Encyclopedia Crawford Knows All: Why Be Chivalrous?

knight on horse

First, the name some of my postings fall under is Encyclopedia Crawford Knows All. Even though this is a site about entertainment, I have a pretty wide range of things I get to write about. This also includes history, weird and useless facts, and my own entertainment at people using sayings when they really don’t understand the meaning. Before you ask, yes, I’m a know-it-all prick, hence my friends poking fun at my posts with the name. This particular one was inspired by a conversation with an acquaintance.

During this conversation he brought up the fact that he was broke. I sympathized, because that is the usual state I find myself in. He also mentioned how he had to tell his girlfriend that they couldn’t go out to eat because he didn’t have the money. At this point I was joking and said she makes money, have her drop the money and take him out.

Even though I was joking, he took it pretty serious. Actually he scoffed, and said he couldn’t do that. He went on to explain that he believed that a man should pay for the woman. Before this goes any further, I’m not against this idea. On the other hand, if a woman makes money and wants something, why not buy it herself? Well, I joked with him some more, saying it was the 21st century, and that did not have to be the case every time. Then he went on to say he believed in chivalry, and treating a woman with respect.

This is the point, I’m afraid, that my know-it-all jerk switch was flipped. I couldn’t help myself, and had to go into depth about how that statement was wrong on so many levels. I doubt there will be too many women reading this post, but if there are, I am all for treating a woman with respect. That is, I believe it is right to treat her like a person with the same dignity and respect that I would show anyone unless they gave me a good reason not to do so.

However, using the term chivalry is just plain wrong. There are several reasons for this. First, the term actually applied to knights, and encompassed there entire moral code during medieval times. It involved not just how to treat women, but how to treat the poor, bravery in combat, defending the defenseless and the church, honesty, and even how to prepare for combat and how to fight. This code of honor was so large and set their daily acts, yet for some reason the only thing people today equate it with is respect for women.

The second reason, and this is a big one, respect for women in medieval times was completely different from respect for women today. In medieval times, women were considered precious for their virginity, and kept as property by men. First, their fathers and then their husbands. They had no rights to own land, or even speak their minds. If a man wanted to beat them, or even kill them, there was no law put in place that could protect them from these crimes. If a woman did speak out, or want to have a say in how her life was run, many times she would have been considered insane, or a witch. If that happened she would have been put into a convent, or locked in an asylum, or worse yet, burnt at the stake for witchcraft.

I could go on, but the point should have been made. Women, during the age of, “chivalry,” were property and considered mindless creatures that only served the purpose of bearing a man’s children so he could pass his property and name down. Does that sound like respect?  Of course it doesn’t. My big question to my acquaintance was, why use that particular word to describe his view of women? That word, chivalry, supports that very idea of women.

It’s okay, I knew how he was using the term. I was poking fun at him for using the term in the wrong way. As I mentioned, I can be a know-it-all prick. Yet now that you know the meaning of the word, will you continue to use it in the same way? I hope not, and if you do that is cool, but be warned there are a lot of people like me in the world that might correct you for their own entertainment. As for him, he just shook his head, laughed, and called me a jerk. That is what I get for being Encyclopedia Crawford Knows All. In closing, why would you want to be chivalrous? Why not just be a person that respects another, and treats them with dignity? It just makes more sense.

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