Things that really annoy me

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

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8 Responses to “Things that really annoy me”

  1. pajh Says:

    > the odd implication that women are sexually attracted to horses

    That’s a standard Freudian thing. It’s the same reason as why you (universally, all of you) used to sit across your daddy’s knee and play horsie: because you get a, y’know, a rubbing sensation. Hugely discredited ever since we developed any psychotherapy that wasn’t completely made up by a very strange 19th-century man, but this news has yet to filter out to a lot of people.

    I am surprisingly okay about the Chivas Regal use of the word chivalry. Meanings have shifted over the last 800 years. These days, chivalry means offering your coat and holding doors open, that sort of thing. (Still gets me yelled at by certain feminists when I do it, but that’s because they’re confusing the semantically-drifted version with the original.)

    • highlyeccentric Says:

      Still gets me yelled at by certain feminists when I do it, but that’s because they’re confusing the semantically-drifted version with the original.

      No it doesn’t. Most of them don’t know shit about the original, they’re objecting to your version or, more likely, the 18th/19th century romanticised version which gave rise to yours.

    • highlyeccentric Says:

      And as for Chivas Regal, my real problem with them is that their marketing makes it really spanking obvious they don’t expect *me* to be drinking any whiskey. Because of how whiskey is a chivalrous man-drink, don’tcha know.

      This is not NEWS, in alcohol advertising. But it makes me extra cranky when it invokes a false sense of historicity which is directly related to my field of study.

  2. Chris Says:

    You wrote: “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…”

    Although goodness knows that people who DO have rather fixed ideas about Propah Behaviah for women have been known to make arguments based on less than that…

  3. Annelise Says:

    “To find an honourable role for men is not to regress feminism, but to advance it.” What an article! :S

    Surely there are some differences between the sexes that have nothing to do with cultural archetypes, rightful as it is to question those, and are actually coexistent with reality and equality. Men don’t need women to find those for them- perhaps with them, instead? And they with us in return.

    The conversation needs to be more discerning (tricky as that is), so as not to reject the real and good aspects of gender role with the ridiculous and contrived ones.

    I also can’t agree with the underlying assumption that a struggle for power is the basis of all relationships, particularly of those that are supposedly (and often in reality are!) built on love. There’s something wrong with that, by definition. “That James Bond thing of elegant manners gloving a power not exercised” is so objectifying to men… As if women are that shallow.

    But your argument that “It still causes me great distress” is a beautifully valid response to the logic defending faulty historical imaginations 🙂


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