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Feb 23 2014

Can we kill chivalry a little faster?

It’s always amusing to see sexists pretending to be rational. Martin Daubney tries so hard to be reasonable when he argues that chivalry is dead and feminism is to blame.

There is an abundance of male behaviour that is deserving of fierce criticism. But I lose the will to live when feminist bloggers find sexism in places where it doesn’t exist, and draw a line from something trivial and stupid (say, a pink child’s bib with the logo “born to shop” on it) to something serious and frightening (eg rape culture). [I think you'll find that most feminists are quite conscious of the degrees of sexism. But who are you, Martin Daubney, to say where the line is to be drawn? Do you have the privilege to say what is acceptable sexism?]

Wolf whistles, the “pinkification” of children’s toys, The Sun calling high-profile women “fillies” – these seem more sad and silly to me than genuinely sexist.[Uh, you know that sexism can be sad and silly, right?]

The problem is, this remorseless public shaming of men doesn’t just out the morons. [It's done a pretty good job of outing Martin Daubney.] It drives the rest of us [Seriously? You think you're not one of the morons?] into hiding. As the This Morning survey showed, the broader collateral damage is that men are not as nice towards women as they were. [I've never gotten this argument. Shouldn't we be nice towards our fellow men, too?] Chivalry is withering on the vine. [That sounds like good news to me!]

I think our problem is our definition of “nice” is different. I think it’s “nice” to treat other people as equals. Martin Daubney thinks it would be nice to exercise a patronizing chivalry that makes him a better person than those helpless little women.

67 comments

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  1. 1
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    This is so gormless and 1972 it should be using phrases like “women’s lib”.

  2. 2
    Lynna, OM

    Daubney is missing part of the picture. Sexism is all-prevasive, permeating every level of human culture. From born-to-shop bibs to board rooms.

    And yes, isolating a single example, like the bib, makes it sound silly. But the all-pervasive nature of sexism is serious.

  3. 3
    Dunc

    Funny thing about chivalry – it’s always dying. Even in the days of Chrétien de Troyes, it was always portrayed as something fading into history. And lets not forget, the chivalry of de Troyes includes the proviso that if a knight should encounter a woman under the protection of another knight, and “if it pleased him to give combat to that knight and win the lady by arms, then he might do his will with her, just as he pleased, and no shame or blame whatsoever would attach to him.”

  4. 4
    lindsay

    “You might offer to help change a tyre and get a slap for being sexist.”

    Yes, Mr. Daubney, there’s an epidemic of men being slapped for offering to help women change their tires. Heck, I saw it happen ten times last week! What a smarm.

  5. 5
    dianne

    Chivalry is dead? I suggest sticking a stake through its heart, removing its internal organs, and embalming it. Just to be sure. Cremating it and shooting the ashes into the sun might be prudent too.

  6. 6
    Inaji

    Chivalry is withering on the vine.

    Dear, dear. Well, Sir Daubney, polish up your suit of armor, stand it in a nice corner, get on your knees and pray for 24 hours straight. That ought to fix everything right up. Really.

  7. 7
    anteprepro

    Chivalry is much like civility: It is smug condescension covered in a nice shiny polish.

    Oh, and the Torygraph writer manages to imply that The Guardian is at fault, and also basically argues that his own “chivalry” is perfectly good because he was taught it by his mother. Anti-feminists really fucking suck at logic.

  8. 8
    Al Dente

    Daubney, you should stick to writing about subjects you actually know something about. I’m sure if you think really hard for a week or two you’ll come up with some topic you can pontificate about without looking like an ignoramus.

  9. 9
    plainenglish

    Daubney’s piece ends: “So, there you have it, in teaching me to be respectful towards women, my mum inadvertently made me a sexist pig. I’d make her a cup of tea to thank her, but that might seem sexist, too.”
    This is his tongue-in-cheek sense of humor but it truly outs him. Now, that being said, if he had gone on and allowed some insight into the layering of sexism that we go through as men trying to be aware, then I would have said, okay, now we are moving somewhere. I understand how one layer needs to come away for the next layer to be dealt with… But this dull, all the good old boys are under attack shite is just, well, more Fox News. (And listen to his burp about how his mum just loves to do laundry, to fold and whatever. Hell, he cannot even wash his own socks. I was doing that at ten while my mom worked as a nurse and my dad was saving people from the big burn, eternal hellfire!)

  10. 10
    opposablethumbs

    Pound to a penny Daubney can’t tell the difference between offering to help and shouldering someone aside with condescending and dismissive smarm and without waiting for an answer. And then expecting eternal gratitude in the form of simpering and cooing and whatever-the-fuck interaction he wants, on his terms, for as long as he wants.

    Seriously, I would be utterly gobsmacked if he could tell the difference between those two things much less understand why that difference matters.

  11. 11
    Lagerbaer

    Chivalry… it’s just a fancy word for the sexist concept that women owe you sexual favors for you being “nice” (scare quotes important here) to them, where your idea of being “nice” is just condescending.

    Let’s look at the good ol’ changing of the tire. If I see a car broken down at the side of the road, I will stop and ask the driver if they need help, regardless of their gender. If they ask me to help them change their tire, I will gladly do so.

    The sexist, however, upon seeing a female driver, would assume that they definitely can’t change the tire on their own, so instead of asking if they needed help, he will condescendingly tell them not to fret for their knight in shining armor has arrived to rescue them from their predicament. And then he’ll probably demand a sexual favor of some sort. It’s basically the Damsel in Distress trope in real life.

    Same with holding a door open. It’s not sexist to hold the door open for a woman when it makes sense to do so given where you two are relative to the door. It’s sexist to stop a woman in her tracks when it would have been more practical and less awkward if she opened the door just so you can open it instead.

  12. 12
    karmacat

    Obviously, feminism has failed because Daubney is not in hiding. We need to step it up… One thing is clear is Daubney really a great representative of oblivious privilege

  13. 13
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    I killed chivalry in my personal life in the 1960s by deciding that the first person to a door should hold it for their companions or people close behind them, the unburdened should help those laden down, and the person closest to a task should do it if physically feasible: in short, that we should act as if we were all passengers in the same leaky rowboat, travellers on the same journey, and, dammit, equals.

  14. 14
    opposablethumbs

    Not to mention he’s another one saying “you hurt my fee-fees by not being simperingly grateful! Therefore, from now on, I will treat you even more like shit than I usually do plus I will claim it’s your fault! Because your failure to fall at my feet totally justifies actively setting out to harm people and treat them as less than human!”

    What a turd.

  15. 15
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Bet he says ‘methinks’ a lot, too.

  16. 16
    zenlike

    If one of the biggest media outlets calling high-profile women “fillies” is not ‘genuinely’ sexist, then what the fuck is?

    Is there something vile enough that the Torygraph won’t print it? I seriously doubt it at this point.

  17. 17
    opposablethumbs

    Lagerbaer and Markita Lynda – yes, exactly. I give up my seat on the bus to anyone more heavily burdened/disabled/frail/exhausted etc. than I am, regardless of sex or age, and I appreciate it if others do the same for me; as for doors – obviously, whoever’s nearest with empty hands should hold the door for whoever else. It ain’t rocket surgery, it’s common decency (which Daubney obviously wouldn’t recognise if it bit him on the arse). Genuine courtesy has its roots in empathy and the desire to treat others well – unlike the bullshit version Daubney espouses.

  18. 18
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Lagerbaer

    It’s sexist to stop a woman in her tracks when it would have been more practical and less awkward if she opened the door just so you can open it instead.

    The door example is so obvious and basic, I’m surprised every time people don’t get it.

    I have men lengthening their stride so that they could come in front of me and open the door. I walk briskly, so that can sometimes end up with a near-collision. How is that “nice”?

    It’s nice to open the door for someone with a lot of bags, holding onto children, dog leashes, umbrellas and various combinations of those. Regardless of gender. And that’s not just nice, it’s a decent thing to do.

  19. 19
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Sorry, I should have refreshed.

  20. 20
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Right? Doors aren’t hard. They’re really not. Sesame Street doesn’t even need to instruct children on the etiquette of using them. If adults cannot get “doors”. . .

  21. 21
    Galactic Fork

    It’s so weird how the meaning of the word “respect” changes depending if they are talking about men or women. For men, it’s treating them as equals. For women it’s being chivalrous (which translates to being superior and condescending).
    So considering what he meant by “respectful”, when he said:

    “So, there you have it, in teaching me to be respectful towards women, my mum inadvertently made me a sexist pig.”

    He was making a pretty darn accurate statement.

  22. 22
    plainenglish

    An interesting surprise for me in Bangkok, on my way home from teaching a form of English to some Korean kids: I was on a crowded, ramshackle bus crowded with tired folks and was standing in the aisle, rocking along. The woman seated beside my stand-up pointed to my shoulder bag, smiled and pointed to her lap. She took the bag for me and carried it for the duration on her lap. So kind; I wanted to bear her children…. And in Bangkok, not a small village.

  23. 23
    Lynna, OM

    Rampant, everyday sexism example:

    The photograph shows an attractive Olympic volunteer blissfully soaking in the sun in Sochi against a backdrop of snow. Her shirt is folded up, revealing a taut stomach, and her bright blue snow pants are pushed halfway up her shins. Eyes closed, she’s leaning against a barrier that reads, “Sochi 2014—Hot. Cool. Yours.” When the photo was posted to Reddit, some took the signage — namely, that final word of ownership — a bit too literally.

    Before long, a user in the subreddit r/randomsexiness managed to figure out her name, track her down on social media and post a host of personal photographs — including requisite bikini beach shots — along with her full name. As can be expected, there were creepy remarks, like this one: “From when her first pic showed up, I knew that chick was looking for this attention.” Most commenters, however, criticized the original poster — one even complained that the post should be taken down as it violated Reddit’s ban on “doxxing,” the practice of outing someone’s personal information on the Internet. […]

    http://www.salon.com/2014/02/23/doxxing_internet_babes_she_wanted_it/

  24. 24
    Lynna, OM

    More from the Salon article (see link in #23):

    It is an interesting attitude, given that many redditors were outraged by Gawker’s outing in 2012 of Violentacrez, a troll known for spreading images of nearly-nude minors, non-consensual sexualized close-ups taken in public and, as Adrian Chen put it, issuing “an unending fountain of racism, porn, gore, misogyny, incest, and exotic abominations yet unnamed.” That apparent hypocrisy has not gone entirely unnoticed. In the same thread, Campstar wrote, “A team of redditors end up doxing a young woman just for posting pictures of herself naked on the internet (and totally violating her privacy, the expected behavior of those on the subreddit, and any sense of common decency) and the response is that she shouldn’t have been sexually liberated enough to post pictures in the first place? Really? The guy posting non-consensual creeper shots needs to be defended at all costs, and the woman posting pictures of herself just gets what’s coming to her when her indiscretions happen here?”

    Doxxing is the Internet’s ultimate form of slut-shaming – and, as this latest case shows, it doesn’t just happen to women who have taken a naked photo of themselves. All it requires is being a woman on the Internet. Whether it’s the outing of an unwitting Olympic volunteer or the doxxing of a woman who dares to anonymously volunteer herself as masturbation material, there is a common theme here and it’s a sense of sexual entitlement. It’s the belief — conscious or not — that women’s bodies, their identities, do not belong to them. It’s the double-edged sword of sexual desirability: You become more of a woman — but less of a human.

  25. 25
    twas brillig (stevem)

    What he is lamenting is the degradation of his “badge of honor” to nothingness. Regardless of the “sexism” of Chivalry for “helpless, incompetent ‘girls’”. That has little to do with it, and why he is so anti-feminism. To him, his Chivalry is what he does to display his superiority to all the other males who can see his Chivalry. To me it just sounds like Narcissism rather than outright Sexism. Sexism is just the resulting symptom of the Narcissism. But I am just “rationalizing” his “chivalry defense”. He is a sexist, claiming to just be chivalrous (which is itself sexist), I just want to add Narcissism to his “flaws”.

  26. 26
    tsig

    I imagine he pictures himself on the white horse.

  27. 27
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Gentleman author says:

    I just had a moan to her, downstairs, where she is folding my laundry (not because I chained her to a radiator and withheld rations, but because she actually enjoys it).

    LOL, isn’t he funny?

    Maybe she finds folding laundry relaxing, maybe she just enjoys making her son comfortable, what the hell do I know? I am pretty sure in my knowledge that not all women who fold their husband’s or sons’ laundry enjoy it, and that you don’t have to be chained to a radiator to feel obligated to do something you don’t enjoy doing.

    My mum hates ironing. She isn’t chained to the radiator, and yet she irons my father’s shirts.
    Because he will nag until she does it (I guess he would iron them himself eventually, after running out of ironed shirts), she feels like it’s her obligation as his wife, she doesn’t want to cause arguments, etc.

  28. 28
    Travis

    You might offer to help change a tyre and get a slap for being sexist.

    Does this actually happen? I have asked plenty of people if they need help when it looked like they were struggling as of yet no one has slapped me and I have helped quite a few people. If this does actually happen I have to wonder if they are being pigs and do not realize it, like sliding up to someone changing a tire and being condensing and getting chewed out a bit.

    I have men lengthening their stride so that they could come in front of me and open the door. I walk briskly, so that can sometimes end up with a near-collision. How is that “nice”?

    I have to admit, I do occasionally shorten or lengthen my stride at doors when I see that I am likely to arrive at the same time. I hate that awkward moment. I would either like to arrive once they have opened the door, or with plenty of time before.

  29. 29
    Martin Wagner

    There is politeness and courtesy and respect, and then there are people who think they deserve a cookie for those things. Those people call politeness, courtesy and respect “chivalry.” Much the same way the religious think there’s no point to morality if it doesn’t make God smile and stamp your ticket to Heaven.

  30. 30
    Randomfactor

    I think he’s lamenting the loss of his inevitable rights to the prize AFTER his chivalry. After all, if he doesn’t pay for dinner…

  31. 31
    WithinThisMind

    In this state, there are a lot of entries with two sets of doors. My husband’s legs are longer than mine, and so when we go places together, he quickens his pace slightly to get to the first set of doors and holds them for me, then I step inside and open the second set of doors for him. It’s become such a natural part of our routine that it no longer even requires conscious thought. We are also both prone to standing there to let other people through before going ourselves.

    I have never once seen him berated for opening the door. I have, however, seen him berated for letting me open the door and been berated for not standing in the entry and waiting for him to open the next door for me.

    I’ll grant that those were fairly isolated incidents. The vast majority of the time, we both get a thank you or at least the casual node of acknowledgement and everyone goes on with their lives.

  32. 32
    anuran

    “Chivalry” was an institution designed to keep expensive professional killers serving the social order rather than destroying it. Some obligations up and down the ladder. A minimal code of conduct mostly having to do with keeping your hands off other thugs’ property. A vague approximation of manners. Loyalty and obedience to the guy up the food chain. Some public piety in the hopes that the Church would help keep their worst impulses in check.

    It’s not much of a loss.

  33. 33
    Marcus Ranum

    Chivalry was classist and elitist. Bon voyage, you parfit gentle k-niggits!

  34. 34
    andrewbrown not the one from the grauniad

    I think all you need to know about how this guy forms his opinions comes from the fact that he cites a surevey from This Morning, the vacuous TV show as his evidence of significant societal change. What next government policy based on TV surveys? (Oh wait Gove’s already done that!).

  35. 35
    Jackie

    Argh. I hate it when benevolent sexism is trivialized or treated as if it’s not sexism at all. It’s so pervasive and condescending. Just yesterday my youngest daughter informed me that gentlemen should always hold doors for ladies. I responded that everyone should be polite and hold the door for the person behind them no matter their gender. That’s what they’ve always seen me do, so where did the idea that this was a gendered thing come from? This morning I overheard my youngest son complain about having to fight a “girl” in a video game.(LOTR) That was from a boy who likes to watch Buffy and wants to re-watch The Hunger Games everyday. They are not learning this stuff at home. Society is still training it into them.

    We recently babysat a little boy who loves dolls. His foster mom described that as “weird” but at least she did not discourage him. When we took the kids to a toy shop and perused every isle with wide eyed delight, his older brother said he felt embarrassed when his brother and I oo-ed and ah-ed at various dolls just because he was in the pinkified isles. (I prefered Transformers and Golden Girls* to Barbies as a kid, but had their been Monster High Dolls in the 80′s, I’d have tried to collect them all) He’s already painfully aware of what the world thinks of girls and of boys who like “girly” things. That’s so sad.

    ..and how is labeling a baby girl as having been born to consume material goods not horrible? Can you imagine the reaction if the same bib was marketed to baby boys?

    *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Girl_and_the_Guardians_of_the_Gemstones

  36. 36
    Jackie

    Let’s not forget that Chivalry also stated that if a woman was traveling without a man to protect her, it was perfectly fine to rape her.

    WhyTF would anyone lament the passing of something like that?
    I mean, I know why. I just can’t wrap my head around openly pining for a time when it was considered honorable to rape women while calling women silly for despising that time.

  37. 37
    Deen

    It drives the rest of us into hiding.

    No, it doesn’t. I’m not hiding from women, and I’m sure many men are quite comfortable around feminists too. Why does he presume to be speaking for all men? Not very polite of him, is it?

    Seriously, I think it’s really telling that he literally can only think of two options: you’re either a moron, or you’re hiding your sexism. Not a very flattering view of men either.

  38. 38
    unclefrogy

    it is clearer every time I listen or read any “great thoughts” or opinions of reactionary fools that they make up what ever facts they need make their personal perceptions appear real and rational.
    What might be the main defining characteristic of conservative, reactionary authoritarian personalities is this in ability to question there own thinking or their facts and the interpretation of what facts they do have.
    None of them seem to very well grounded in the real world we all live in but are living in a world that is almost entirely in their own head or so it seems. I have no idea of what to say to any of them or where to start.
    uncle frogy

  39. 39
    Rey Fox

    The Sun calling high-profile women “fillies” – these seem more sad and silly to me than genuinely sexist.

    Only because of the gains of feminism. Fifty years ago, such “sad and silly” sexism would be genuinely frightening and silencing. And Daubney would probably clapping and hooting along with it.

  40. 40
    Jackie

    Deen,

    Not a very flattering view of men either

    It never is when your dealing with sexists. They seem to have twisted views of everyone.

  41. 41
    Lou Doench

    But you need Chivalry in order to discover Banking! #ihavebeenplayingtoomuchCivV

  42. 42
    David Marjanović

    Oh, and the Torygraph writer manages to imply that The Guardian is at fault

    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    *suddenly stops laughing*
    *scrolls back up*
    *mouses over link*
    *finds that the good Sir Martin didn’t just publish on his blog or at AVM or something, but in the Torygraph*
    *desks head*

    From when her first pic showed up, I knew that chick was looking for this attention.

    …I don’t think I’ll ever understand the amount of narcissism & wishful thinking it takes to believe such a thing.

    Bon voyage, you parfit gentle k-niggits!

    Thread won.

    But you need Chivalry in order to discover Banking! #ihavebeenplayingtoomuchCivV

  43. 43
    chrislawson

    Following from anuran@32:

    I’ve seen a most excellent comparison of the mafia code of honour and chivalry in that they are both ways of codifying behaviour for violent men with little impulse control so that they don’t destroy the hierarchy around them.

    It’s also worth bearing in mind that chivalry is a concept that lasted centuries and was applied across a wide range of cultures. The idea that it was a single, monolithic code is historically wrong. When someone bemoans the death of chivalry, the question I always want to ask is: which code of chivalry? The one that treats women of defeated opponents as sexual treats? The one that says the Church must be defended at all costs (aka Ratzinger Chivalry)? The one that says you must wage war on the Infidel at every opportunity?

  44. 44
    hunter

    I don’t think it’s just that Daubney doesn’t get sexism, which he obviously doesn’t — it’s that he doesn’t get common courtesy.

  45. 45
    feralboy12

    But I lose the will to live when feminist bloggers find sexism in places where it doesn’t exist

    No! Don’t jump! Please! Don’t jump!
    Set fire to yourself instead!

  46. 46
    shelly

    Is this the Martin Daubney who was an editor of Loaded magazine and who has penned the odd column for both the Grauniad and the Daily Mail? Oh my, what a variety of opinions he holds and all of them poorly thought out.

  47. 47
    chigau (違う)

    A truly chivalrous person would go through the door first.
    What if it’s a trap? or there are vicious pumas?

  48. 48
    anteprepro

    Is this the Martin Daubney who was an editor of Loaded magazine and who has penned the odd column for both the Grauniad and the Daily Mail?

    If so, then, ladies and gentlement…brace yourself…and behold Chivalry ! Just as his Mum taught him, I’m sure.

  49. 49
    theoreticalgrrrl

    I’ve heard this “chivalry is dead and women killed it!” more than a few times. I’ve also heard that “Chivalry isn’t dead, guys just get tired of ungrateful bitches.”

    The only negative experience I’ve had with this door-opening controversy was a few months ago when I was ahead of two guys at the gas station mini market and, being a nice, polite young lady, I held the door open for them. Normally, even if it’s a man I’m ahead of, they say thank you and walk in. That or they hurry up their step and grab the door before I have a chance to and let me in first. Which is polite, and I always say thank you. These guys stopped dead in their tracks and both gave me the dirtiest looks and would NOT move. I waited a little more, but they still stood there. I gave up and went inside. It was really bizarre.

  50. 50
    theoreticalgrrrl

    I’ve heard this “chivalry is dead and women killed it!” more than a few times. I’ve also heard that “Chivalry isn’t dead, guys just get tired of ungrateful bitches.”

    The only negative experience I’ve had with this door-opening controversy was a few months ago when I was ahead of two guys at the gas station mini market and, being a nice, polite young lady, I held the door open for them. Normally, even if it’s a man I’m ahead of, they say thank you and walk in. That or they hurry up their step and grab the door before I have a chance to and let me in first. Which is polite, and I always say thank you. These guys stopped dead in their tracks and both gave me the dirtiest looks and would NOT move. I waited a little more, but they still stood there. I gave up and went inside. It was really bizarre.

  51. 51
    anne mariehovgaard

    Travis @ 28

    You might offer to help change a tyre and get a slap for being sexist.

    Does this actually happen? I have asked plenty of people if they need help when it looked like they were struggling as of yet no one has slapped me and I have helped quite a few people. If this does actually happen I have to wonder if they are being pigs and do not realize it, like sliding up to someone changing a tire and being condensing and getting chewed out a bit.

    Or they insist on helping even if she doesn’t want or need it i. e. ignoring her “no”‘s and invading her personal space and generally acting rapey.

  52. 52
    sonofrojblake

    I have men lengthening their stride so that they could come in front of me and open the door. I walk briskly, so that can sometimes end up with a near-collision. How is that “nice”?

    I don’t think that’s nice, or nasty. I’d read it as the parallel equivalent of the “droitwich”, the little dance you do when someone’s path on the pavement intersects with yours and you both step left, step right, apologise and repeat. It’s a little socially awkward, I’d speculate at least as much for them as for you.

    I don’t open doors for women. I open doors for people. The only people who ever complained about this behaviour were women, precisely twice in about thirty years. Did their rudeness make me less inclined to be courteous to people in future? No. Why on earth would it? Chivalry, dead? Good.

  53. 53
    ledasmom

    A truly chivalrous person would go through the door first.
    What if it’s a trap? or there are vicious pumas?

    That is why people have children. You may have thought that those parents who allow their children to charge through doors first were rude; actually, they are canny.
    I must note that I first read the above as “vicious pajamas”. Sending the children through the door first works against vicious pajamas, too.

  54. 54
    doublereed

    I thought chivalry died like twenty years ago.

  55. 55
    Amy Cocks

    That film “They Live”…
    Got the message about breeding, consuming and obeying pretty well established as little kid, somewhere in the girl’s aisle of Toys R Us. If Roddy Piper’s outrage at this finding all that out is justified and makes for rather good film, whereas a woman feeling that way about it is just wrong then…uh huh…do explain.

  56. 56
    anteprepro

    I thought chivalry died like twenty years ago.

    Just like most things pertaining to feminism, they only half-died, and then everyone assured everyone else that feminism had done it’s job and wasn’t necessary and there was nothing to see here anymore, folks, move along. And then, just like a cliche movie villain, they are back from the dead, alive and kicking, just in time for the sequel.

  57. 57
    Crimson Clupeidae

    Wolf whistles are not sexist? Really? So then I have to assume this guy wolf whistles at men equally so?

  58. 58
    Amphiox

    But you need Chivalry in order to discover Banking! #ihavebeenplayingtoomuchCivV

    But we’ve already got Banking. And there’s too much of it now.

  59. 59
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    sonofrojblake,

    … someone’s path on the pavement intersects with yours and you both step left, step right, apologise and repeat.

    This is accidental.

    I have men lengthening their stride so that they could come in front of me and open the door.

    This is deliberate.

  60. 60
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @ledasmom:

    Sending the children through the door first works against vicious pajamas, too.

    I…am…dying….

    …being a parent SO changes one’s sense of humor.

  61. 61
    David Marjanović

    And then, just like a cliche movie villain, they are back from the dead, alive and kicking, just in time for the sequel.

    “I, Dr. Fu Manchu, live!

  62. 62
    ledasmom

    Crip Dyke:
    It was shortly after I wrote that comment that we around here collectively realized that the prescription antihistamines were making me, perhaps, a shade too drowsy.

  63. 63
    AMM

    I’ve been re-reading Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror, about France in the 14th century. It seems to have been during the flower of chivalry. “Chivalry” seems to have mainly meant making fighting — plunder, murder, rape, wanton destruction, and generally acting like thugs — the highest virtue. It also included “courtly love,” which was by definition adultery, and a virulent misogyny — many of the best-sellers of the time were about how depraved women were and how they were the source of all sin.

    Also note that, to the extent there were even in principle restraints on what knights did to nobles, there were none at all when dealing with commoners. Peasants and commoners were regarded as even more depraved than (noble) women, and deserving of whatever mistreatment nobles and knights chose to do to them.

    If there is less “chivalry” now, it’s probably because the truly “chivalrous” very quickly end up in prison for life.

  64. 64
    Moniqa Aylin

    I was recently blocked by a long-time friend on Facebook because I complained about chivalry on my wall because a man at work was halfway through a door before he saw me and stepped back INTO me, nearly causing me to drop a quart of chili on the ground, in order to hold the door open for me, this being the second door into the building after I had somehow magically teleported myself through the first unaided. I have since been informed that I am an ungrateful, extremist, feminazi cunt for failing to show proper appreciation of being frequently inconvenienced and literally physically jostled by presumptuous and sexist so-called “good intentions.”

  65. 65
    thecynicalromantic

    It always amuses me when I hear people saying “chivalry is dead” etc. and expecting you to understand that they mean it as a complaint because they think chivalry is awesome, but everyone understands that “condescension” is bad, to the point where those of us that aren’t sexist twits often try to explain why we dislike chivalry by saying it’s condescending–we expect this to function as an explanation because we assume that even pro-chivalry people tend to not be pro-condescension. No one goes around literally whining that condescension is dead and that’s terrible; back in ye goode olde days people used to be properly appreciative when you condescended to them.

    In the societies where “chivalry” was a thing–namely weird aristocratic societies with a billion kinds of titles and shit where everyone knows and cares whether you’re a lord or a gentleman or a peasant–”condescension” is a positive term. You don’t have to go back too far in time to find “condescension” being used as a compliment–and specifically referring to egalitarian behavior–mainly in British literature that I’ve found (off the top of my head I remember Jane Austen and T.H. White using it). At any rate, “condescension” used to mainly mean being more polite to or showing more personal interest in someone below you on the class hierarchy than was required. When the idea that some people are “below” you is a given, this isn’t a bad thing. It’s a nice, democratically-minded sort of thing.

    When it isn’t a given that some people are socially “below” you, then assigning someone that status is insulting; now “condescension” refers more to “acting like you’re some great lord doing the little people some kind of big fucking favor”, which is super rude if you are not in fact a great lord and the other people are not in fact peasants and it is not a big fucking favor to employ basic manners when talking to them.

    And even the biggest pro-chivalry twits don’t pretend otherwise. They don’t say “Yes, that’s what I was going for” when you call them condescending; they get offended and insist that they totally aren’t condescending how dare you.

    Why is chivalry not similarly understood to have no possible place whatsoever except as an insult in a society without an aristocratic system? Why did “condescension” get unequivocally turned into an insult and “chivalry” is somehow still kicking around as an ideal? Why did one word evolve sensibly to match the expressive needs of a modern democratic society and the other one just… didn’t? (This is why language is fascinating.)

    I think when people start wibbling about chivalry we should continue to call them condescending, but we should say it like we’re agreeing with them and giving them a really big compliment. “Yes, I am so pleased that you condescended to open the door for me instead of making me take the servant’s entrance! It really makes me feel like you see me as a proper laaaaady, even though I’m actually descended from Irish peasants. This is an extremely relevant and meaningful way for me to be treated in twenty-first century America.”

  66. 66
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    I once experimentally left the dishes undone to see if my husband would do them. After two weeks, when the ones on the bottom of the stack were stinking of rotting food, I gave up and started voluntarily doing it all myself.

  67. 67
    Dhorvath, OM

    Markita,
    I have tried the same with my wife and laundry. Now I just pick it up because it’s easier to walk around.

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