Some have suggested that we are in a bit of a conundrum when it comes to chivalry in the age of #MeToo, #TimesUp and the broader feminist movements that are going on in the world.
Some of these same people believe that women have become so independent and demanding of equality that men wanting or trying to do chivalrous things is near impossible. From their lens, women will shoot down any attempt at someone holding the door for them, offering to pay for dinner, or anything of the sort. Such statements are little more than generalizations. There are some women who completely poo-poo chivalry just as there are some men who are only chivalrous because they believe that they will get something (read: sex) out of it.
Fact: Most women want equal and authentic relationships.
Fact: Equal relationships can existed side-by-side with chivalry.
Fact: When true chivalry exists, it is not a mere act (holding the door open, etc.).
True chivalry includes the actions and attitudes that occur before and after the act. This is where women can sometimes be skeptical and therefore bothered by chivalry. Say, for instance, a guy offers to pay for the meal of a woman he is on a date with and she declines because he has eluded to wanting to spend the night with her prior to making said offer. Let's also add in the detail that this is their first date and she has no interest in going home with him or any man on a first date. She may decline his offer to pay and walk away from the date loving and longing for chivalry. Meanwhile, he's talking to his friends about how he is fed up with trying to be chivalrous with unappreciative women.
I remember growing up, one of my favorite quotes was 'practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty'. When true chivalry exists, it is random and senseless in the most beautiful of ways. You don't do a chivalrous act in anticipation of getting something in return. You do it because you feel in your bones that it is right, you feel good about doing it, and, most importantly, the person you extend it to is comfortable with you doing it. To the latter, people should practice empathy when trying to understand why someone else may not be as accepting of a chivalrous act. For instance:
The alternative to being empathic is to stop chivalry altogether or judge women who may question it. Like every other literal thing in our world, chivalry may need to evolve and they who bring it for the right reasons will have no problem evolving with it. If some women find that having a door opened for them is disrespectful, rather than judge their thoughts, a confident and evolved person will listen to understand the concern and find other ways to give. This is emotional intimacy. This is being present with the very people we want to know, to cherish, and to spend our time with.
Chivalry is only dead if it was born out of sexism and a desire to use it as leverage for men getting what they want. Otherwise, it is a beautiful that will grow from love and understand with the rest of the beautiful people in our beautiful world.