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Is Chivalry Dead?

Or, is chivalry even necessary? We explore the age old topic of chivalry through a Gen Z lens

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When the word chivalry comes to mind, it’s easy to imagine a scene from the 1950s at a fancy restaurant where the woman is escorted inside, doors held open, and is treated to a meal.

Maybe someone pictures a man knocking on the front door with a bouquet of roses in hand.

Or perhaps one imagines a scene where a girl is walked to her front porch for a goodnight kiss on the cheek.

Either way, chivalry seems to have a classy, fairytale, knight-in-shining-armor kind of connotation. It feels old fashioned, like something out of a different era.

It’s pretty obvious that as our world changes, so do our expectations and our everyday interactions with each other.  Recently, these changes have left some to wonder if all those kind of classic manners, traditions, and acts have become obsolete.

So, is chivalry is dead, or have times just changed? These were a couple of big questions, but the student body provided NAEye some insight.

According to a survey, 72% of students at NAI believe that the guy should hold the door open for his girlfriend or date. Another 27% said that it doesn’t matter who holds the door. So, just about three quarters stuck with some more generic traditional values, but that wasn’t always the case.

The next question poised asked about students’ opinions on who should pay the bill. A surprising 61% think that the party of two should split the check, opposed to the guy paying, which represents a more modern thought process.

Public opinion on gender norms certainly seems to be changing.

In fact, 93% of students agreed that cultural and gender etiquette have changed recently. Additionally, 64% said that it would be totally normal if a girl asked a guy publically to a big event like Homecoming, which is surprising because this happens so rarely. 20% said it would actually be offensive if a guy expected to pay on the date. All of these statistics clearly show the new ways our common thought processes are changing.

Still, three-quarters of students think girls should have the door held open for them, while another 36% think that instead of splitting the bill, the guy should pay. So, the shift isn’t completely universal.

The change is also most likely influenced by the modern, digital world that this generation is growing up with. Teenagers have the ability to send a Snapchat to ask someone out, send some emojis to convey their emotions, or leave a comment on Instagram instead of saying the compliment in person. These things aren’t always worse. They’re just different side effects of our current world.

So, maybe chivalry is dead. But it’s not all the guys’ fault. Another huge reason is the seemingly newly found independence girls are feeling. Now more than ever, girls are firm in believing that they don’t need that chivalrous Prince Charming to pay for dinner or hold the door, even though it may be polite. Girls are starting to act like equals, who can pay for themselves, open doors for their partners, or do anything else they want to do.

Furthermore, is chivalry even necessary anymore? In 2018, should we expect and stand for these outdated notions of “masculinity” to tell us what to do?

So, is chivalry is dead, or have times just changed?”

Beyond answering our questions, some students offered additional thoughts, and surprisingly, most agreed that it doesn’t really matter.

One student, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “As long as people are still being nice and doing courteous things, I don’t think it matters who performs these acts.”

Shejuti Wahed, a sophomore commented, “Girls enjoy being treated well. Guys enjoy being treated well, too. That’s why chivalry should go both ways.”

So, maybe the best way to combat the old, tiring expectations of chivalry is just to be nice to each other. Hold doors open for everyone, offer to split the bill, show the people that you love how much you care for them, or do whatever feels right for you in your relationship. That’s what chivalry should be. After all, changing times bring a lot of grey areas. Take advantage of that opportunity to make your own rules and define the word chivalry for yourself.

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Is Chivalry Dead?