Why Chivalry is in Question // From a Person’s Perspective

Disclaimer: This is a response to John Picciuto’s article entitled “Why Chivalry is Dead, From a Man’s Perspective”

Please read Picciuto’s article before mine to fully assume awareness of this argument:

Picciuto’s Argument 

My Response:

John Picciuto,

The first thing you should know about me is that I am not a feminist. However, I am a woman. And later we’ll touch on why that’s important. For now, and consequently for the sake of this argument, let’s just say that I’m a person. I think that’s fair.

So, John, as a person, perusing Facebook, I found your article. I clicked. I read. And I came to the conclusion that someone had to set you straight. I’m sorry to say that your intentions are misguided, your argument flawed, and your assumptions of the opposite sex, are well, insulting to say the least. Let’s start with your intentions, shall we?

From what I can tell, you don’t deny that chivalry is dead. Although this is a blanket accusation and quite a loaded statement, I’ll let it slide. I’m not here to write an article against unsubstantiated claims. That aside, your article stands to show the reasons why men’s treatment of women has wained to, as you put it, “the bare minimum.”

You don’t hesitate to place blame, either. “The real problem,” you say, “is that women, for one reason or another, have become complacent and allowed men to get away [with their treatment towards women].” Right away you’re pointing fingers, fully convinced that it’s only up  to females to fix this problem. Well John, I think you’ve got the wrong idea.

Maybe it started when you were growing up. It seems a slight delusion to believe you’ve actually “learned [your] lessons,” regarding the right way to treat a lady.

If the women in your family went out of the way to emphasize “chivalry” and “etiquette,” that’s great, but what did the men do? Tout the size of their manhood whilst handing out condoms just in case? I’m sure they practiced what they preached about safe sex, but what can you learn from their experience? Did they protect against anything other than unplanned pregnancy? A women’s feelings, for instance?

I’d like to add that the very idea that lessons must be learned suggests that chivalry, kindness, and etiquette are not innate human characteristics. We learn to love, and it’s an ongoing, cumulative collaboration between men and women. To give and take. To try to understand each other. The issue, John, isn’t a gender war or battle of the sexes. It’s an issue of equality.

Therefore, your argument that women are completely culpable is weak and ridiculous. In fact, it’s presented as a reverse-rape argument. If only women didn’t dress so provocatively, then we men might manage some self-control. But really, how can you blame us?

Somehow a man’s response is now a woman’s responsibility. You merely react to our actions or lack thereof. Well, reality check: you are a free-thinking individual who is fully equipped to take a stand and act independently of us. You don’t need to wait on a woman to be a man.

You seem to disagree, saying that, until women make the first move, “men are going to get away with putting in the bare minimum and receiving what [you] ultimately want anyway–sex.” So John, are you stating that despite your “nice guy” persona, despite the dinners, the gifts, and the engaging conversations, you’re still only after the one thing our parents warned us about? And John, are you so sure that we’ll fall for it?

I mean you seem fairly confident, my friend, that–because you’re serving steak instead of sex on a silver platter–any girl would go wild to spend more time with you. Let’s ignore then, your personality. Your personal values. Your taste in music. Let’s not care if there’s chemistry between the two of you. Because the “least” you’ll take away from this is certainty of a second date. And the most?

Well you’ve already said your ultimate goal–sex. So don’t hide behind your false sense of chivalry. We women are perfectly able to pay for our own dinners, but we’ll leave a tip for you anyway: try another approach.

You say you’re not looking for a “girlfriend” or a “wife.” Well then what’s your angle? If you want sex, which you admit outright, then why waste time pretending to be interested? Honestly, I’d rather have the shallow truth than be tricked into thinking a guy has feelings for me.

But you want to get to know a girl because what–once you know her middle name and favorite color it’s then fine to take her home, have sex, and forget all about her? Oh wait, but you paid for her dinner. You opened the car door for her. You even went the extra mile to laugh at her jokes. So she owes it to you. To all the “nice guys” who bash casual sex but beg for it with every bouquet of flowers and flirtatious compliment.

And so, John. You hope that “eventually…women will wise up and start asking for the things they deserve.” But what if we don’t want to have to ask?

What if that is the true meaning of chivalry? Doing something nice for the sake of doing something nice.

I would like to think that we can solve these issues of equality together. What if women understood and displayed their worth to the world? What if men acted with no ulterior motives?

Maybe chivalry is dead. But maybe it isn’t.

Maybe it’s politely waiting to be understood.


Sarah E. Runyon