1. Bogus arguments about the origins of chivalry as a behavioral code.
2. The use of said arguments to advocate particularly 20th/21st century gendered behavior.1
I just. Aaargh. Open doors, or don’t. Bemoan the emasculation of teh mens, or don’t, as you please. Just don’t try and tell me that It’s no accident that the word chivalry comes to us from cheval, or horse. Women love horses for the same reason; the deep sex appeal of great power under equally great control.
Aside from the odd implication that women are sexually attracted to horses,2 can we please remember for a minute that chivalry comes from the word cheval in the same way that chevalier does, namely, because knights used horses for fighting and killing things. Which practice they expected to also impress women and get them laid. But. Fighting and killing things. Not necessarily in any relation to women at all.
Remember Enide? Remember the bit where Erec stayed home being nice to her, instead of hanging out with other knights, and she ends up bemoaning the fact that he has “abandoned all chivalry for me”? She certainly seemed to think that chivalry was something you do with other men, not primarily in relation to women.
*Frustrated hands* We could have all kinds of arguments about the state and future of gender roles in the 21st century! But I can’t talk to you with all this bogus chivalry business.3
1. I feel terribly conflicted about Chivas Regal. On the one hand, delicious delicious whiskey! On the other where’d he leave his horse, then?.
2. Universally, all of us, right?
3. Yes, yes, I do understand that I can’t mount an actual argument about the Meaning of Chivalry based on one line from one romance, and there are probably plenty of other examples out there placing the concept of chivalry bang smack in the middle of m/f relationships. And yes yes fine, semantic drift and ideological change and whatever, things can have valid meanings now which have nothing to to do with their historical origins. It still causes me great distress