Dear Sir Walter Raleigh Wannabe,
I came across your piece titled “Why Chivalry is Dead, From a Man’s Perspective” last week after it was shared on my Facebook newsfeed. I read it once, twice and then a third time for good measure, looking for a hint of satire. When I didn’t find it, I read about Elite Daily, thinking maybe the publication is a sort of offshoot of The Onion. It isn’t. You actually feel this way, and I’m baffled.
In your opening argument, you mention that you grew up in a tight knit Italian family, and because of that, feel you’re equipped with a strong set of values. I, too, grew up in a tight knit Italian family, and I feel similarly. I can even relate to your reference of the wooden spoon. But it seems as though you and I have very different takes on “why women act the way they do” — something on which, according to your biography, you are quite the expert.
I don’t believe chivalry is dead. I do believe the way society defines “chivalry” has changed with time.
You say that the women in your life have taught you “the value of chivalry and etiquette.” And, as a woman, I appreciate that. But the truth is, your mother and grandmother’s experiences with chivalry reflect the society in which they grew up and dated — one that left little room for the empowerment and success of women outside of the nuclear family, and is very different from ours. In fact, one of my favorite stories that my dad tells is about the time, at age 10, he beat up a boy for saying my grandmother was a terrible mother because she worked outside of the home as an elementary school teacher.
As women have gained more respect, the way society regards chivalry has shifted. It’s no longer about a man finding a woman to provide care for the family while he pursues the American Dream. It’s about mutual respect.
You say that you’re “the only single guy you know that actually takes a girl out to a restaurant on a first date.” Along with “don’t flatter yourself,” I have to say you might want to reconsider the men with which you surround yourself. I have plenty of friends who are willing and happy to spend the time and money to take a girl out on a date. I’m sure you’d get along great with them.
Then again, maybe you wouldn’t. I grew confused when you proceeded to say: “When did it become acceptable to just text a girl, inviting her to come bang? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about those instances …” Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems there are times that you dismiss the traditions you swear by, and conform to exactly what it is that you are condemning.
You also claim that the death of chivalry has led to the subsequent end of simple gestures, like holding doors open. I disagree, as I see this, among other displays of courtesy on campus, every day. I do not expect anyone — male or female — to hold the door open for me, especially just because I am a woman. I am fully capable of opening the door myself. But if do you hold the door open for me as I scurry into Mason Hall, I’m going to appreciate it and I’m going to thank you. I’m also going to look over my shoulder to see if anyone is coming in behind me before letting the door close. It isn’t about chivalry; it’s about mutual respect.
Your argument that chivalry is dead only shows that male chauvinism is still very much alive.
You state: “The real problem here is that women, for one reason or another, have become complacent and allowed men to get away with adhering to the bare minimum … and receiving what we ultimately want anyway — sex.” There is a strong differentiation between any definition of chivalry and chauvinism, and by putting the blame on women for an imagined epidemic of disrespect, you are surely displaying the latter.
Since you offered us so much enlightenment, I’d love to return the favor. If you continue to hold on to said perspective, sir, do not expect a high return rate on second dates.
Sara Morosi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.