Sunday, April 18, 2010

Is chivalry to blame?

One of the emerging ideas in the men's rights movement is that chivalry is to blame for the problems men face in modern society.

Pierce Harlan, for instance, recently wrote an article about feminist reactions to the sinking of the Titanic. Back in 1912 the men on the Titanic accepted certain death by giving up their places on the lifeboats to women and children. Many women were impressed by this act of chivalry, with one group of American women erecting a memorial to the men who had sacrificed their lives.

But there were feminists in 1912 who did not wish to accept that the men had made any remarkable sacrifice for women. Some feminists argued that the women had it just as hard as the men as they had to watch from the lifeboats as the ship went down. Others argued that it was a part of natural law for women to be saved as they were more necessary to the survival of the race.

In other words, the feminists denied the existence of a chivalry which accorded them certain privileges in the way they were treated.

Pierce Harlan's take on all this is that society in 1912 accepted the existence of a chivalry which privileged women in certain ways, but that our society, just like the feminists of 1912, denies its existence:

Now, almost 100 years later, chivalry is still a potent force in our society affording special treatment to women in countless ways, but we've done a 180 from where we were in 1912: we've adopted the attitudes the suffragettes held in 1912 of denying that chivalry exists. Their denial -- so marginalized and disparaged in 1912 -- has become the norm in 2010. Denial that chivalry exists is necessary in order to pretend we embrace gender equality. It's a charade. We were more honest about gender in 1912.

Harlan believes that feminists were right to aim at gender equality, but that we don't have true gender equality because women are still privileged by the "potent force" of chivalry.

He supports the views of one of the feminists of the Titanic era who recognised the chivalry but who thought it misguided:

The memorial was not without its detractors. "Some feminists criticized the memorial, saying it was inappropriate to not only commemorate but perpetuate the notion of chivalry. Margaret [Molly Brown] responded that she thought it was very brave that some men had chosen to step aside and let women and children live -- but the gesture should never have been required by law or custom."

Molly Brown, of course, "got it." If only her kind of rational thinking had prevailed.

Now, almost 100 years after Titanic, in important ways, we are less honest about gender than we were when the mighty ship sank. In 1912, women did not have the same rights as men, but society freely acknowledged the chivalry at work on Titanic.

Today, we claim to embrace gender equality, yet chivalry is alive and well and manifests itself in countless ways -- and we pretend it doesn't exist. Like the elephant in the room, it leaves its imprint on virtually every institution, but it's entirely too politically incorrect to acknowledge.

The argument is straightforward enough: modern society promises us gender equality, but men don't get to enjoy equal treatment because of an influential chivalry which can't be openly acknowledged.

Despite its virtues of being simple and clear, I think the argument is wrong.

Chivalry is not the main driver of modern society. It is not a "potent force". There may be a residue of it left in the lighter sentences handed to women in the legal system and in the reluctance to commit women to combat roles or to the military draft.

In general, though, women have been given preferential treatment for an entirely different reason. They have been given preferential treatment because of the way that "gender equality" is understood in liberal societies. Therefore, men's rights activists ought to be wary of accepting the aim of "gender equality" as it is understood today.

The problem is this. Liberals believe that the key good that defines us as human is autonomy. We are autonomous when we are independent, when we have the power to enact our will, when we can choose our own life path etc.

This idea put women at a disadvantage. It made the lives that women traditionally led seem inferior. After all, women were tied biologically to motherhood rather than choosing amongst a range of career options; they were financially dependent on men; and they did not have the same political power that (some) men had to determine social outcomes.

So the early feminists declared that women, as a matter of equality and justice, ought to be free to live the same lives that men did. They rejected the idea that women lived different lives to men because of natural differences between the sexes. Instead, they explained historical differences as a product of socialisation that could be overturned.

The more radical feminists went further and claimed that one class of people ("men") had enjoyed an unearned privilege by oppressing another class of people ("women"). The oppression was systemic throughout society, and was embedded in the culture and institutions of society, including marriage, romance and chivalry. Domestic violence and rape were used by powerful men to maintain their patriarchal privileges.

This is the set of ideas that has been accepted by the Western political classes. The assumption is that women have been historically oppressed and that it is therefore serving the aim of "gender equality" if they are given special treatment in order to lift their status.

In theory, it ought to be enough to give women equal opportunity. After all, if men and women really are the same, and sex distinctions are just social constructs, then men and women with equal opportunities ought to end up having equal outcomes.

But this hasn't happened. Men have continued to earn more, to dominate boardrooms and so on. Liberals don't respond to this by accepting the fact of gender difference. Instead, they assume that historic oppression is still at work and stubbornly resisting women's liberation. They then enact various forms of affirmative action until they get the outcome they want.

This will go on no matter how much men's rights activists argue against chivalry. Let's say that men's rights activists argue that women should serve in combat roles just as men have to do and that this would mean that women are not being given preferential treatment because of chivalry.

What would happen? First, the liberal establishment would be more than happy to take on board the suggestion. Most Western countries are moving in that direction anyway. Nor would most feminists object. Most of the feminists I've debated think it's their right to fight in combat.

But would this stop women getting preferential treatment? The answer is no. When the next round of earnings statistics appeared, and they showed women not earning as much as men, there would still be the same outcry about inequality, and there would be further attempts to rejig the system to favour female earnings. The same with superannuation. Or boardrooms. Or number of MPs. Or women in engineering.

So, again, I would ask men's rights activists to question the assumptions behind liberal notions of "gender equality". Once you accept the liberal version of gender equality you are committing yourself to the view that:
  • sex distinctions are just social constructs
  • personal autonomy is the overriding good in life, and not relationships, the good of society, love, feelings of connectedness, the welfare of children and families and so on.
  • women are not being treated as fully human until society creates the conditions in which they can live as men do
  • preferential treatment for women is justified to overcome historic oppression  
One final point. I don't believe that chivalry fits well with modern social conditions. So I'm neither expecting nor advocating for it to make a resurgence.

However, I do remember the culture of chivalry from my youth in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was a matter of everyday culture back then, at least in middle-class Melbourne, for men to offer up seats for women, to hold open doors, to change tyres, to offer to carry bags and so on.

My memory is that it was largely a positive thing. You would make such a gesture for a woman and she would accept graciously. It was something that marked gender differences in a positive way and which helped to create a good feeling between the sexes.

The feminists of the time were not amused. When I first arrived at campus in the mid-80s there were meetings being held in which such practices of courtesy were strongly criticised. A small number of feminists began to attack men who held open doors, word got around and by the late 80s men had mostly given it up.

My point is that it would be wrong to see chivalry as something that feminists have used against men. There may have been instances of this, but to a considerable degree chivalry was something that expressed a positive feeling of mutuality between men and women.

68 comments:

  1. it would be wrong to see chivalry as something that feminists have used against men.

    I think it is proper to see chivalry as something feminists have used against men. Feminists have undeniably done so! They are shamelessly seeking advantage, and they don't want to give up chivalry because that would give up an advantage. Feminism is the offense, in which they push into traditionally male areas of privilege, while chivalry is the defense, in which they preserve areas of traditional female advantage and deny them to men.

    This is well explained here:

    http://markymarksthoughts.blogspot.com/2009/05/some-are-more-equal-than-others-by.html

    The way we need to understand what the heck happened in the last 40 years is that it was all incremental for women.

    In other words, when women talked about 'equality' -- that never really happened. In order for equality to happen (and it never would be perfect anyway because perfect equality is a utopian ideal), women would have had to have given up their very real privileges -- privileges around children, sexual power, military service, courtship rituals, things like Systems is mentioning and so on.

    Feminism talked a bit about getting rid of these things, but of course nothing much happened to them, because apart from the radical Marxist bitches in the academy, most women had no interest in giving up their power bases (sex and children) or the privileges they had accreted over the ages relating to these, even as they eagerly embraced the new powers and freedoms given to women by feminism: sexual freedom, economic opportunity and so on.

    So at the end of the day it was all incremental power and freedom for women. They surrendered pretty much none of their traditional power and privilege, yet colonized the male power base and eroded areas of male privilege in the name of 'equality'.

    We see all of this coming full circle in things like the phenomenon of women's only floors in hotels. Women fought tooth and nail to push their way into male-only institutions, destroying the places where men could congregate and be men together. But what do we find once women have colonized the male power centers themselves? They seek to recreate female-only spaces, where women do not have to deal with being around men. It's the classic case of a simple power grab. Women are happy to exclude men, but unwilling to allow men to exclude women. Another double standard and female-only privilege, and an example of how feminism has never really been about 'equality', per se, but rather about increasing female power -- and not stopping at some mythical 'equality', but proceeding until women have consolidated power not only over their own power bases of children and sex (more woman dominated than ever) but also what was previously the male power base, leaving men with ... nothing.

    Basically it's fair to say that women defended their own power bases and actually increased their power over them substantially such that they have a near totalitarian power over their own traditional bases of children and sex (abortion rights, VAWA, rape and harassment laws, c/s regimes, family law) while aggressively colonizing the male space. When women speak of equality, therefore, I think what they really mean is (1) equality between men and women in what was previously the male space coupled with (2) absolute power of women in the female space.

    Some equality, huh?

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  2. But anonymous this is where we have to be careful in how we discuss these issues.

    There is a difference between talking about women not giving up advantages in the name of equality and women being preferenced because of chivalry.

    Are women allowed to have women's only organisations because of chivalry? No. It is because they are tagged as the oppressed group, so having their own organisations is thought to allow them to organise for their own emancipation, outside of oppressive male structures.

    Men are not allowed to have men's only organisations because they are tagged as the oppressor group. Allowing them to organise would be to allow them to get together to organise the continuing oppression of women.

    That is how the double standard has been justified - and not in reference to chivalry.

    It is therefore useless to take as a point of attack a few hapless American church leaders who still promote chivalry within their congregations.

    The point of attack has to be the political ideology which leads to men being tagged as an oppressor group.

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  3. If that's the case, then why does the legal system treat women in such a chivalrous manner.

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  4. Anonymous,

    As I wrote in the main post:

    Chivalry is not the main driver of modern society. It is not a "potent force". There may be a residue of it left in the lighter sentences handed to women in the legal system and in the reluctance to commit women to combat roles or to the military draft.

    Yes, it's a reasonable point to make that male judges do tend to give lighter sentences to women and this may well be due to a residual chivalry.

    But that is not what is driving the larger changes to society. If you were to replace those older male judges with newer female ones you might get closer to equal treatment - you might see women spending more time behind bars.

    But would that really solve the predicament men find themselves in? Would it, for example, restore to men a necessary role in the family? Would it discourage women from aping the worst kinds of male behaviour? Would it discourage women from deferring a serious commitment to family life? Or from too easily divorcing their husbands?

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  5. "Some feminists argued that the women had it just as hard as the men as they had to watch from the lifeboats as the ship went down."

    *Supresses smile*

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  6. It really gets down to the fact that society and women feel themselves more important than men. If a young male is killed or commits suicide, it might make page 12 but if a young girl or woman is killed there will be an outcry and a demand for something to be 'done'.
    Walk into any doctors surgury and you see posters about pap smears, ostio, domestic violence (read all men are dangerous), menopause...the list goes on. In many surguries the only magazines you get are Woman's Day etc. It no wonder men don't go to the doctor!
    Perhaps we should ask feminists why they aren't agitating for the women's retirement age to be lifted to 70. They live 6 years longer than men anyway and men had to work longer for all those years. Perhaps American feminists could explain why they aren't complaining about the thousands of young men who have had their lives destroyed or cut short in Afganistan and Iraq. Shouldn't they be demanding that women are killed and maimed at the same rate as men? They're always big on quotas. Maybe we could agree to this one.

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  7. Without essentially disagreeing with much of what's been said previously I think we can agree that women wouldn't make as good soldiers.

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  8. I think I wrote that piece quoted by Anon actually.

    I wasn't speaking about chivalry per se, there, rather more about structural female privilege around children and families and so on.

    When I speak about chivalry I'm not talking about holding the door open. I think that in the US chivalry plays itself out in a society-wide favoring of women. Not the affirmative action stuff. I mean the overall tendency for the society to think better of women than it does of men -- men are the suspect class, women are the trustworthy "good guy" class, in US culture currently. I think that's largely based on ideas of chivalry, which sees women as men's "betters".

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  9. Going back to the soldier side, its men who howl about women in the military not women. That's because:

    1. It messes up the dynamic,
    2. It messes with the training and leads to a softening of standards.
    3. Men see it as a priviledge to serve in combat roles or in the military.

    This may sound odd but soldiers actually fight to get onto combat deployments like Afghanastan, at least the first couple of times. For the simple reasons you'd read about in the comics, that's where the action and honour is (its also well paid, at least in Oz I'm not sure about other countries, which is a good incentive).

    Going back to the main topic. I'm inclined to agree that gender equality is an overriding political motive, but you can't underestimate the importance of chivalry.

    Firstly as was stated its the flip side of female "power" so to speak, they can aggressively compete in new areas while still maintaining older privileges.

    Here's another way to look at it though. Why should we have gender equality in the first place? Essentially because we like and respect women and because its good manners to respect women. The perceived way to do this is to promote at least formal equality if not equality of result

    Feminists are notorious for their bad manners, going into a room and saying that all the men are potential rapists and abusers and actual oppressors and all the women who don't with them idiots, is a little crass. They've learned this from their Marxist buddies who are espoused with working class values and who see manners as the oppression of the middle class bourgeois. Only power, force and justification (and in their world everything and anything is justified) matter. Nonetheless the feminist message is essentially pitched to the middle class and presented as fairness and decency/good manners.

    Manners are essentially a middle/upper class value, I may be castigated for saying this. The middle class, whilst still powerful, is today under serious pressure because their values, discretion, sense, politeness and sobriety, are all considered weak or fake. Instead what is promoted is a grasping for power and an undermining of traditional forms of authority in the name of freedom, which inturn ups the anti for graspings for power.

    Chivalry as good manners is something that the middle class, and men as well really cling to. They don't want to lose it to have it replaced by the values of the pushy plebs or overarching quasi-oligarchs (as fun as it might be to pretend you’re them from time to time). If promoting women's rights is one way to preserve chivalry or good manners/decency, men and the middle class will support and promote it.

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  10. Novaseeker wrote,

    "I mean the overall tendency for the society to think better of women than it does of men -- men are the suspect class, women are the trustworthy "good guy" class, in US culture currently.".

    But that's not chivalry. That's just plain old bigotry.

    Chivalry is comprised of two things:

    1.) The recognition that females (women and girls) are physically weaker than males of the same age.

    2.) Males (men and boys) have a responsibility before God to protect females from the brutal consequences of that weakness.

    Now, if you accept that survival is good, there are even good non-theistic reasons for chivalry. Women are physically weaker and more vulnerable, and there is something attractive about that to men. Are you unattracted to women as they are? Would you have them look physically strong and invincible...something more like men? No? But if they are to continue being weaker and more vulnerable than men, even though there are bad men around who would take advantage of them, then there must be other men who defend them. How else do you think they're going to survive?

    There is much more to chivalry than female survival. But one consequence of eliminating chivalry is a lessening of female security.

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  11. Chivalry...ah ha!! That may explain what happened last night...

    I go to blockbuster and there is an asian father with his children leaving. The little 2 year old daughter was holding the door open for her dad and her brothers so I'm entering the store and I (female) immediately grab the door from the little girl and hold it open for the entire family.

    So then the dad just stands there having a conversation in the doorway as I (white female) am standing there holding the door open for him and his children. Anyways, I finally escaped and made it into the store with an excuse me and smile.

    Chivalry made European society better than all the other societies.

    What is wrong with Australian women?

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  12. I mean the overall tendency for the society to think better of women than it does of men

    I agree that the tendency exists. It's more difficult to say where it comes from. Chivalry has been around since medieval times. I don't think Western societies thought better of women than men from the era of chivalry onwards.

    It's said that in later Victorian times, with the advent of ideas of "the angel of the house", that women began to be looked on as more pure and more moral. However, I have to say that if you read Edwardian literature there is still a tendency to idealise the qualities of both women *and* men. The language of nobility is still often used in reference to men in Edwardian literature in a way that doesn't happen now.

    So I wonder if part of the problem is that the idealised, middle-class culture was displaced after WWI by a more modern, "scientific" view of man as a rational animal etc.

    When I was in my teens (1970s/early 80s), it's true that women were thought of as the more moral sex (partly because they really did act in a more refined way). However, Australian men still had a positive self-image, not so much in terms of the older language of nobility, but in terms of achievement as pioneers, as soldiers and as sportsmen.

    It wasn't really until the more radical forms of liberalism hit and insisted that white males were oppressors on multiple fronts that the positive regard for Australian men fell away entirely.

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  13. One more point about chivalry.

    Mark, you wrote,

    "One final point. I don't believe that chivalry fits well with modern social conditions. So I'm neither expecting nor advocating for it to make a resurgence."

    I wonder why you think that chivalry doesn't "fit well with modern social conditions"? Perhaps the social conditions are different where you live, but here in the inner-city, many practices that were once thought quaint are now becoming a matter of physical safety.

    The women at my church here do not walk alone outdoors after dark without a male escort. No, we aren't Muhammedans. It's just that they've come to realize it's a jungle in here, and women aren't well equipped by Nature to handle that alone. Put more simply, they're sitting ducks.

    The men sometimes complain about it under their breath, but it's come to be seen as bad form to do so. It's just a sort of expectation that you walk the lady back home or to her car. You wouldn't want anything to happen to her after all.

    It's neo-chivalry, I guess. And, at least here, it very much "fits with social conditions" haha :)

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  14. The little 2 year old daughter was holding the door open for her dad and her brothers

    Well, the 2-year-old girl was the junior person in the hierarchy!

    Anonymous, I well remember the day I left Japan, having worked there for a year. I had packed two large suitcases, filled mostly with books. They were very heavy.

    I reached the railway station accompanied by a small civic delegation. In Japan the stations are often raised a long way off the ground. You need to climb a steep flight of stairs.

    I began to lug my suitcases up, but my supervisor wouldn't let me. He motioned to the most junior person in the hierarchy, a tiny young female, to do the job.

    I had to watch her almost kill herself trying to get those suitcases up to the platform whilst a group of much stronger men stood around oblivious to what was happening.

    So, yes, chivalry was part of the Western way of doing things. It was a culture shock for me at times to live in a society where it was absent.

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  15. We may not call it chivalry, then. What I was referring to, as I wrote, is the overall tilt away from men and in favor of women -- in moral terms. It may not be based on chivalry, but whatever it *is* based on, it's turned the culture largely against men, and women don't seem to mind at all because it advantages them.

    The natural female power base is around family, children and reproduction/sex. That power base has been enhanced and fortified over the last 50 years thanks to abortion, birth control, easy divorce with mother custody, high levels of child support and so on. Women always had more power in these areas, but today they have a monopolistic control over them.

    At the same time, they have aggressively colonized what was previously the male space, with much male assistance. This leaves men pretty much outgunned in terms of social worth and power. If women control 100% of the prior female space, and even, say, 40% of the prior female space, that equates to around 70% of total worth and power. It really is that simple.

    I think when you staple that together with the kind of pedestalization of women that Anglo countries inherited from the Victorian age (whether we want to call that chivalry or not ... the Victorians called it "woman worship"), you get a massive societal tilet *against* men in terms of how they are viewed, valued and considered. Women are simply considered better than men today -- morally, intellectually, emotionally, and so on. Our television screens in the US are filled with show after show depicting the incompetent, lazy boob of a guy who manages to scrape by in life because of the utterly fantastically competent women in his life who clean up his messes. The message is clear -- women are better than men. Keep in mind, this is a culture where girls where t-shirts with epithets such as "Girls Rule, Boys Drool" and "Boys are Stupid! Throw rocks at them!". These are our cultural values. Perhaps they are not based on what some people wish to define as "chivalry", but the cultural phenomenon of this tremendous tilt towards females and away from males is a very real thing, and it's still going gangbusters here in the US at least.

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  16. That would be 100% of the prior female space and 40% of the prior *male* space.

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  17. Novaseeker,

    I think guys like Warren Farrell in the Myth of Male Power has really persuasively staked out that case. Although I agree with him and you, you'd have to say he was a bit of leftie wouldn't you? Consequently he's very willing to use the "man as victim" approach (alongside poor as victim, black as victim etc). Isn't that approach demoralising and disempowering?

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  18. I wouldn't suggest using the male as victim approach, and I don't agree with Farrell's goals (he is more of an equity feminist .. he's really just trying to reign in what he sees as excessive feminism). I do think, however, that men need to realize the position they are in and do something about it. That's a bit different than being a victim. A victim asks someone else to fix their problem, whereas a man should be able to do something to fix the problem himself, or together with other men. Until he sees the problem clearly, though, he can't do that.

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  19. Here's a thought...based upon Mark's Japan experience....

    Isn't chivalry (and the traditional society of the past) an evolutionary adaption to make society run more efficiently?

    It's a waste of energy and time to have the weakest in the group pick up the heaviest object.

    It seems to me that everything we are experiencing (including feminism) is the product of two very different lines of thought...

    Some people make rules and decisions based upon the reality of the world around them.

    Some people would prefer to get an idea in their head and then mold society in that image....reality and consequences be damned.

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  20. Mark said:

    "Chivalry has been around since medieval times. I don't think Western societies thought better of women than men from the era of chivalry onwards."

    What about courtly love? Which centered on women, made them the arbiters in the realm of love and involved an obligation to serve them?

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  21. Here's the deal. Someone give me the name of a tv show or episode that showed a blatant hapless white male.

    I will then wikipedia the author of said tv show and look up their biography. That should out the true culprits pretty quickly.

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  22. Novaseeker said,

    "I do think, however, that men need to realize the position they are in and do something about it. That's a bit different than being a victim."

    Agreed. I'd like to add one more thing though. In the Army Reserve we have some guys who aren’t the strongest cats in the world, although they are a minority. They seem to think that they'll get ptsd at the slightest thing. The rugged soldier seems to have passed for these people to the soldier on the verge of a mental breakdown. This view is encouraged by psychologists, general social softness, and left-wingers who see war as heinous.

    It was encouraging recently to have a visit to our unit of a big strapping ex 3RAR soldier, who’d just transferred into the psych corp, saying that statistically you won't get ptsd from going on a deployment. That the vast majority of soldiers do appreciate going on deployments, which is generally true, although it is stressful.

    These soldiers are encouraged in their men as tissue paper ideas by general notions that see men as victimised in society. Perhaps you could say that now they although in the past they weren’t so men were tougher. That would be a neat formulation but I don’t think it’s accurate. I think it’s rather just the modern trend towards softness and excuse making.

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  23. Novaseeker wrote,

    What I was referring to, as I wrote, is the overall tilt away from men and in favor of women -- in moral terms. It may not be based on chivalry, but whatever it *is* based on, it's turned the culture largely against men, and women don't seem to mind at all because it advantages them.

    Sure, and that "it" you're referring to is just one side of liberalism. Other sides include:
    -anti-white bias
    -anti-Christian bias
    -anti-hierarchy, and so on.

    do think, however, that men need to realize the position they are in and do something about it. That's a bit different than being a victim.

    Look, handling physical danger is something men do well. Women, not so much. Most women scream, cry and then run into the closest big burly arms, when things get bad. Some fight, but let's face it, they're no match for an evil man their size. That's just how it is.

    When all is nice and safe, some morally-challenged women think men are dispensable. These women take over men's jobs like law enforcement and run it like women do.

    But a funny thing happens.
    -Law enforcement becomes softer and gentler.
    -Criminals become harder and more vicious.
    -The whole country becomes deadly and dangerous.
    -Women run back to men to make it safe again.

    Now, I know this feedback cycle is not particularly quick. Feminism has been going on for, what, 100 years or more? But, from my vantage point at least, we're nearing the end of the cycle, and the correction is shaping up to be decisive.

    What should we men do? Be strong, resourceful, capable, etc., so that we're ready when our womenfolk come running back into our arms ;).

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  24. Ok so on the article Marc link's too they have this....


    "Women first" Is the Universal Rule, says Sylvia Pankhurst, and This Is No Exception
    _________________________

    New York Times Heading 1912

    So my first question was who is Sylvia Pinkhurst? She's a Communist. Then my second question is...

    How does a female british communist even get top billing in the New York Times in 1912? Notice this headline is not like the other headlines in that it shows absolutely no disapproval of Sylvia's views...In fact it subtlety states her views as fact...

    So now we have to find out who was the author of that article and what his agenda was at the New York Times.

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  25. Ok you know what I'm not backing down from this...

    It's very subtle and you guys may think I'm crazy but here is the orignal article PDF

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9406EFDD1E3CE633A25752C2A9629C946396D6CF

    Why out of all the suffragists did the choose to highlight Sylvia Pankhurst in the headline and article? Especially after the Women's Suffragist movement discarded what that women said? Now that should have been the headline of the article "Suffrage Movement tells crazy Sylvia to shut up" but the article leaves that to the very end.

    Does anyone see the point I'm trying to make? The women suffragists NEVER said any of that....Sylvia Pankhurst did.

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  26. Hey anon, you wrote,

    "Does anyone see the point I'm trying to make? The women suffragists NEVER said any of that....Sylvia Pankhurst did."

    Maybe I don't. You're pointing out that Pankhurst's anti-male bias didn't represent 1900's feminism.

    That's true enough, maybe, but it certainly does now. Are you saying the NYTimes is responsible for pushing it to that point and not feminists themselves?

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  27. Yes!!!

    Read the article!

    Sylvia Pankhurst was a communist who infiltrated the suffrage movement. She thus had very different goals than say your average housewife suffragist.

    The New York Times at this point in history was already being slowly infiltrated.

    So they publish this very misleading article where suddenly this ONE woman is speaking for the entire suffrage movement. Suddenly, with this one article, Sylvia is the official "Brain/Intellectual" of the suffrage movement. When in fact, her ideas were renounced by the Suffrage organization. But you don't find that out till the end of the article. But by then it's too late. Your brain has already been warped. Sylvia's name was in the headline so it's too late. Thus, the radical ideas of Sylvia start to disseminate through the whole movement to those 'follower' types of lesser intelligence.

    Very clever.

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  28. I think the media, then and now, chooses these people, highlights them in the spotlight and thus destroys genuine movements.

    And the end goal is now what we are seeing, the destruction of our society.

    See Mrs Mansel said the new woman "would rather be without exceptional treatment" I want to know a) Mrs. Mansels politics and b) when she said that quote and whether it had anything to do with the Titanic. Also, Cecil Chapman's quote certainly does not show any male hatred. In fact, it kinda shows overwhelmingly love (I think I'd rather go down with my husband too.) But see Cecil certainly didn't make the headline.

    The communists and their ilk took over movements and changed the voice of the movements to radicals which then became mainstream. It's like a parasite taking over a beloved celebrities brain and then disseminating its ideas.

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  29. I liked your piece. My take on Titanic and chivalry was off-topic for me, and I certainly don't feel that I've nailed the subject. It raises a host of issues that I could only explore on the surface. Anyway, what the hell do I know? My issue is false rape claims.

    I do know this: our modern notions of gender equality are decidedly un-American, and they are destructive of some pretty damn important values, because they conflate disparate outcomes with discrimination. The progressive view is that unequal outcomes prove that discrimination is rampant when that simply is not the case. It is most certainly in everyone's interest to fight for equal opportunity; it is equally certain that it is not in society's interest to insure equal outcomes. So why do we do it? Politics, pure and simple. What better way to pander to a group than to promise it equal outcomes? Unfortunately, we are stranded in an age where group identity victim politics has taken hold of one of our parties, and the other isn't a whole lot better.

    Keep up the good work.

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  30. I recall press reports of the Port Arthur massacre stating that several husbands stepped in front of their wives to try to shield them from the bullets. My recollection is that the men were mostly elderly.

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  31. Bartholomew said:

    "What should we men do? Be strong, resourceful, capable, etc., so that we're ready when our womenfolk come running back into our arms ;)."

    I think Barthlomew is loving the breakdown of our inner cities ;). Only joking lol.

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  32. Anonymous said:

    "I recall press reports of the Port Arthur massacre stating that several husbands stepped in front of their wives to try to shield them from the bullets. My recollection is that the men were mostly elderly."

    I didn't even hear of that, *Shakes head*. I mean that is genuinely heroic.

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  33. Unfortunately I knew this girl from law school.

    "http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/wounded-anu-graduates-set-to-be-evacuated/1373545.aspx?storypage=0"

    There was a drive by terrorist shooting in Mumbai where the couple were holidaying. After the shooting started everyone started to flee. The boyfriend as he started running realised that his girlfriend wasn't with him, she'd been shot in the legs, and he went back for her, lay over her while the shooting took place, then carried her out. Apparently coming eye to eye with a gunman as he left. There was a deal of talk of him being nominated for a bravery award.

    I hate to sound incredibly mean spirited, and I realise that this guy was very gutsy and level headed, but I would think that going back for your girlfriend, or making sure she’s safe, in such an emergency would be the minimum standard of acceptable behavior. The idea that guys should flee each for themselves as a "normal" standard of behavior I think is quite appalling.

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  34. Insanely dedicated and self-destructive deference to undeserving women is not chivarly, but a parody of it. Indeed, it is a famous subplot of Don Quixote.

    Critics seem to attack chivalry as filtered through Man of La Mancha, a romanticized take on the Quixote parodies.

    On the intellectual plane, the Marxist oppressor-oppressed paradigm is far more influential to modern feminist success than chivalry. Look up Jennifer Roback Morse's summary of Frederich Engels writings on the family.

    Chivalry thrives on distinct sex roles, while feminism collapses them.

    Rather than men's "chivalry" paving the way to feminist triumph, I would blame self-confidence that the status quo could survive a few proposed changes by women. The abandonment of male duty, not its co-optation, was more consequential.

    Perhaps the timeframe is a cause for disagreement. 19th century reaction to suffragettes could be explained as a chivalric impulse, but 20th century feminism latched itself to racial equality as seen through Marxism.

    While it was ludicrous for bored housewives in the 1960s to compare themselves to slaves, this makes sense politically in the US context because the Civil Rights Act made both sex and race protected classes.


    Another point of feminist influence: Sigmund Freud's nephew, the first PR man.

    The documentary "Century of the Self" shows he ran with the idea of penis envy. He tried to tell women they thirsted for power, and constantly implied that this thirst could be remedied by purchasing consumer products.

    One of his first marketing coups was in cigarettes. As respectable women smoked far less than men, this custom needed to be challenged head-on.

    He hired women to pretend to be suffragettes and spread plans of their march to light "freedom torches," cigarettes, as a way of protest.

    This connected female vanity, rebellion against custom, and self-indulgent activism with the ideals of liberation. And added a profit motive, too.

    Freud's indirect influence in marketing and in movies and television must be counted as a major influence in the creation of the "dopey manchild" character as well as the anti-ideal of the empowered woman who shops a lot and snipes at weak men.

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  35. I trully am a bastard. There was a lot of noise in the media about this when it happend and the couple were such a liberal poster couple, the girl was certainly very attractive. My thinking at the time was that the press were being a little too generous.

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  36. The timing of my comment post may obscure my intent. I was not attacking honorable self-sacrificial acts of men on behalf of women, but rather the unfocused critics of chivalry.

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  37. Kevin J Jones said:

    "This connected female vanity, rebellion against custom, and self-indulgent activism with the ideals of liberation. And added a profit motive, too."

    Hahahaha.

    "Insanely dedicated and self-destructive deference to undeserving women is not chivarly, but a parody of it. Indeed, it is a famous subplot of Don Quixote."

    Ok if we tone down the insanely side, isn't tilting at windmills for slightly undeserving women, (it was prostitutes in Don Quixote wasn't it? Although I don't think he realised they were which was part of the joke) kind of sweet. I mean they might act badly but that doesn't give you an excuse to? Take the Adam West Batman series, he was always trying to save Catwoman, though not ridiculously so. Aside from getting the occasional kiss out of it it was also nice. An opportunity for redemption and everything.

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  38. Kevin Jones said:

    "Rather than men's "chivalry" paving the way to feminist triumph, I would blame self-confidence that the status quo could survive a few proposed changes by women. The abandonment of male duty, not its co-optation, was more consequential."

    I think that's largely right.

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  39. Every guy who pitches for women though, like every football player who wears a pink shirt and thereby shows his sensitive side, is applauded by women. This has to be an incentive.

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  40. I would think that going back for your girlfriend, or making sure she’s safe, in such an emergency would be the minimum standard of acceptable behavior. The idea that guys should flee each for themselves as a "normal" standard of behavior I think is quite appalling.

    Meh. If she can't get off her ass and run, that's her lookout.

    As a general rule, since women don't regard men's lives as worthy of special concern, why should I regard women's lives as of special concern?

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  41. Awesome post K Jones. I think more people need to know how the Freud family was involved.

    People don't realize how much of our modern day ideology has been dictated by a small tight knit group of (sometimes related) people.

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  42. Anonymous said:

    "As a general rule, since women don't regard men's lives as worthy of special concern, why should I regard women's lives as of special concern?"

    Oh you know what else are you going to do with your life? Guys build bridges and go to the moon to impress women right?

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  43. Ultimately chivalry stems from the notion that a woman's eggs are more valuable than a man's sperm. Particularly a pretty woman.

    So there ia an evolutionary biological basis for this form of sexism.

    There is not alot of chivalry left in post-modern society. But attractive females ("damsels") are privileged over un-attractive females and ordinary males.

    Everytime a cute girl goes missing its a national tragedy. There is even a name for this phenomenon: Missing White Woman Syndrome (MWWS).

    Also a lot of attractive females attract a massive disproportion of society's disposable income. Think of all the fancy restaraunts, jewellery and couture shops which exist so that wealthy men can throw money at cute women.

    Its a big part of the economy. And its sort of a biased form of chivalry.

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  44. "Ultimately chivalry stems from the notion that a woman's eggs are more valuable than a man's sperm. Particularly a pretty woman."

    I know this is traditional MRA theorty, but to me, it doesn't really make sense. How about the women beyond child-bearing years? Are we too stupid to realize they're too old to have kids? On Titanic, the old hens were given seats in lifeboats while fathers who actually supported the entire family, and who could still produce sperm -- and who, by any logical measure were more valuable to the family than mother -- allowed themselves to be sent to an icy grave.

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  45. Yep. I think it has more to do with the "women are our betters" aspect coupled with the "women are weaker" aspect than it does with egg value. Using the Titanic example again, the "weaker" argument doesn't make much sense, because it's not harder for men to drown at sea, really. It strikes me as something that is instead rather reflexive based on cultural over-valuing of women as compared to men.

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  46. Novaseeker said:

    "It strikes me as something that is instead rather reflexive based on cultural over-valuing of women as compared to men."

    By saying cultural "over-valuing" doesn't that imply a pejorative? Wouldn't a lot of guys be willing to take a bullet for a women? I mean this is what we do, fight, strive, push, protect? Do we sit down and do a calculation of a woman's egg value or attractiveness before we go to help her? I would hope not. A granny, by definition of her weakness should be protected more rather than less, and damn the utilitarian value.

    I think a lot of guys would relish the chance of being far more active or protective of women in their lives. I would think it would really beat sitting in an office or accumulating assets.

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  47. Not a pejorative, but simply coming to grips with the Titanic. The fact that Granny is weaker than a 20 year old man doesn't mean she needs to be in the lifeboat and he doesn't. The water will kill the 20 year old guy pretty quickly too. It would be one thing if the 20 year old male were protecting granny from being beaten up by a bunch of thugs -- that is protecting weakness. Exchanging a certainty of death in either case isn't protecting weakness, however -- it's valuing one life more than another on the basis of sex. It's because granny, as a woman, is more valued than any sort of man. I don't think that's based on eggs and womb space, because that doesn't apply to granny. It's based on a cultural tilt valuing women.

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  48. "Exchanging a certainty of death in either case isn't protecting weakness, however -- it's valuing one life more than another on the basis of sex. It's because granny, as a woman, is more valued than any sort of man."

    I'd certainly have trouble getting in the raft over even granny. But its easy to say that in the abstract.

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  49. I mean if a guy died the old question would be "did he die well?" rather than "oh no he died". I'm sure you know that one of the problems the Israeli army had with its mixed force is that guys would put themselves in excessive risk to rescue female soldiers. This is not because soldiers are all girl loving pansies but because I think they see it as their role to face these kinds of dangers but that it isn't really the woman's. A lot of guys wouldn’t really mind that kind of danger and would have to be restrained by commanders. Guys put themselves in all sorts of risky situations and I think are far less concerned about things like death. Its the mothers who stay home and fret. The whole “why would you go over the top?” question raised about soldiers in the first world war is really a question designed for women and opponents of the war. I think a guy in that situation would feel “how could I not?” or that the question wouldn’t even come up. That’s my job plain and simple.

    If a guy looses a mate I think he realises it isn't the end of the world. But if he lost a partner or a daughter I think he'd be quite upset. I think its just ingrained into us that we value women's lives more highly than men's.

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  50. I think its just ingrained into us that we value women's lives more highly than men's.

    Yes, I think that's right. The question is why. I don't think it's the eggs issue, because again the "feeling" in this area applies to women who are well beyond reproductive utility. It also *doesn't* apply in societies like Japan, as we can see upthread -- which would be odd if the tilt were based on egg value (presumably Japanese would value female eggs as much as Westerners would). Rather it seems to have a cultural basis -- and the question is what is that basis.

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  51. Wouldn't a lot of guys be willing to take a bullet for a women? I mean this is what we do, fight, strive, push, protect? Do we sit down and do a calculation of a woman's egg value or attractiveness before we go to help her? I would hope not. A granny, by definition of her weakness should be protected more rather than less, and damn the utilitarian value.

    Not a woman, generally speaking, no. I will not fight for, strive for, or seek to protect women in general. If I see a woman getting attacked in the street, I'm not going to intervene any more than I would for a strange man. I am simply not going to risk being stabbed, shot, or even so much as punched in the face to assist a total stranger, male or female. My own wife, mother, or sister, yes, but anyone else, no chance, I keep walking.

    I don't see why society has a greater obligation to protect any single female than it does to protect me, a male. If society provides peace and order, as it should, then males and females are equally protected, as they should be.

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  52. "Not a woman, generally speaking, no. I will not fight for, strive for, or seek to protect women in general..."

    Yes, but you're not normal. Most of us find ourselves wanting to protect women, even strangers. Maybe we don't, when push comes to shove - the gangbangers are too scary, they have knives and we're unarmed, etc - but then we feel bad about it.

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  53. Yes, but you're not normal. Most of us find ourselves wanting to protect women, even strangers.

    (shrug) You are irrational and have accepted indoctrination that I have rejected.

    Many people accept the premises of liberalism, and don't even know that this is the product of a lifetime of liberal indoctrination. I reject that, too, just as I reject the things that "normal" people want to think, feel, and do because they have been brainwashed by liberals (e.g., save the planet, celebrate diversity, strive for "social justice").

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  54. It all comes down to how you define chivalry. If it's common courtesy to all, then I have no qualms with that. However, many view chivalry as how a man treats a woman, which is total BS. Chivalry is all about unsubstantiated gender-based entitlement. To say that you deserve something from a man solely based on your gender has no place in the 21st century. I say that respect is earned (never automatic and certainly not because of your DNA) and men can treat women very well (and they get the same in return) without the need for chivalry. chivalry is all about what the man is supposed to do – what women unilaterally expect, demand, and are entitled to receive from men. Never any mentions of how women should reciprocate to men, other than showing up to enjoy themselves.Chivalry differs from civility, which is a two-way street of considerate, generous behaviour. Civility is bereft of gender-based entitlement and I’m a strong advocate for this type of behaviour. We should do nice things for each other, perform acts of kindness to all people, and treat others the way you wish to be treated (regardless of gender).

    ManhoodAcademy.com

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  55. Manhood Academy,

    As I wrote earlier, I grew up in a culture in which men did make chivalrous gestures toward women.

    It's not the case that women accepted such gestures as a right or a privilege. The gestures, as I remember, were always warmly and graciously received.

    It was an exchange of good feeling between men and women.

    Imagine you had grown up in a culture in which women were attractively feminine and supportive of men.

    Wouldn't you as a man have a good feeling toward women? Wouldn't you want to be allowed to express this in some way, through some kind of small gesture?

    And if the women then responded in a friendly and charming way toward you - so that you both left the encounter feeling better toward the opposite sex - wouldn't that be a more rewarding social environment than one based on a gender blind civility?

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  56. I seem to be about your age Mark and I remember these interactions and at times still engage in them for much much older men for their nostagia and only when I am sure that it will not harm me professionally.

    The hard and sad truth about that earlier life between the sexes is that there was always a shadow. The shadow didn't necessarily belong to a particular man or a particular interaction but it was attached to chivalry in general. Men always could, and often did extract payment for the chivalry .Just by being a woman, you were a debtor. You could never escape your status and be (debt) free and you had no choice about whether you entered into the bargain or not,

    I am not referring to your comment about a culture that was supportive of men when I speak about the social pressure/expectation on women to laugh at men's jokes nor the need to have a husband co-sign a personal bank loan until the mid 1980's. Womens paid for chivalry in thousands of insignificant and significant coins.

    The price was always too high for me. I prefer plain civility. MM

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  57. Oh come now men had to accommodate women in millions of ways too. If you say that the holding open of a door came with the acceptance of a subordinate status, it also can’t have been that oppressive because you’re hear talking to us now, telling us to back off. That’s more than the sisters in the Muslim world have.

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  58. Anonymous,

    You're claiming that chivalry made women subordinate. The men's movement is claiming that chivalry made men subordinate.

    That's why I wrote earlier that it's difficult to practise chivalry in modern social conditions.

    When there is a contest between women and men for autonomy, so that there is a strong sensitivity to issues of power relations, then the trust and goodwill and gratitude doesn't exist which makes chivalry worthwhile.

    Civility is better than nothing, but it's boring and denatured compared to the interaction between the masculine and feminine that chivalry once expressed.

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  59. Mark said,

    "When there is a contest between women and men for autonomy, so that there is a strong sensitivity to issues of power relations, then the trust and goodwill and gratitude doesn't exist which makes chivalry worthwhile."

    But it can be "friendly/good natured competition" rather than open war or manipulation. I don't understand/don't want to understand foreign societies. Novaseeker is quite right when he said that Japanese society had women in an actually very subordinate position. I don't want to live in that kind of society.

    If we replace notions of chivalry ie mutual regard between the sexes based on respect as well as some difference, what do we replace it with? Japan? Some other ghastly alternative?

    We're fond of saying that liberalism has been in the works for some time, going back centuries, but the real rubber to the pavement so to speak of the women's movement is something of this and the last century. Its still in its opening stages and its not necessary to throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet.

    I'm not a cog and lady is not a widget, I'm more than desire and functionality. Chivalry holds onto an ideal, far older than the victorian age of which that was just one expression, which recognises innate beauty and difference between the sexes, that I don't want to see go.

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  60. Jesse_7 writes: "I think its just ingrained into us that we value women's lives more highly than men's."

    Is this the right viewpoint?

    It's not that we think women's lives are more valuable, it's that we hate enemy men trying to enslave our women and children (in the case of war). In the case of nature, I think, we honor men who die in the face of harsh seas or wild animals because that kind of defiance is a particularly masculine show of strength.

    While the net result of that defiance of man or beast is that women and children tend to survive more than men, the nature of the sacrifice is ennobling.

    Say you fight off a thug trying to rape a prostitute, but are crippled or killed in the process. Only pissants will look down on you for your actions.

    Disdain for chivalry is an egalitarian impulse. The MRA interpretation only strengthens the levelers, which is why that cause is even more doomed than the traditionalist one.

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  61. Yes I think that's right. Chivallry is as much about showing men in their best light as it is about protecting women.

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  62. **********************
    Chivalry is comprised of two things:

    1.) The recognition that females (women and girls) are physically weaker than males of the same age.

    2.) Males (men and boys) have a responsibility before God to protect females from the brutal consequences of that weakness.
    ***********************

    In other words, you get to beat the *bleep* out of anyone who mouths off to your momma/sister/daughter after she gets in his face(what a brave girl!) and screams at him.

    Needless to say, any MAN who did such a thing would get punched, and you wouldn't even begin to defend his ATTACK on the other man.

    But women are "weaker" and that means they CAN get in someones face and scream at them... and strike the man to!

    Yeah, that's pretty much what the other people are talking about.

    Complete female immunity to violence... even if the females ARE BEING VIOLENT.

    That's pretty much reflected in the law to.

    So yeah, you are a working definition of how "chivalry" provides women immunity from the consequences of their behavior.

    Which means they can provoke men in ways no OTHER MAN would EVER dare do.

    Cause they is weaker. Well, they ain't weaker if they got you as their attack dog, are they?

    Many women love a good, rabid, attack dog like this "chivalry" guy.

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  63. Well chivalry was sort of designed for middle class and above women. Middle class and above women shouldn't be acting like such heinous bitches.

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  64. Jesse, agreed.

    Chivalry doesn't have to be blind. We can recognise as men those behaviours in women that merit our respect and protection and those that deserve contempt or criticism.

    It's certainly possible that chivalry doesn't work as intended in a thug culture. But I would have thought that in a thug culture any excuse for violence would do. If someone is spoiling to bash someone else they'll find a reason ("you looked at me the wrong way").

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  65. It is also true that men could be asked to pay , luckily rarely but at an infinitely greater cost, for chivalry. with their lives in war.

    Reaading the comments again, I suppose, it is also true, if I am honest, that men, also had to pay the the price of the "protection racket" if the women they were with was in public danger-instances that arose more or less depending on class or culture. The fact that I think from my work with law enforcement that the most sensible thing to do is for both to run from danger may be a 2010 response that may not be unfortunately available to all men of all class and cultures. MM

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  66. No, it is not chivalry that should be blamed for the existing conflict regarding equality between men and women. While it is true that men practiced chivalry for a long period of time, it is also undeniable that such traditional female advantage has been denied to men. Warren Farrell viewed this factor as a failure in understanding the difference of the roles played by men and women in the society. During the 1960's, Warren Farrell stood for the feminist movement in an effort to foster the rights of women. However, Warren Farrell began noticing that men were feeling misrepresented in the early 1980's. Hence, he managed to see-through the real scenario of gender rights development and its effect to the society.

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  67. Warren Farrell has mentioned in one of his books that women have a distorted notion of the dominance of men that they tend to forget that men, when in comes to chivalry, acts more like a bodyguard to women. Warren Farrell uses this analogy as one of the factors why men die earlier than women. When you hear news about battered males, you can't stop but think, what are the feminists thinking about it. Will they push through with a bill protecting men from abuse by women? I guess not. Warren Farrell was a feminist before his bestselling books were published, and after more than a decade of research, one has to stop and think why would he shy away from the feminist viewpoint after years of being an advocate for it.

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