Chivalry: A matter of romance or respect?

Men and women of all ages may agree on at least one aspect of today’s society -chivalry is dead, dying at least.

John H. Hill Jr., an English professor, has first-hand experience with the absence of chivalrous behavior on campus.

“Young ladies will come into my class, all the seats will be taken and guys [in the class] won’t get up [to let the ladies sit down],” Hill said. “The guys say to me: ‘They want equal rights, let them get their own chairs’.” Hill said that behaviors such as this were not common practice when he was growing up.

Among the many issues that help widen the generation gap, chivalry or the lack there of, is one of the largest. Chivalry, which was originally used to describe behavior associated with knights or knighthood, is commonly associated with “gentlemanly behavior” today.

With the advances of the modern woman in the realm of equality and the fend-for-yourself mentality of the world, many people are left to ask the question, is chivalry dead?

“I think it is [dead]. It’s alive only as a myth, because you don’t see people engaging in any deeds of chivalry today,” said Natasha O. Clayton, coordinator of student affairs for the Center for Human Development.

When interviewed, women offered different examples of male behavior that is completely contrary to that of a gentleman.

“There have been plenty of days that a male student has walked into class in front of me and slammed the door in my face,” said Jacqueline K. Peets, 20, a sophomore business administration student from Miami. As many people expect, men place the blame on women. Some men believe that a lot of women have a confused definition of independence.

Jacoby Ethridge, 21, a senior year accounting student from Jacksonville said, “I think women [today] are more aggressive. If a woman sees something she wants, then she cuts to the chase. This new level of independence eliminates a lot of romance.”

Blame is shifted between the sexes for the demise of chivalry, which is often connected to romance. However, many believe that chivalry today is defined by good manners and proper conduct, not romantic actions.

“Chivalry has nothing to do with romance, Clayton said. “It has everything to do with manners and respect.”

Garrison Vereen can be reached at