Oh No, We Murdered Chivalry Again.
All Florida State University Freshman William Biagini wants to do is open some doors for some ladies. Alas, he lives in the year 2021, and that isn't even legal anymore. In a deeply compelling and original op-ed for the Florida State University News, Biagini boldly asserts that "Chivalry didn't die, it was killed."
Now, some of us might say these two things are, definitionally, not mutually exclusive, as the end result of being killed is dying, but let's hear him out.
"Chivalry is dead." I wonder how many of us have heard that sentence in our lives? Personally, I hear this all the time; every time I do, it is increasingly dismaying because, for the majority of people today, this is most definitely the case. However, many people are mistaken about what the reason for its death is. Chivalry did not just die over time; rather, it was killed.
Before I explain how the art of chivalry was killed, the definition of "chivalry" must first be understood. "Chivalry" is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary ...
Oh, wow, he's really gonna do this.
... as "an honorable and polite way of behaving especially toward women." So, in light of this definition, chivalry is the art of behaving with gentlemanly conduct. One of the most common ways in which we see chivalry demonstrated is by the simple act of a man opening the door for a woman and letting her pass through first.
Many women today claim, quite often, that this is a gesture that is condescending towards women and is done by the man because the man believes that the woman is not capable of opening the door herself and is therefore inferior. However, this is highly incorrect.
Who? Who does this? Who says this? Who does this man think is actually sitting around talking about door-opening when we are about to lose our reproductive rights in several states? He doesn't provide a link to these "many" women, and I've spent my whole life, from infancy onwards, in feminist circles, without anyone once bringing up door-opening, with the possible exception of Jessie Spano, a fictional character on a show this young man has probably never even seen.
The reason why a man opens the door for a woman is not that they think she cannot do it herself. In fact, in my personal experience, I have never met such a man. The reason why a man opens the door for a woman is that this is a straightforward, unspoken act that lets her know that she is special. Even though men know full well that a woman is entirely capable of opening the door for herself, they do it because it is a simple act of kindness.
I open doors for people all of the time, regardless of their gender. I say "thank you" when people open doors for me, regardless of their gender. Were I ever in some kind of situation where a man was clearly opening the door for me with some kind of chivalric intention, I would also just say "thank you," and not just because I have absolutely no interest in discussing complex gender dynamics with strangers, but because I have manners.
Anyone who would complain about women, hypothetical or no, not wanting doors opened for them, is missing the point of manners entirely. Good manners and etiquette are not about tradition and doing things the "right" way. They are, ultimately, about making other people comfortable (within reason, of course). If someone were uncomfortable with a door being opened for them, it would be bad manners to insist upon doing so despite their discomfort. A gracious and thoughtful person would understand that it's not always about them and what they want.
However, modern feminism has pushed the idea that the "patriarchy" still exists in order to suppress women and any act that a man does that even remotely resembles this idea is looked upon as oppressive towards women. In simple terms, modern feminism pushes the idea that chivalry is just a sugar-coated term for the oppression of women.
The patriarchy does still exist. This man's desire to be allowed to do something to or "for" women, something he believes he is "not allowed" to do, is evidence of that.
But don't worry your pretty little heads, ladies; William Biagini wants to be clear that despite his dislike of "modern feminism," he is okay with all of us voting.
This is precisely what killed the art of gentlemanly conduct. According to Match.com, 73% of women say that chivalry is dead. So, then, what is responsible for the death of chivalry? The answer to this is modern feminism. I am not referring to the movement that took place during the early decades of the 20th century to get women in the United States the right to vote; I am referring specifically to the modern feminist movement.
Quite hilariously, the modern feminist movement does not bring honor and respect towards women, but rather, it degrades them and completely disrespects them because it pushes the idea that they should not accept polite gestures from the opposite sex because it "oppresses" them. For this reason, many do, in fact, believe that chivalry is dead and gone forever. Modern feminism led even Dave Chappelle — an American comedian — to state, "Chivalry is dead. Women killed it."
This is completely ridiculous, and lord help us from the legions of white conservative men who now think they are Dave Chappelle. It's never going to end. We are going to be stuck with this shit for years.
Again, no one is complaining about polite gestures, and a gesture isn't polite if it is unwanted. While polite under most circumstances, it is rude to send congratulatory flowers to someone you know is allergic, or a bottle of wine to someone you know to be a recovering alcoholic. "Polite gestures" require context, and they are not meant to be about the person executing them.
However, not all women are happy that this is the case. One article titled, "If A Guy Opens A Door For You On The First Date, Make Him Your BF ASAP," goes into detail to explain why men who open doors for women are high-quality men. Some of the aspects of this mentioned are that he is a mature male, he appreciates women for who they are and he is the example that chivalry is not dead.
In light of this, there are things that we can do to prevent the complete destruction of gentlemanly conduct. We can continue to open doors for our ladies, smile, pay for their food on dates and reverse the effects that modern feminism is having on our country.
Just to be clear — as a feminist — I absolutely expect men to pay for dinner, at least until we get the wage gap sorted out. I consider it a patriarchy tax and a down payment on my extremely good cooking skills. It's all about balance, and no one is getting any braciole until I've decided I want to keep them around. That is not a euphemism, I just make really good braciole.
I have a feeling that this William Biagini fella has not interacted much with human women outside of his clearly fertile imagination, and is primarily relying on the word of right-wing pundits (and Elite Daily) to inform his understanding of "modern feminism" and "the way things are." Unfortunately for him, publicly positioning himself as a complete and utter tool his first semester at college is unlikely to lead to any significant change in those circumstances.
Wonkette is independent and fully funded by readers like you. Click below to tip us!
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse