxes. Allow me to quote Mr. Walsh:

“…chivalry is still essential. Men should carry bags, and hold doors, and pull out chairs, and offer seats to women, not because women are incapable of standing or opening their own doors, but because of what these acts represent — what they say. And what they say is simple: “I am bigger and stronger than you, but I will use my strength to honor you and protect you. I will not hurt you. I will not take advantage of you. I will humble myself before you and serve you.”

Amen. I hope my all five of my daughters date and marry men who share the attitude. As a woman, I appreciate it, because frankly, it’s a privilege to be served. It’s not about equality. It’s about respect and uncommon courtesy, something that is sorely missing in our society today.

Chivalry, come back!  We miss you. And if you see our long-lost friends courtesy and respect, bring them too. We’ll be looking for you. In the meantime, we’ll try harder to make chivalry an obvious choice; we’ll respect and appreciate the actions of the chivalrous men in our lives.

Signed,
The Ladies of 2014

Visit Heidi St. John at The Busy Mom

66 Comments

  • Cindy

    I forwarded this to a friend of mine who is raising boys. She is doing such a good job. Her son, who is in middle school, jumped up to open and hold the door for me and the other women as we were leaving Bible Study Tuesday evening. The smile on his face was huge. He was doing this because he wanted too not because his mom made him do it. He will make some girl very happy one day!

    So keep up the good work all you who are raising boys!

  • Emily

    So true! I work as an EMT, and lifting people is a part of my job. It’s not uncommon to have a 300-400lb patient each shift. My male partner is aware that I am capable, he knows I’m strong enough. But I still think it’s great of him to offer to lift the cot into the back of the ambulance. We both know I can do it as well, but he does so that I don’t have to. Not because he thinks I can’t. And my husband still opens doors for me after 9 years together. And I love it. Does he have to because I can’t? No, he wants to in order to show me love and respect.

  • Julie

    Awesome article! My hubby and I were in NY on a quick visit for the first time, and I was amazed at how many men sat in the subway car and didn’t flinch once at the ladies standing. It was sad. I do have another thought to add. In my observation, people are not teaching that to their children any more. You are completely correct that women don’t allow it, but parents aren’t requiring it of their boys. I am a relatively young parent, and as i watch children manouver stores, I watch parents observing their children running into people and not excusing themselves, while I see other parents who don’t even know what their kids are up to. It is a sad statement to our society. Thank you for an amazing perspective!

  • Michelle

    This will be more less a ramble of my thoughts on this subject…The same thing has happened to me…My husband and I’s marriage is a constant work in progress. We are blessed to have many older couples give us their simple advice to life. I always feel honored when my husband does a chivalrous act. His father is not the same though. His father grew up where you keep your actions to your home and you are not public about anything. My husband has learned from these older men in these couples that it is the small things that matter to a wife. If he does things at home I am so greatful, but if he does things in public I am hoping some young man sees and takes lead in his relationship.

    With the “leader” in the home comment. I am so proud that my husband is the leader. I feel like there are so many things nowadays that put women on pedastals. I guess I am young, but old-fashioned at heart. My husband and I may discuss all kinds of things in our life, but I know that one time when my husband is adamant in a decision he is adamant out of love.

    I believe there are some who take the submission context too far and then people have a right to their opinion, but if someone is happy in their marriage and there is no wrong with her husband being the “lead,” then others should just be happy for them.

  • Anastacia Maness

    Thank you! I am going to read this post to my children. Sometimes my daughters would rather compete with their brothers rather than allow them to help them with things. I have talked with my teenage son and daughter about it but still find her resisting letting her older brother help because she can do it herself. I think reading this to them will help explain it better than I have.

  • Erica

    I am so thankful for this article! One of the first things I noticed when dating my husband is that he always opened the car door for me, he would carry my bag sometimes at college, and he even would pull out my chair! At first, it felt weird because it doesn’t happen much in our culture. But now I love it! And I notice sometimes that other women watch us with a look that says they wish their husband would, too. It reminds me that he is the leader of me but it is so filled with love and protection that I can’t help but want him to always do it!

  • Megan

    While I completely agree, I also admit I am guilty of rejecting some chivalry. If a guy holds a door open, offers me a seat, etc…. I accept and express gratitude. But if a ‘nice’ guy offer to help carry bags for me- not happening. I have a friend who was raped by a ‘nice’ guy helping her, and unfortunately he ruined it for everyone who knows her. In stores I find most guys who offer ‘help’ are trying to start a conversation that is not appropriate given I am married and wear my ring proudly. Some women aren’t rejecting certain aspects of chivalry because they ‘don’t need help!”, it’s because some men use ‘chivalry’ with less than chivalrous objectives. As much I would like to nurture chivalry, I will protect myself and my marriage first. That being said, I find it very difficult to open doors and carry heavy items when my Husband is around 🙂

  • Sarah

    I remember, over ten years ago now, my husband and I were on the Underground in London. It was rush hour and the seats were full. I had barely squeezed into one myself while my husband remained standing. Now I was a tourist in a strange city, surrounded by business men who had ignored my presence as steadfastly as they ignored each other. Then, at the next stop, a tired business woman in her late sixties got on and started looking around for a seat. She looked worn down by her day and, even though I was tired as well, I gave up my seat for her. She smiled gratefully and sat down. That was when I realized that the business men weren’t ignoring me anymore. There was a guilty rustling of newspapers and after exchanging a few glances with his fellows, one man gave up his seat for me. I had guilt tripped an entire train car full of men and one of them finally did the chivalrous thing! Sometimes, I think women have show that we expect chivalry and respect before we actually get it, but guilt works too. I just bet the men on that train were thinking “what would my mother say about this?”

  • BJ

    Oh how I agree with this! Exactly what we’re trying to instill in both our boys AND our girls. Chilvary for the boys, grace for the girls. Great article!

  • Larry

    Thank you for appreciating the respect and kindness that is offered by men’s acts of chivalry. Kindness regardless of one’s sex should never be politically incorrect. Great article.

  • Kelly

    So well said, and aptly timed. Thank you for sharing such words of wisdom and truth; which I promptly shared with my fb friends (:. God bless your contribution to us ladies, and our men, too!!

  • Jill

    Thanks for sharing! I couldn’t have said this better myself 🙂 I am one of those young women struggling to find young men of this caliber but I do realize I too have a part to play in resurrecting chivalry.

  • alice

    It is not that we women don’t want these courtesies, but as a women that worked in a male dominated work force for 25 years I learned not to ask for help. each act of asking for help was viewed as a weakness so i learned not to accept help if I wanted to grow in the company. when you do this every day it becomes second nature to so no thanks…

  • Matty

    Why can’t everyone just be chivalrous to everyone? I would hold open a door for a man or a woman. I wouldn’t hesitate to give a seat to an pregnant lady OR a man, maybe laden with groceries?

    I feel like this argument often gets wrapped up so heavily in gender stereo-types that’s it’s easy to forget the one simple thing we should be focusing on.
    Chivalry for all people. By All people

    Maybe my argument is too simplistic for the culture we are in now. I believe in choice – if I want my wife to lead our relationship and it really really works for us – I’d love to have that choice be made by us without the world screaming through their screens at us – and that goes vice versa too.

    I only have one major complaint about this article –
    Please don’t blame feminists for this. Their struggle to make things equal should never be pushed aside as easily and flippantly as this article does. “Thanks, feminism. We’ve come a long way, baby.” ?! Seriously? Talk about bringing in something completely besides the point and scapegoating. Everyone should be a feminist.

    • Heidi St. John

      You’re missing the point, Mattie. There was a time when men and women had ROLES and I’m not referring to the abusive side of these roles. The feminist movement is largely responsible for the tide changing where women are concerned and in many ways it has backfired. No “straw man” here—just truth and observation.

    • Jess

      I completely agree. This shouldn’t be a dig at feminism. Chivalry should not be confused with gender roles. These are different terms. Being polite to anyone–male or female–if they’re behind you walking through the door or are elderly and looking for a seat on the train, has nothing to do with gender roles. Feminists advocate for equality and that means equality in being polite. Men shouldn’t be the only ones who help people carry heavy loads or open doors.

  • David Hill

    I hold open doors, period. For women, for men, for children, it doesn’t matter to me. If someone takes offense (extremely rate) I just smile and say, “you’re welcome” and go about my business. I don’t let other people decide whether I will be courteous.

    Of course, there are times when I will hold a door closed when someone is trying to open it, for I am both chivalrous and mischievous. 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Thank you! why does holding a door open for someone have to be men doing it for women? Why don’t PEOPLE hold doors open for other PEOPLE? That is why this whole argument is hogwash and sexist (this is why feminists claim this) because claiming that men are “big and strong” and should only be holding doors open for women IS demeaning. If a man holds a door open for ALL people, it’s not demeaning. Shouldn’t we be teaching men to have respect for ALL people, not just women? Especially considering the violence epidemic in this country (FYI: men murder men A LOT!).

      • Heidi St. John

        Pardon me while I enjoy being a woman. It does not mean I don’t hold the door open for other women. Women don’t like being thought of as the physically weaker sex—but the reality is—we are. Men who are kind to women and the women who appreciate this in them reap the rewards of both chivalry and mutual respect. Period.

  • Joseph

    I for one have always been taught to act like this article suggests. My dad always did it for my mom and I will teach the same to my boys if I have any. I have never and will never allow feminism to stop me from being a good man and if some women don’t like it, so be it but it won’t affect me. 🙂

  • Carol

    Are you kidding me?!?! Did you offer your seat to the pregnant woman on the bus?! Isn’t it all just common decency to be courteous?

  • Rachel

    Aw, this article makes me sad and its logic is confusing.

    I agree with Matty – chivalry is just another word for good manners (albeit only good manners exercised by men). Feminism is about equality in our rights and opportunities – the right to have children and still have my contributions be evaluated by the same scale as those of my male colleagues, the right to vote, the right to open a bank account without a male signature (which we were only able to do in the 1970s!!), the right to drive, to dress comfortably without worrying constantly about what some stranger somewhere might think (of course, the only thoughts that would matter would be the thoughts of someone who is male – at least without the hard-fought battles of feminists past).

    Let’s all be polite to others. It’s just as rude for a healthy young unburdened woman to remain seated when a pregnant exhausted woman enters a subway car as it would be if a man remained seated. It’s just as rude when a woman doesn’t hold the door for another woman. If a man wants to pull out your chair, that’s lovely and a gracious woman will respond appropriately. Some women won’t, and that’s totally their call, and it shouldn’t have anything to do with whether another grown adult chooses to remain courteous and civilized in their future dealings with women.

    Saying that women have the power, through one rude word, to entirely change an adult man into a non-chivalrous ape is both ridiculous and untrue. Polite men are polite because they choose to be, and without any underlying agenda (i.e. following up their kindness by acting as if the woman owes them a conversation or phone number, etc.). Rude men are rude because they are rude, not because enough women didn’t smile and stroke their ego sufficiently in the past. And manipulative men – or “nice guys” – love to whip out of the “chivalrous” actions as an excuse to demand conversation, a phone number, time, etc. from the woman they selected for their attentions – and the woman has every right to shoot that kind of entitlement down in flames!

    Men are big boys – they are in control of themselves and their choices. And women are not spiteful shrews or idiots – most women who don’t respond well to unasked -for favors have a good reason. You should talk to them and try to understand, rather than attacking. You might find the bubble in which these ideas seem popular is burst with contact with the broader world and the wide variety of both male and female experiences out there.

    • Heidi St. John

      Rachel, the “bubble” in which you assume I live in is imagined. I have traveled the world, have had seven children and have been married nearly 25 years. My experience is valid.

      You seem to have a general distaste for the roles of gender in our society which is precisely the point.

      “Men are big boys – they are in control of themselves and their choices. And women are not spiteful shrews or idiots”

      Your quote conveys your heart. I do not dispute that we should all display courtesy to one another but there is something sacred about our different roles as men and women. I wonder what we are missing out on. My grandparents spoke of a time when men were courteous to women, not because they wanted sex or a phone number, but because it was a sign of kindness and respect.

      I appreciate that.

  • Anonymous

    Why does holding a door open for someone have to be men doing it for women? Why don’t PEOPLE hold doors open for other PEOPLE? That is why this whole argument is hogwash and sexist (this is why feminists claim this) because claiming that men are “big and strong” and should only be holding doors open for women IS demeaning. If a man holds a door open for ALL people, it’s not demeaning. Shouldn’t we be teaching men to have respect for ALL people, not just women? Especially considering the violence epidemic in this country (FYI: men murder men A LOT!).

    • Heidi St. John

      Anonymous, you’re missing the point. Of course we have respect for all human life—but there is something special about the way men and women relate to each other that has been lost in the past 50 years. I miss it, and think it was worth the consideration my grandparents gave it.

  • Jackie

    This was a great read. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this. My husband of almost 16 years continues to open doors for me as well. We are training our son to do the same thing. I never looked at it as a way of serving until reading your article but it has always been a form of respect in my eyes. Thanks for helping me see it as a simple gesture of serving as well. I wish more in today’s society had your attitude and ideas on this matter. The same for the elderly. I have seen so many elderly folks dismissed, ignored and doors slammed in their faces because the person before them didn’t bother to notice them. We are trying to train our children to respect all peoples not because they deserve it but because they are created in the image of our GREAT GOD who values and accepts all of us the same. Thank you for your article. May we see an increase and return in chivalry, respect and concern for our fellow brothers and sisters.

  • Ryan

    There’s a another side to this coin that isn’t mentioned in this article. The author says -“..And we wonder why chivalry is dead. We’ve worked hard for some time to kill it…”. While there is truth in that, I would argue that men pretty much gave it up. A generation of men – hippies from the late 60’s and early 70’s mostly – decided that they would rather do drugs and have sex with anything that walked, talked or breathed and make children but not raise them and pursue money, materialism, fame and power, than to lead their families. They decided that providing for their family merely meant giving them a fancy house and nice cars and lots of designer clothes – all things that will be destroyed by moths and rust. They traded their Bibles for porn and wall street journals. And those that didn’t participate turned a blind eye to it or cowered in the corner for fear of being trampled. I for one understand why women wouldn’t want to follow the lead of these men. I get why they thought they could do it better themselves. I get why they didn’t want to have a man be “chivalrous” when the track record indicated that he was anything but. I get it. I’m glad that there were women that stepped up to say “we deserve better” – whether they knew they were saying it or not. And i’m glad that there are women today saying “we want our men back”.

    It’s so easy to post stuff like this on the interweb!

    • Heidi St. John

      Ryan—we want “real men” back! I can speak for many other women besides myself who are also striving to be worthy of respect and chivalry. Thank you for posting!

  • Mandi Mendoza

    I absolutely love this entry!

    I have the privilege of co-hosting an ethics and manners class 4 times a year for “little-ladies” in our church. I look forward to watching our girls grow up and bring chivalry back!

    Thank you for posting!

    Mandi

  • dawn

    Common courtesy, kindness, and good manners is all that needs to be taught. It seems to be rare these days. I have never seen a woman browbeat a man over holding a door for her or offering her a seat. I think that is a sad exaggeration. In the day, these manners were common place and so was controlling people who were believed to belong in “their place”. This was seen in women’s rights, racism, and in religion. However, we must understand, these are two different behaviors, melded together in a belief system once carried on generation to generation. When it comes down to it, acts of kindness should just be kind, not controlling, not demeaning, and not expecting something in return or to pacify. Let’s promote that kind of kindness, love and respect for everyone.

  • Megan

    You really should be thanking the feminist movement in a nonsarcastic manner. Because of feminism, women now at least have the right to CHOOSE whether or not they live under the thumbs of their husbands. In the Congo, 48 women are raped every hour because they live in a patriarchal society and have no power and no voice. Find something real to complain about besides the fact that you have to open doors and carry your own groceries!

    • Heidi St. John

      With all due respect, Megan, this is not about that. Everyone will agree that the horrific acts you describe are unjust and cruel. This is NOT what the feminist movement was about. In our quest for “equality” in this culture (not the Congo culture) we have lost something along with things we have gained. That is what I was pointing out.

      • Lisa

        Heidi, while I agree strongly that our culture is not on target regarding gender roles, I also see that the feminism which has brought evils such as abortion seems (ironically) to be  the same feminism that has helped provide us women with the “things we have gained” (to use your phrase). It concerns me that you and I as Christian women are slow to want to credit someone somewhere with having to struggle to gain those “things” – which are almost entirely taken for granted now by American women like us who are under a certain age and have known nothing else but the freedom to vote, own property or her own company (see Proverbs 31), attend college, drive cars, decide what type of childbirth we want to experience, and so on and on. We should readily admit that many of these freedoms and possibilities that are “givens” to you and me were not “givens” to your grandmother or to my mother. Check out:
        http://www.businessinsider.com/vintage-sexist-and-racist-ads-2011-6?op=1
        The messages about gender roles (not to mention race!!) are shockingly offensive to you and me, yet our grandparents weren’t phased. Using even these popular ads as a bit of a gauge, I would guess that, door-openers notwithstanding, there must have been a sizeable portion of the male population back then who were less than godly in their attitudes about women, wouldn’t you agree? It was not all peachy-keen! The Bible says there is nothing new under the sun….
        I’m 52 yrs old — trust me, I understand nostalgic longings. But arguing for a return to some supposedly more chivalrous or kindly time period (the “good old days” of 18?? Or 19??) would benefit from an honest look at the historical record and an honest acknowledgment of not only what positive aspects of our culture may have diminished, but also what has been gained, and how it can be used to further God’s kingdom, for Christ’s glory.

         

  • Princezztori

    I once had a friend who said her brother was sometimes uncomfortable with doing chivalious things because then girls assumed he was flirting with them because he was so nice and paying attention when other guys did not even blink an eye.

    • Sarah

      @Princezztori, that is sad about your friend’s brother. I am female and have also been misunderstood as flirting, when I was “too friendly”. It is very sad to me that common courtesy and friendliness have become so foreign that people automatically assume something else is going on. I had to explain to some of the workmen at our home that I have eight brothers and am a naturally friendly person, but I am also VERY HAPPILY MARRIED and have no desire to flirt with anyone except for my husband. I will continue being friendly, though, even if it does result in misunderstandings at times.

  • Alex

    Hang on a second, if it were true that chivalry was killed by feminism, then non-feminist countries would be FULL of chivalry.

    Yeah. No. Stop blaming feminism for people essentially being unkind to each other. By all means, teach your sons to be kind, but don’t suggest it’s women’s fault if they aren’t. You’re simply perpetuating an unfair gender stereotype. Also, what did being submissive in marriage have to do with being chivalrous?

  • Tim

    I’ve found varying responses, but what I’d like to say is that it’s the heart and not the action that counts.

    I will carry heavy things for girls and guys, I’m one of the strongest young men I know. It’s commonly down to attitude I find. Amongst the same group of people, there will be one girl who asks “Could you carry this for me please?” with a smile whereas a minute later another girl will say “You have to take this to (whereever) now” and there will be no smile, just a look that denies your existence until you become useful. It’s actually quite hurtful when someone you know pretends that you don’t exist right up until you become useful. I know which girl I’d rather help. The one that respects me for being a man and being willing to help.

    In town, I always hold doors open. Some people might not have bags, but they might have a broken arm under their coat. You don’t know. Also, for those Mums with small kids in tow, you hold a door open for them and you silently send a message to her children about chivalry. I’ve seen Mums in town ask for help. You can see they’re trying to teach their children something. Help them out, it’s like at traffic lights, you don’t cross against the lights if there are children there. If parents are teaching road safety you can easily undo their hard work.

    Chivalry is standard for both sexes. It should be something men hold themselves and eachother to, and the hard bit is for the ladies. You’ve got to quietly expect it as standard but be appreciative when you are treated with respect.

  • Bill

    I was raised “old school”. My wife and I have been married 41 years and I still open doors for her, carry in the groceries, etc. just like I did when we were dating. I also still hold doors open for others, men and women alike. I get more appreciation from the men. I agree that things have swung too far and relations between men and women have suffered. The feminist movement has pushed so hard for equality that now most men have less regard for women. How sad.

  • Eltha

    I think this is rubbish! Respect and equality mean that men should hold open doors for women just as often as women open doors for men. You’re asking for double standards! You don’t need to politely wait until the man opens the door for you then thank him graciously, its 2014, open the bloody door yourself! He might thank you.

  • Kim Sullivan

    Thank you for this post! It really resonated with me. I have often gotten frustrated with my husband because of his lack of chivalry, but now realize why this happened. I caused it. i sent him the message that I didn’t want him to be respectful and compassionate. Shame on me! This is an area I will definitely work on and make it a priority to teach our two young boys. Chivalry is not going to die in our home…

  • Andy

    I’m not sure how I feel about this article , I will hold the door , pull the chair, etc. for my Wife but women in the general public don’t deserve any special treatment. When I hold the door open for another man they almost always thank me, 7 out of 10 women won’t even acknowledge it, they will just walk through the door yacking away on their cell phones like I’m their to be their man servant. Worse yet women always seem to go through doors without a backward glance to see if they can hold it open for the next person.

    I find modern many women to be rude, self adsorbed, and totally lacking common courtesy.

    I consider myself an equalist, I think woman and men should be treated equal. But your modern feminist seems to believe they should have equal rights with all of the old time perks. So guess what, if the ship is sinking it’s not “women and children first”

  • Nicole

    Matty–I am right there with you! I don’t care WHO is doing something kind for me (what his/her gender, color, dress, etc!)–I will thank him/her either way. I am VERY passionate about doing kind acts for people. If someone older than me, with a baby, with lots to carry, etc, gets on the train or bus, why is it that only the man next to me can move out of his seat for him/her and not me? I often get up and move for older people, etc. I also hold the door open for people all the time, and although many men will not accept this (which I find silly), I thank them nonetheless when they take the door from me and encourage me to go in first instead. I am not rude about it–I just feel that ANYONE can be kind to ANYONE else, and that you shouldn’t feel restricted in what you can do to help others because of your gender. You shouldn’t have to be looking around to see if a man is going to get up before you get up yourself.

    Yes, Heidi, there ARE gender-roles, but they are much less defined in this day and age, because times have indeed changed. Unfortunately, many people think that “feminism” means giving women MORE power and prestige than men, which is ridiculous! Feminism just means equal rights for men and women. And, having studied history as extensively as I have, you tend to learn that less defined gender-roles can also be a GOOD thing. Ever seen Downton Abbey? Well, if I said I wanted to discuss what characters are oppressed by their gender roles in that series, many people would focus on the oppression of women, but in fact, IT WENT BOTH WAYS. MEN have also been oppressed throughout history–expected to do certain things and not to do others–based on a HUMAN idea of what gender roles should be (I’ll get to this more in a minute).

    So you’re thinking–how have MEN been oppressed by their gender roles? Well, certainly, women have not been allowed to do many things due to their gender (it still goes on today!), but have you ever considered that men have too? Take , for example, the tall, redheaded servant in Downton Abbey (I can’t remember his name just now). He works as a footman in the mansion where the rich family lives. However, what he actually wants to do in life is cook, and he is very good at it! Today, he could easily become a chef, and no one would think anything of it. But in HIS time, men did NOT cook. The very idea was preposterous! His only hope of feeling passionate about his talent was to stay at Downton (with a very understanding cook) and be a footman, only occasionally cooking something without his superiors knowing.

    So why am I pointing this out? Because the gender roles we have defined for ourselves in society based on concepts like Medieval “chivalry” and other man-made roles, are VERY different from what God ACTUALLY intended through marriage, through His creation of two different genders of people, and through passages like the one frequently quoted from Ephesians 6. God DID make us different, and we should not deny that we are! There are indeed certain things that women are better at, and there are certain things that men are better at. But I personally don’t think this gives society the right to impose a rigid set of gender roles on ALL men and women, especially when there are those men who happen to be chefs, and those women who happen to be engineers.

    I’m not saying that chivalry necessarily always takes it this far, but it does tend to limit what each gender can do, and it puts a great deal of pressure on men (and women) to be a certain way. I think it’s more important to encourage both men AND women (at a young age!) to be the kindest, most thoughtful, helpful and compassionate people they can be, and to encourage EVERYONE to use the gifts and talents God has given them to the best of their ability.

    My husband is an awesome guy and we both have a great mutual respect for one another, and for one another’s opinions. He doesn’t make all the decisions, and neither do I. Neither one would be healthy! He opens the door for me; I open the door for him. We do kind and thoughtful things for one another whenever the mood strikes us, and we both display good manners toward one another. Sometimes I defer to what he wants to do; sometimes he defers to what I want to do. I don’t care for some of his hobbies, but I do them with him anyway because he’s my husband and I love him! He doesn’t care for some of mine, but he does them with me anyway because I’m his wife and he loves me! We are both QUITE stubborn, but we have a crazy passionate love, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. We have an amazing marriage–the partnering of equals. 😉

  • Madison

    Also, it seems that the majority of men do not understand how afraid women are of men in general. Some women, might just be rude, yes, and that could be the reason they don’t say thank you, but honestly, most of them probably just feel uncomfortable because they are probably afraid that if they are nice to you and say thank you, then you will hit on them and make them uncomfortable. Many women feel uncomfortable when a man holds a door open for her because the majority of women have had the experience of being repeatedly pursued by a man who she has rejected countless times, so then women learn to show complete and utter indifference to a man she is not interested in in order to prevent this from happening again. It is nothing personal, but it is a defense mechanism to prevent sexual harassment. Men, I am sorry that you feel that the majority of women are just plain rude by not saying thank you, but it is actually a defense mechanism because we are afraid of you and we are afraid of the possibility of being harassed by you. We are afraid of this because being sexually harassed by a man is pretty much a common occurrence among women (unwanted touching, catcalling,etc,). It is incredibly scary to be somewhere where you are outnumbered by men because the fear of being harassed is constant. Catcalling is scary, being repeatedly called a bitch for not responding to catcalls by a group of guys is scary, being followed and yelled at by guys who you are trying to ignore because they are catcalling you is scary, being touched unwantedly by a guy is scary, repeatedly saying no to a guy when he is trying to touch you and him telling you that “you don’t actually mean it” and that “it will feel good, trust me” is scary. I am only 20 years old and all of this and more has happened to me, that is scary. What is even more scary is that these are normal experiences for women, and men seem to find nothing wrong with doing any of these things.

  • Sarah

    Heidi, as a young (is 28 still young?) single lady in the career realm, I appreciate your thoughts (and as always Matt Walsh’s). It’s especially intriguing to read posts by those who DISAGREE with you; it makes me wonder (in bewilderment) what could be at the root of even the ability to be offended at chivalry/honor/respect.

    I’m thinking it has to do with pride & feelings–I *feel* like proving my independence & worth instead of submitting to anyone/thing/or any god. I suppose it’s similar to the strange fact that the good news of Christ can (and always has been/will) be offensive. Being told that you cannot deserve nor earn your way to God’s presence–acceptance/adoption is instead given completely and freely to those who look to Him–that is offensive to our prideful, want-the-credit nature.

    But back to explicit feminism. How outrageously offensive would this be if it were to become the norm again, “Because you are a woman, you cannot speak/question during official meetings–go through your husband instead.” But I feel like speaking! What if we realized that actually the Lord would still intend this practice (I’m not implying He does, but what if)?–would we resist unto death, ha, I think so–our hearts, even “regenerate” ones don’t like lords.

    And gone is the majority that would submit to that (anything) which is not in our “nature.”

    I think gender roles, feminism, and the promotion of the “hot-topic” lifestyle (which will remain unnamed because of the absurd reactions) could all be very intertwined. It’s never fun to deny oneself anything–from cookies (won’t even go into the outlandish obesity rates) to “rights” to “feelings” to lusts. I’d be curious how or if you think gender roles & feminism & the promotion of the hot-topic lifestyle play out together and what do you think, if any, are the common root(s)?

    PS: This all reminds me of this 2000 year old quote, “we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” But what’s wrong with following our desires, passions, feelings?? “Wrath”?–that’s way too strong. Unless something radical happens to one’s inmost being, it seems as though people will always believe what they want in place of what is true… But when one’s heart is attuned to true things–there is no excuse not to submit to the Word and each other. Perhaps my attempt to dig to the root of feminism and the rejection of chivalry is too deep…?

  • Drew

    Loved reading this. As a born and raised southern boy living in New England, I am experiencing how shocking and almost inappropriate it is for a man to act kind and show respect. Feel free to reach out if you need some inspiration. I have plenty of stories.

  • Jake

    Blaming feminism for this is not hating on thw feminist movement. Many feminists are trying to abolish gender roles, and that’s just illogical. Equal does not mean the same. Men are made stronger. It’s not sexist, it’s physiological. As a man, when a feminist tries to take away bits of my manhood by thinking genders are the exact same, it can be sexist towards men. But there are some awesome things that the feminist movement is doing. This article is awesome and simply saying, let men be men and let men serve women. Since when is it sexist to serve someone? This doesn’t say , “don’t ever serve a man if you’re a woman.” It is only saying that it’s okay for a man to also serve a woman. Cause in our culture, it’s starting to feel like it isn’t…

  • LA

    Something’s missing here. The woman’s role in all this isn’t just to “receive graciously.” There’s true service required on her part as well!

    Men should be more ready to serve (in masculine ways) and sacrifice creature comforts for and take the burden of leadership for women in various ways than they would not be so ready to do for other men, and women should be more ready to serve (in feminine ways)–really serve, not just “receive graciously”–and submit to and defer to men in various ways than they would not be so ready to do for other women. Now this would not be be full and complete service/sacrifice/leadership by the man and not full and complete service/submission/deferral like there would be between husband and wife, but to a certain degree depending on the culture.

  • Tom Moore

    Joyce Landorf said it best in her book “Tough and Tender (What Every Woman Wants in a Man)”: “Manners are invisible acts of love.”

  • MT

    “She said she allows her husband to be *gasp* the leader in their home.”

    And this is exactly the attitude I don’t understand. It assumes the husband has a specific, unalterable job in the home. And the wife has her place. That certainly can work, I guess, if you like locking people into their pigeonholes. But viewing relationships as a partnership, where sometimes one person is the leader, and sometimes the other is, by mutual consent, is not emasculating. I sometimes hold a door and give up a seat. I don’t do this for everyone; I do it 1) for the people who appear to need it, male or female, or 2) because it’s more convenient for everyone. I do not assume all women are fragile, precious pieces of crystal — property that needs protecting — because I believe in my heart that this attitude is simply another form of pre-judgement disguised as manners.

  • Hank

    “And what they say is simple: “I am bigger and stronger than you, but I will use my strength to honor you and protect you. I will not hurt you. I will not take advantage of you. I will humble myself before you and serve you.”

    This is a slave job. I not put any woman in a pedestal. I not bow to no one or serve no one for free. Chilvary is a mild name for slavery. Is riduculous. I not hold doors, I not offer assents, I not carry nothing. Only for eldery people for both gender.

  • Rudi

    I’m sorry but I think this old article is ‘toxic femininity”. If you want to back to Bible. God created women to help men. God did’nt create women to be served by men. (I’m sory if my English is not very good).

  • Steve1

    Thank you Heidi for this post. Chivalry is wonderful of act good manners toward lady.Man who shows chivalry towards woman means, that he wants to be kind and respectful to her, it is part of gentleman’s DNA. Husband who makes chivalrous acts for his wife,wants to say how much he loves,respects,appreciates,cherishes,adores etc her. Service is an act of love and care.
    Chivalry is not demeaning for men and women.
    Men be courteous toward women and don’t neglect them.Ladies be feminine,appreciate and inspire chivalry in men.Chivalry etiquette means good values and manners, we must teach and inspire these manners in men and women.Chivalry can make life more happy and satisfying.

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