As a male feminist, I have to wonder – What part of me is drawn to the romantic idea of chivalry, and what part of me is ready to let it go?
“It is impossible to be Chivalrous without a horse,” said medieval historian Denholm-Young.
This idea of “chivalry” brings up visions of outward shows of respect to women… of mercy toward defeated foes… of a “code of conduct” that gentlemanly knights might follow. The code has been handed down in ink from generations of epic heroes like Roland, El Cid, and Arthur. Modern “chivalry” seems to begin and end with opening doors as a show of gendered politeness. It’s been translated to us through screens for the past few generations by Cary Grant, Tom Hanks or George Clooney.
But as a male feminist, I have to wonder – In a world where women have fought and earned more rightful equality (though there is more to accomplish on that front) – is chivalry necessary or even ethical anymore? What part of me is drawn to the romantic idea of chivalry, and what part of me is ready to let it go?