This is a subject that recently came up in my Facebook feed. A friend was asking this very question & I shared some of my thoughts. Also got into a debate with a male friend on the subject. I realized I was letting real life take me away from true writing again so needed to get some done. What better topic than the subject of chivalry?
I've always said that chivalry died when feminism arose. That male friend kind of said that same thing but apparently has far more faith in the present & continued equality of women in the US than I do. I see a lot of bullshit going on against women; you can read about it often in the news. Raped teenaged girls confronted with the "she was asking for it" defense due to being intoxicated or going to some house party late at night without parental permission. That dead pregnant woman in Texas who was on life support for months b/c the state cared more about preserving a nonviable fetus than the wishes of the family or respect for their grieving process. The presence of the term "legitimate rape." So on & so forth.
And when husbands who don't like their life's direction or salary bitch at their wives to "got get a job," even if that wife is taking care of little kids the husband helped contribute DNA to (or agreed to take on responsibility for by putting a ring on it), we certainly don't have respect toward women. I also think that's pretty disrespectful to the kids.
God forbid someone in the marriage gets laid off or sick or wants to start their own business. Isn't a spouse supposed to be supportive of what you want to do? Try to make things easier, not sabotage you or let others come in to sabotage you & make you feel like shit? That sounds like a boyfriend/girlfriend situation or a friend, not someone you have sexual relations with and who is supposed to be your "best friend." What kind of "best friend" flippantly tells you to "get a job," implying that if you don't you're a leech & will get kicked out of the home? That's what a woman (it's usually a woman) hears when a spouse says that.
After all that harping, once a woman does get this job (especially if it's one she hates or doesn't like) she'd have to be thinking "Why do I need this jerk around? He's not supportive of who I am, doesn't respect me & thinks of me as some kind of indentured servant or a sugar baby he's sick of having around."
I don't think a functional, happy marriage works that way. If you're holding out a balance sheet against your spouse i.e. thinking of them as a financial drain vs. the person you love, cherish, care about, and so forth, maybe you could cut expenses by being without her. That spouse would certainly grow to feel that way about you with all the harassment. Or, you can get off your happy behind & try improving yourself and your situation instead of taking it out on your spouse. You know, personal responsibility.
On average, women also tend to make less money than men & have had to forgo career opportunities and such for children and the marriage. Is this "equal rights?" That's kind of why we have alimony laws & women still get to ask for it in a divorce.
So, first off let's define chivalry. Chivalry is doing something nice for a lady out of a sense of manly pride. Not because you think the woman is a weakling or can't take care of herself. Ideally, you're not doing it only for the pretty girls & not the ugly ones. It's where paying for dates or holding an umbrella over her head or killing bugs in her house or telling some cretin who's clearly bothering her to leave her alone comes from. For me, it's those acts that if you didn't perform them huge swaths of society would think you're a jerk/scumbag/guy no one wants to be friends with or associate with/person who falls lower than pond scum on the continuum of human decency. I don't think I'd view you highly if you stood back & watched some woman get raped without even calling the cops, for instance.
If you are doing these things & resenting the woman or society for it, then to hell with you. You also won't be meeting very many quality women in that case since there are guys who won't give a woman shit for those things. The more desired women are going to have a lot of guys willing to do stuff for them & you being the biggest prick isn't going to win you any points or favors. It will just earn you rejection, scorn, incredulity at your utter stupidity & that kind of woman thinking you're an idiot for thinking you ever had a shot in the first place.
Another question is do we need chivalry? Well, I don't know if I'd say you "need" chivalry but if you're trying to impress a woman and get her to consider you as more than a friend you might not want to treat her the same as you'd treat the waitress or some random woman on the subway. She might like to feel she's special, you know? I view it all as simple economics and with biological realities in mind.
Personally, I've long been a recipient of gentlemanly behavior & usually without having to ask. I think it's only fair that some guy who could lift more than my 100 pound ass can helps me when I have to carry something that's heavy for me but would be no trouble for him. More disgusting when it's a mail delivery person who can't manage that. Changes your views of the fantasy of fucking the UPS delivery guy, huh ladies? Would YOUR fantasy delivery guy not bother carrying a heavy delivery up the stairs to your apartment? If he could do that & get away with STILL being a guy you'd jump in 5 seconds if given an opportunity, you have serious self-esteem issues since the women I know would never allow it.
Now I'm also the one who's had guys pay for her on things even when I wasn't dating said guy &/or he wasn't trying to date me. I had this one guy friend in college who had an interest in me but despite us having no sexual chemistry (we kissed & felt nothing), he still took me out for things & paid though he didn't have to. He knew I was trying to save money for the down payment on my first car & finances were tight so I appreciated him for that. THAT is an example of chivalry as well as friendship, though not sure how you'd really define that one. We ended up not speaking after I left that summer for NC (where I got my driver's license & started that relationship with Vampire Boy, who I met not long after getting the license). It wasn't really animus or not wanting to talk to him, just being busy & consumed with everything else going on. I called him a few months later for a business matter and found out he was getting married the very next day. Weird, huh? I never even knew he'd been dating anyone.
Altruistic actions like that always make me feel a little better about the human race & give me a little hope that not all people are jerks (especially men). I also pointed out to my friend he'd be a pariah where I grew up since chivalry (though not necessarily called that) is a big thing in the South. You try pulling some of that mess down there & see what happens. Don't think for one second all women from the South are weaklings; I'm not & I know plenty of others you wouldn't want to encounter in a dark alley if they were angry.
Maybe chivalry is just on life support or we're looking for it in the wrong places. I wonder how it translates to younger people; if they're still on board with that idea/concept. Are women put off by it or do they appreciate it? Yes, I'm a feminist but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate chivalry done in the proper spirit. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Even if there is, I'll just use the "I'm a model with a brain" rationale & the notion of scarcity (which I've discussed in other posts; go see them if you're that curious).