Is Chivalry Dead?

Published on November 15th, 2012

Once upon a time, there was a damsel in distress who was rescued by her knight in shining armor. Fast-forward to 2012 and that story changes. Sure, in the common fallacies the knight mounts his horse, slays the dragon and comes to the rescue of the princess, but is chivalry in this day and age dead? Well, if chivalry is not dead it is clearly on the verge of extinction. Sure, most girls have doors held open by men, but being chivalrous is so much more than merely holding a door for an extra second on your way out. What happened to the days of men opening car doors, pulling out chairs, or carrying a woman’s books? I bet Cinderella never had to pull out her own chair.

Following a semester spent in the land of knights, princes, and accents that alone can make a girl swoon, I returned home from London. It was not until I collected my excessive, large pieces of luggage off the conveyor belt and onto the cart with zero assistance from the surrounding men, did I realize chivalrous men are an endangered species. “Chivalry is not dead, but it is not like before,” said Ana Gomez, 21, a health science major. “You have to send out signals, unless you make eye contact with a person will someone wait and hold the door for you.” It truly is a tale as old as time, “Either all the good guys are taken or gay,” said Stephanie Dietz, 21, an education major.  Simple, chivalrous acts are disappearing before our very eyes, making it harder than ever to find a chivalrous man.

“The majority of guys in Miami are really rude, they only want to get to know you for one reason only,” said Dietz. “But I am a romantic so I would like to think there are still those [chivalrous] guys out there. “If chivalry is alive, then it has certainly taken on a new form that is unrecognizable to women.  “Chivalry to me is not just romance but how a guy genuinely cares for a girl and how he will do anything for her,” said Natasha Ramchandani, 21, a public relations major. “Chivalry today is a frat guy asking a girl to formal, but he’s not going to pick her up, instead he is going to tell her where to meet him.” Romantic, right?

Technology has certainly had a profound effect on the way we all communicate, which in turn has affected the intimacy in relationships. The days of love letters have faded, now “lucky” women are more than often graced via text messages with some of Shakespeare’s, clearly, forgotten words: How you doing? Funny, we never studied that sonnet in English class. “Technology opens up a new way of dating such as meeting people through Facebook whereas before that, men would have to make more of an effort to pursue a woman,” said Cristina Fernandez, 21, a biology major. Jackie Durand, 20, a political science major, added, “Technology is another excuse for men to take the easy way out and just send a text message instead of taking the effort to make a phone call.”

Perhaps men aren’t the only problem with the decline in chivalry. How many times have women said Disney gave them false expectations of men? Well, maybe that’s just one of the problems; women have far too many expectations. “Television has a big influence and movies give women high expectations of men,” said Ramchandani. “Movies make up perfect scenarios that never happen to us.” Sure, many women would be willing to kiss a frog and find their prince, but things like that just don’t happen in real life. “Women have unrealistic expectations [of men] because of movies, from watching Disney movies to rom-coms,” said Becky Carmenate, 21, a broadcast journalism major. Durand added, “We grew up watching Disney and wanting to fall in love with Prince Charming and then expect and want every man we love to be just as perfect and forget we aren’t living in a perfectly scripted movie.”

Feminism could also be a contributing factor to this endangered species of men. “We live in different times so we can’t expect chivalry to be the same as before,” said Diaz. “Some girls want to be treated equal to guys so guys believe they should treat a girl the same way they get treated.” Perhaps having our chair pulled out was a small sacrifice in order to gain rights. “I think women want to have their cake and eat it too,” said Fernandez. “They want to be independent yet they still want a man to hold a door open for them and buy them dinner.” “Women have made great gains in society but that doesn’t mean a man shouldn’t treat a woman with a certain high level of respect and courtesy,” said Durand.

Let’s be honest guys, what girl doesn’t want to be treated like a princess. Regardless of our expectations and rights we just want to find our knight in shining armor. Clearly chivalry is not dead… yet, but this endangered species of men is pretty good at hiding. So take note prince charming, because next time you see a girl carrying her books and bags across campus, reveal yourself and sweep her off her feet.

words_alexandra hurtado. illustration_ ashley brozic.