Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Chivalry is not dead, it’s been adopted by women

Molly Boyke
Illustration Molly Boyke

Opinion editors are not responsible for agreeing or disagreeing with their writers but rather elevate each individual’s specific voice. 

Growing up watching rom-coms like “The Princess Bride” and “Pretty Woman,” a girl starts to expect their ideal partner will sweep them off their feet. Instead, it feels more like being kicked to the curb with every interaction. The illusion of princess treatment was quickly shattered as I realized chivalry was now abandoned by men and adopted by women. I would have to be the knight in shining armor.

The term “chivalry” is defined as being a “gallant and distinguished gentleman,” one who is meant to help the weak through honorable deeds. It’s taking action and being assertive, while simultaneously showing care, protection, and capability. 

In more recent times, this idea of chivalry has mellowed down into a diluted synonym for being a gentleman. The idea of chivalry now generally refers to simpler yet admirable acts of service, like holding open the door or paying for dinner, which are almost expected to be provided by men within the dynamic of heterosexual relationships. 

Dating has shifted as relationships have adapted to modern-day feminism and the social media movement. With the pressure of constant connection via social media, dating dynamics have changed how men approach potential relationships by using these movements as a cop-out to be lazy. Men are happily weaponizing their incompetence.

“Chivalry is dead” has become a common sentiment among modern-day women. As much as it is both appreciated and necessary to have a level playing field that allows women to put their own desires into action when it comes to cultivating these connections, many women have grown tired of having to make up for men’s lack of passion. 

To preface, what I’m about to say is not how all modern-day heterosexual relationships function, and is definitely not accusing every man of being anti-gentleman or toxically avoidant. However, when looking at the absence of pursuit, and the striving for a nonchalant culture, there is validity to believing that the dating pool lacks the element of passion that once inspired effort.

With the progression of feminism, society has made the natural evolution of focusing on equal pursuit and partnership. We are seeing men now transition out of their role as the dominant pursuers. This shift in the dynamic may uplift women and allow them the unique space to now be the chasers, simultaneously gives men the out when it comes to establishing themselves as a partner in general. 

The practice of weaponized incompetence among men has led to less of a drive to get to know a potential partner. It’s one thing to be genuinely unaware or unable to do something, but it’s a completely other thing to be aware of one’s ignorance and not put in the work to remedy this.

It’s not even that women are expecting every man to maintain this traditional practice of chivalry. The majority of women you talk to are not expecting their partner to pay for every meal or throw their coat over every puddle. However, it’s this developing trend of general unwillingness to step up and go the extra mile, or even the extra foot at that, that has left women feeling unappreciated, lost, and frankly tired. Women are not asking for their own knight: they’re just asking for basic respect. 

The issue with the modern-day man within this dynamic is the culture that has encouraged casual detachment, the “alpha man” personality, and the intensity with which young men are surrounded by this anti-women rhetoric. The age of relying on digital tools to seek relationships has created a movement of isolation and self-preservation. When men have been encouraged by their role models to think of women as inferior, they in turn grow to feel as if it is not in their best interest to show true passion or care, even when they do desire these relationships. 

Modern relationships that thrive through phones make it easy for men to hide and put it on the women to pick up the slack. This is what has turned women into the new face of chivalry. A relationship should value equal engagement, where both partners actually want to put in work for each other. If doing things for your significant other feels like a burden, then maybe consider whether you even want to be in a relationship.

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About the Contributor
Sydney Thomas-Arnold, Staff Writer
Sydney Thomas-Arnold (she/her) is a freshman journalism and anthropology/sociology student from Houston, Texas. Sydney hopes to eventually go into the field to study different cultures and document human experiences & lifestyles. When not writing for the Beacon, Sydney enjoys reading and listening to music.

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