Opinion

What Happened to Chivalry?

29 April 2013 at 03:20 | 2440 views

By Prince Kanikongo, Harare, Zimbabwe.

"He was so benevolent, so merciful a man that, in his mistaken passion, he would have held an umbrella over a duck in a shower of rain." Douglas William Jerrold.

Chivalry is a code of conduct for men, ideals, principles and standards of lineage passed down from generation to generation. It is about courtesy, dignity, integrity, honour, respect, love and understanding. A chivalrous man is any man who is dignified in his conduct, in his speech, in his dressing and in his being. Any man who has integrity, who respects himself and women, and is courteous and kind, is a chivalrous individual. In this modern era constructing ideal images of sons, brothers and husbands, there is considerable high expectation levied upon men, for example that a man should spread a coat over a puddle for a lady.

What happened to Chivalry? Does anyone choose to have it? Are you born with it? Chivalry is within the frame work of good manners, etiquette and protocol. We all want to be good individuals, but achieving our goals requires a lot of effort. Chivalry is not a word only to be associated with the aristocracy that is the barons, earls and knights. All men are created equal, the word Chivalry may have died with dragons and knights, but its characters and principles still resonate till this day. However today’s society gives a false impression of such benevolent men. Unfortunately many men and women have succumbed to this ill-truth. Yes gentlemen are there, and the good news is that there are in your area, the good ones are not the taken, and the single ones too, there’s a decent man for everyone.

Over the years Chivalry has lost its sparkle, not all men believe in doing good deeds for no reward. On the flip side of the coin, a widespread revolution of ideologies that, which establishes, defines and defends the equal political, economic, and social rights of women, advocate for empowerment, equal status and the issue of Chivalry is raised, is it necessary that men open our doors, that men walk us home, I can do it all by myself. Feminism has brought about tremendous first-class effects for women and created a new standard of acceptable means, and has resulted in the ceasing and slow decrease of chivalry, with women wanting to foot the restaurant bill, carry the heavy load, open the bottle of wine and pick men up too.

Scholars and scientists have gone to great lengths and plunged to great depths of investigation, as to the existence of Chivalry? There has been great debate on the subject matter of Chivalry, on issues as to whether a man has to open doors for ladies, has to rise attention when she enters into the room, and that they do this without the intention of “getting lucky”. Negative fixations often create limitations, in that most women see charming, sensitive and respectable in a man, as a façade and an indication of an ultra-motive.

While full acceptance and appreciation is shown to the few or many that practice Chivalry, the media, especially the movies have created an out of bounce image of Chivalry. Smooth talking actors, well shaven, with lyric prowess, who sweeps women of their feet, and breaks their heart after a few dates.

Chivalry is a characteristic that has to be taught, to be made manifest, and groomed into young gentlemen, so that at every interval in their lives, their always aware of what is required and expected of them. It is the duty of every individual to protect and defend their family. It is common courtesy to say “Yes please”; “Thank you Sir”; Excuse me ma’am”.

Imagine how life would be without good motivators, without examples, it would be an absolute nightmare. In the dead of the night, chivalry is near, in the cool of the day it is basking, it is singing. It is something that cannot be bought, borrowed or transferred.

For chivalry to manifest it requires a home, the heart, for it to grow and germinate. Society has to distance itself from images of horse drawn carriages and charming young princes on horseback, wearing the finest armor.

A man who knows how to treat a lady, and values her is a chivalrous man, of course their pitfalls in life, but rising from the ashes beats the dust that settles on current debate, that chivalry is dead. For like a concert rehearsal, you may not know the lines of the first and second set, but with continually practice on stage, you’ll perfect and master the trade. Let all men know honour, integrity, courage, respect and love for these are the characters of chivalry.

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