06 February 2011
Post 316:Two Moon Princess
"I knew knights did not really fight for us ladies. If they did, they would have the courtesy of asking first whether we want their help." Page 279.
Chivalry is such a difficult issue in today's society. I don't think that chivalry is dead, nor do I think it should die, but it should reflect today's values if it is going to be practiced. And let me tell you, I do think it should be practiced. Chivalry is more than just bowing to or standing in the presence of a lady, it's about how we treat each other on a day to day basis. The fact that chivalry has been usurped almost totally as a means of condescending to the "weaker" sex is disappointing and inaccurate. It encompasses such traits and values as courtesy, generosity, valor, honor, justice, etc.
I posit that these are values that should most certainly be encouraged in men especially, but also in women. How often have you been behind someone and had your arms full and they ignored you? I've had it happen to me several times before and no matter who it is I'm always disappointed. Just recently I had an especially distressing experience when my car battery died while at a crowded grocery store. It's not that I expect people to help me out of these situations, but the fact is that I had two or three people actually make comments to me about it. They were not offers of help, but obvious excuses. It was plain that they felt guilty about not helping me, but it didn't change their behavior at all. The first was a young woman, roughly my age, and her excuse was "My battery is on its last leg." The second was a man in a big, almost brand new red shiny truck who said, "I don't know nothin' about cars." Even after I told him all I needed was a jump he kept walking. That one actually pissed me off more than the first, because you can bet if I had huge tits that guy would have at least tried to help me.
While neither person was particularly unchivalrous, it might almost have been better had they not said anything to me at all. It felt like they were almost going out of there way to be not helpful in order to say to themselves, "Welp, at least I tried to help someone today." No, no you didn't. If you didn't have the time to stop and jump my car, I understand that, but stopping to make an excuse doesn't feel to me like you don't have time. It just sounds like you don't want to help.
I think the reason this behavior annoys me so much is that I have stopped to give someone a jump before, I do hold open doors for the person behind me (regardless of how full their arms are), I give up my bus seat for the elderly, the infirm, or the heavily pregnant. It just makes me wonder how we could grow up in more or less the same culture and have such vastly different ideas about what is polite and what isn't. And this is why I would like to see the return of chivalry, or at the very least politeness as a code of conduct. I think it's something we could all benefit from in both practicing and receiving.
May I hold a door for you?
My review can be found on Goodreads.
LibsNote: Free review copy received from Publisher's booth at ALA 2010