The following article was written by an ardent Flair reader, Matthew Smith-Barrett
The concept of chivalry is a gender-exclusive act in which men, from as far back as the Middle Ages, have been charged with a code of conduct regarding the protection of those who cannot protect themselves.
The history of chivalry and its meaning is documented below:
"The Knight's Code of Chivalry was a moral system that stated all knights should protect others who cannot protect themselves, such as widows, children, and elders." - Davis, Alex (2004)
The modern revision of chivalry speaks to the act of men displaying protective and respective gestures/acts towards the opposite sex, whether in a causal or intimate manner. Chivalry, however, has had to compete with the continuous empowerment of the modern woman and the suggested marginalisation of the modern man, especially in the Jamaican setting. However, women now constantly complain of the lack of chivalrous men in today's society, versus what was the norm in the 1960s to 1990s.
Men have not been taking on the 'manly' role they were charged with. As much as one would like to applaud that the previous statement is true, in the context of all the change that has taken place over the decades, giving us what is the 'modern' woman versus the 'modern Neanderthal' man, the applause should be reserved. The modern woman is not who the woman of the past was, but more power to the women who are now a combination of the past and present.
Chivalry 'died' because it cannot truly coexist with the concept of the independent woman and the equal rights/equal opportunity woman. Chivalry, as the definition suggests, is the act of protection of those who "cannot protect themselves". Now, show of hands all the women reading this that can attest to not being able to protect themselves … don't rush to put up all the hands at once.
Struggling to coexist
The modern requirement of chivalry is also a trampled concept that is struggling to coexist with the modern woman. Modern chivalry evolved from the protection of those who cannot protect themselves, to a man acting in a 'gentlemanly' manner towards the opposite sex. Here are a few examples of what this modern concept entails:
1. Opening the door for a woman to enter or exit a building/room/space.
2. Opening of the car door for a woman before you, as the man, enter the car.
3. Offering your seat to a woman on any form of public transport that accommodates both seated and standing passengers.
4. Assisting a woman with crossing the road.
5. Paying for dinner and all other forms of dating or 'treating' expenditure (whether the man invited her out or the woman suggested the outing).
6. Offering a woman a drink in a social setting in which drinks are purchased.
7. Assisting a woman with a load, whether she can manage it herself or not.
The list above is not exhaustive. However, those outlined above are the ones that readily come to mind and are most noted among the complaints of the modern woman when inaction on the part of the modern man occurs.
Why do I say chivalry isn't dead and just adjusted to modern times?
In answering the above question let's first point out some key factors:
1. The modern woman is now regarded as the equal of the modern man (and, in some instances, superior to the modern man, depending on who you speak to).
2. The modern woman does not want to be associated with the classification under chivalry as being "in need of protection" or "not being able to protect themselves".
3. The modern woman (specifically in Jamaica) earns the same day's pay as her male counterpart.