Upon entering the search term ‘feminist good manners’ into google one day, one of the first papers to crop up was one entitled “No chivalry, thanks”.
The author of that article sought to differentiate between the notion of ‘good manners/politeness’ on the one hand and ‘chivalry’ on the other. Her position was that good manners are mostly OK, whilst ‘chivalry’ is bad. I agree with her that chivalry can be a negative factor … but not for the reason she states.
Let’s detour for a moment to visit www.thefreedictionary.com, where upon entering the term “good manners” we bring up the following related words:
- personal manner, manner – a way of acting or behaving
- niceness, politeness – a courteous manner that respects accepted social usage
- urbanity – polished courtesy; elegance of manner
- graciousness – excellence of manners or social conduct
- chivalry, politesse, gallantry – courtesy towards women
- respectfulness, deference, respect – courteous regard for people’s feelings; “in deference to your wishes”; “out of respect for his privacy”
- civility – formal or perfunctory politeness
The definition of the term ‘chivalry’, on the other hand, includes “The qualities idealized by knighthood, such as bravery, courtesy, honor, and gallantry toward women”, and “kindness and courteousness especially towards women or the weak”.
Back now to the ‘No chivalry, thanks‘ article where the author takes aim at two criticisms of feminism, which she describes as being:
The “cake and eat it too” complaint: “This anti-feminist argument says that women want to be independent and strong when it’s convenient for them, but they don’t want to lose the option for men to buy them dinner, open doors, and all around make them feel special. We want all the rights afforded to men, but that we also want to be treated better than men. Feminists want special, not equal, treatment, or in other words, they want their cake and to eat it too”, and
The “feminists hate manners!” complaint: “Other anti-feminists have chosen to smack-talk feminism by claiming that any stance which truly speaks out against chivlary (sic) is actually an affront to good manners.”
The author indicates that she’d “like to dismantle these complaints”, but in fact her views only serve to reinforce the validity of those complaints whilst undermining the feminist perspective generally. Her comments include:
The core of my disdain for chivalry is that it’s rooted in a gendered premise. Its very notion is that women need special assistance and wooing, which I flat out disagree with. Given this, I can say fully that I do not want or expect chivalry. In that way, the “cake and eat it too” complaint is nonsense to me. I do not want any person to look at me and treat me differently based off of (sic) my gender, even if that treatment is favourable.
(Mod: My emphasis added. LOL … I think we could readily find a plethora of exceptions to that with respect to feminist goals and achievements generally!)
“The same goes for stereotypes of all sorts–just because something is “nice” (ie Asians are so smart!) doesn’t make it any less racist. So with chivalry, just because it’s “friendly,” doesn’t make it any less sexist.”
“All in all, I simply feel that chivalry and feminism are inherently incompatible. I would never expect to be treated both equally and special. That’s an oxymoron. In fact, I’m not entirely sure that there are women who actually are advocating for both. Yes, some women want chivalry, but I would suspect they do not typically identify as feminists. To me, it seems a to be a straw man situation, as is the claim that feminists are really attacking manners. Nevertheless, it is important for us to understand the arguments used against our viewpoints, no matter how trivial.”
So in short, many feminists abhor chivalry because they perceive it as a pattern of behaviour intended to subjugate and patronise women, and as a manifestation of what they term ‘benevolent sexism‘.
Ah, but it gets confusing. In yet another of their breathtaking displays of hypocrisy, feminists strongly rely upon and encourage chivalry to achieve their goals. Look at all the calls for men to mobilise against other men in stopping domestic abuse and rape. Consider the #HeForShe campaign and many other similar campaigns. In none of these examples do feminists call for, or support, corresponding campaign for women to support men or men’s rights.
In contrast, the core of my ambivalence in relation to chivalry is that:
- I believe in gender equality, and chivalry cannot and should not exist where there is true equality
- Chivalry is the fuel that drives the actions of ‘white knights’, men who make it their duty to hamper progress on raising awareness and acceptance of men’s rights issues.
- Chivalry stands in the way of objective reasoning. Chivalry causes men to conflate the often unreasonable assertions and demands of feminists, with the welfare of women generally. I see this happening in almost every mainstream media article that permits readers to contribute comments, wherein men attack one another in the mistaken belief that any progress on achieving mens rights is not just a set-back for women, but somehow akin to spitting in their face. If only such men would make an effort to familiarise themselves with not just the specific issue under consideration, but also both the nature of feminism and of men’s rights advocacy generally.
More thoughts on good manners and chivalry
This reader’s comment by ‘SantaOrange’ in a Reddit discussion thread addresses why chivalry is a major constraint to making progress on men’s rights (10 May 2017)
Here’s a recent newspaper item that features a prat-like whinge from a woman who would like men to leave her alone – after they perform whatever service she requires. Presumably men are meant to magically realise that she is a feminist and is not interested in social overtures. But on the other hand they are magically meant to know that although she is a feminist, she does appreciate men helping her by performing manual labour in relation to her overweight carry-on luggage. Perhaps if she held up a sign providing all this information, then men might be more co-operative/compliant. A subsequent online discussion can be found here.
And here is an article on the subject of holding doors open (plus readers comments) in a feminist blog.
Here is an article entitled ‘He also pays for his own dinners‘ that , in a patronising tone, sniffs at the notion of men displaying chivalry and their motivations for doing so. The best thing about the article was this readers comment:
“The most generous and helpful thing a man can do for a woman on an individual level is to hold her accountable – no letting her off because she’s female.
If traditional expressions of chivalry are important to women, let women do them. My girlfriend brought me flowers last night because I had a bad day. Fine. I’ll cook her dinner sometime.
Listen men, chivalry backfires. If you pay for the first date you’re losing a valuable opportunity to screen out the women who will see you as nothing but an ATM machine. And there’s no such thing as paying for a first date anyway. When you pay for a first date, you’re making it cheaper for her to go on another date with somebody else. You’re just subsidizing her search for the perfect man. Do yourself a favour and make women chip in for their quest for Mr. Right.
And men, while we’re on the subject of chivalry, remember you’re not a human punching bag. Make it very clear at the beginning of the relationship: if she ever hits you, screams at you, or calls you names, or tries to humiliate you in front of your friends, or destroys any of your property on purpose, or tries to use sex as a bargaining chip, that’s the end of the relationship, right then, right there. No questions asked. No looking back. Just walk away.
Don’t let your sense of chivalry turn you into a victim. You’re better than that.”
Men are weirdly concerned about trans women’s use of female bathrooms, according to new study (December 2016) How to take a good thing – men’s ingrained protective instinct towards women – and paint it as a negative.
“Men were 1.5 times more likely than women to have concerns about transgender women using women’s bathrooms.”
Man stabbed in Southbank while coming to woman’s aid (25 February 2017) Australia. It appears the female being assaulted left the scene – did you she render any assistance to her rescuer? Don’t be that guy. Timely that this incident occurred the same week as this article in The Conversation.
Dave Chappelle on how women killed chivalry (21 November 2016) Comedy video
Home Hill stabbing: British journalist Tom Jackson attacked as he went to aid of Mia Ayliffe-Chung (26 August 2016) Tom sadly later died from his injuries.
Damseling, chivalry and courtly love (part two) by Peter Wright (17 July 2016)
Belinda Brown: Women exploit men’s chivalrous instincts (12 June 2016)
Chivalry is not dead when it comes to morality (8 June 2016) We’re more likely to sacrifice a man than a woman when it comes to both saving the lives of others and in pursuing our self-interests, a team of psychology researchers has found.
The Confused Male: Do women really want what they say they want? (3 May 2016) UK
Chivalry: A learned deathwish, by Paul Elam (25 April 2016)
Would you be a Good Samaritan? Chinese kung fu student JAILED after saving woman from sexual harassment on a bus (22 April 2016) China. The woman ran away
Liz Hayes relives terrifying moment 60 Minutes crew were attacked (21 March 2016) Australia. Careful Liz, don’t let the feminists hear you admitting that – it’s kind of the opposite of their precious narrative …
“I just knew, they wouldn’t hit me … I was glad, right then, that I was a woman. I felt they wouldn’t hit me because of that, and that might mean I could slow things down a bit. I’m pretty sure if I was one of the guys I probably would have been hit as well.”
Good Samaritan Norman Olsen dies in hospital (24 February 2016) Australia
Female bouncers, sin bins should be considered as part of lockout laws, psychologist says (19 February 2016) I think female bouncers would be less likely to get punched due (in part) to chivalry, but the idea appears to contradict the feminist position on DV whereby men seen to be just as likely/more likely to hit a woman.
Chivalry and the Law: How Women Get Off, by Krista Milburn (15 February 2016) Recommended reading
Feminism, sex-differences and chivalry (7 February 2016)
Boats for women, by Mark Dent (12 January 2016)
Chivalry still a force to be reckoned with, by Miranda Devine (12 December 2015)
“The most despicable thing about the feminist movement is that it exploits male protective instincts and male virtues such as self-sacrifice for the “greater good” in order to expand female privilege. It doesn’t actually challenge these gender roles in any meaningful sense. But I agree it’s time to put an end to chivalry. The cat is out of the bag and it’s not going back in.” (Source)
Man is crushed to death by falling elevator in New York City (1 January 2016)
Video captures man’s attempt to catch woman falling 11 storeys (1 January 2016)
If men owe women chivalry, what do women owe men? (30 November 2015)
YOYO 19: One day a month, stop protecting women (30 September 2015)
The sad reality of today’s male-female dynamic. I have women I love in my life and I wish things were different. It’s sad people have to think twice before helping others (9 September 2015) Reddit discussion thread
Why don’t we have stories about women sacrificing themselves for the men they love? by Janet Bloomfield (9 July 2015)
Men must stop playing by the rules, walk away, and claim their autonomy. The gender contract is null and void. If a new social contract is to be agreed, it must be agreed by free men (18 June 2015) Reddit mensrights discussion thread
Model receives death threats after splitting bill on date (22 April 2015)
Chivalry but equality: The feminist double-standard, by Prentice Reid (21 April 2015)
What ever happened to chivalry? by Peter Wright (13 April 2015)
Opinion: Chivalry, not gender politics, dictates who pays for that first date, by Caroline Marcus (12 April 2015) Notice not one reader comment in support of this hypocritical sexist tosh
John Stuart Mill on chivalry (31 March 2015)
Chivalry could indicate hidden sexism, study finds (10 March 2015)
I’m a Feminist and I Still Want These 7 Gentlemanly Gestures. Do You? (20 February 2015) and related reddit mensrights discussion thread
White Ribbon Campaigns: Promoting medieval chivalry (25 November 2014)
And more recently, an article entitled ‘Equality is essential but so is chivalry‘ (Herald Sun 16 June 2014). This one very much in the all rights/no responsibility vein. It starts of bemoaning the fact that nobody stood up for a pregnant woman on a train and then goes on and on from there. The usual feminist theme of … there’s a problem, men caused it, and it’s mens responsibility to fix it … to our specifications. No readers comments were permitted – wonder why? Thank goodness that this MRA made the time to prepare a great rebuttal.
Why women need to start asking men out … because men have no balls (9 September 2014) The author of this incredibly sexist article, notable only for the caustic criticism of the 1,200+ readers comments that follow it, was Lauren Martin.
Jennifer Lawrence Nude Pics Highlight Ongoing Struggle With Chivalry (2 September 2014)
How to be a 21st Century ‘Gentleman’ (12 September 2014) I liked this reader’s comment: “Are there any classes teaching women some basic etiquette, too? Why are we just gripping on men when women need just as much a major make-over on behavior”. This theme is oft repeated – recent versions here and here, and with a rebuttal article here
Feminists and their progressive allies think that children swearing edgy and humorous – provided it’s for a ‘good’ cause (October 2014)
Why I no longer hold doors open for women (9 September 2014)
‘Why didn’t I stop to help a woman in need?‘ (5 August 2014) The article is fairly ordinary but there is some excellent material amongst the readers comments section.
From “Women assault elderly man” to “Shame on men” in easy steps, by Jim Muldoon (1 March 2014)
Women are fine with sexism … as long as it benefits them (22 October 2013)
The One Good Man (16 March 2011)
Now for the background to this article you’ll need to take a look at this other blog post. In the article feminist author, Lauren Rosewarne, lashes out at those concerned about comments made by a federal parliamentarian. That politician told journalists that she wanted a male partner who was rich, well-endowed and who didn’t talk. Lauren haughtily admonishes us, “today the sane amongst us dismiss such notions as laughably repressive and egregiously controlling.”