The phrase “Chivalry is dead” is probably something you have heard a thousand times before. It’s not accurate though. It is more appropriate to describe it as being in a deep coma, struggling to survive. With all the misconceptions and misunderstanding about what chivalry is, it’s hard to find the beginning of its demise. Five seconds into a show like “Jersey Shore” or “16 and Pregnant,” you can tell that chivalry is reaching extinction.
The most common misconception about chivalry is that it’s about men having to open doors for ladies, men having to pay the bills for dates, and men having to give seats to ladies. This is probably why most males might feel that chivalry is not fair. Actually, chivalry is much more than just what you do. Being chivalrous is about being polite, kind and most importantly, being respectful.
Unfortunately, modern boys are often better at humiliating girls rather than respecting them: they use unrefined language to gossip about girls, and they act inconsiderately and ignorantly as if girls are items and not human. Chivalry is the sort of gentlemanly behavior that shows class and dignity. Talking trash might make you feel good in front of your friends, but it’s simply not worthy behavior. You don’t have to bully to gain respect; you gain them naturally when you respect other people.
Role models in the media often have a negative impact, such as scandals on the front page of magazines and attention-seeking reality television shows. What they do in the shows infantile; it shows the kids that having a tan or behaving brutally to a female will “get you the game.” Kids and teens without fully developed judgment will simply follow what other people do around them and what they see every day in the media. When everyone around them talks nastily about women, and all the stars on T.V. humiliate their “enemies,” how can any of them learn the proper behavior?
Even in West Linn, disrespectful slurs are often used. Guys use them to gossip about girls, especially girls that are not recognized as one of “their kind” or not highly attractive. It’s hurtful, and might even make one doubt her self-worth. There are laws and regulations that eliminate physical conflicts and damages, but what about the damage these comments make emotionally and psychologically?
Women who would appreciate an act of gentleness will suffer the most during this incorrigible time of disrespect. It hurts their feelings whenever they are not appreciated for their hard work and are subjected to sexist jokes; it’s like a slap in the face with the word “disrespect” written all over it. The only two solutions to solve this problem are to change ourselves by being honorable, and to be assertive when somebody mistreats other people.
We can’t change society overnight, and we certainly can’t expect other people to change due to our demands. What we can do is simply be polite and chivalrous. We can also make sure that the role models that appear on the big screen are people worth emulating. Courtesy should be practiced.
Chivalry should not just exist in ‘80s movies; it should be practiced every day.