Have students nowadays lost all semblances of chivalry? Should we be weeping at the grave of Mr Darcy or is chivalry still very much alive amongst the student populace? Antonia Bannister, a student at the University of Warwick, offers her opinion on the contentious matter. Do you agree with her?
I grew up on a diet of fairytales and Disney films. Stories filled with dungeons, dragons, damsels in distress and chivalrous knights. But is there any truth to these tales? Does Prince Charming really exist?
Well according to thousands of Facebook fans the answer is no. Dozens of groups have been created, proclaiming that “every girl deserves a Disney prince” and “someone should sue Disney for making every little girl believe she would have a prince.”
Dreamworks’ Shrek also seems to have an issue with Prince Charming; the prince turns out to be a whiny, hairnet sporting, mummy’s boy who doesn’t give a damn about the princess. In the 80s, Bonnie Tyler was struggling to find “a street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds” and boy did she let everyone know about it with ‘Holding Out for a Hero’. Luckily for Bonnie, chivalrous men still do exist; however, they are an endangered species.
In this dog eat dog world, it’s all about the survival of the fittest. Over hundreds of thousands of years, we’ve learnt to walk straighter, build cities and develop technology we never thought could exist. We’ve built up immunity to diseases which would have otherwise wiped out mankind.
Unfortunately, many men have yet to become immune to ‘lad culture’. It’s a terrible disease, sweeping the nation and killing off the last of our gentlemen. Symptoms include: getting ridiculously drunk, swearing excessively, verbally abusing women and the constant desire to get laid.
The attitudes of the young male population have changed dramatically over the past generations. My Granddad used to write heartfelt love letters to my Gran; nowadays, you’re lucky if you don’t get a text from a lad asking for a booty call. As my flatmate, a typical rugby lad, summed it up, “men don’t want to ‘court’ women anymore, they just want sex.”
There has always been a mentality that “boys will be boys” and “they’ll grow up someday.” Well, in my opinion, that day can’t come soon enough. However, men can’t solely be blamed for the decline of chivalry. Women have played a hand too.
Women’s independence & the effect of short skirts
For every man who would offer to walk a woman home, I know a girl who would reject that offer. I myself am guilty of this crime. Now that women have got some semblance of independence and equal rights, we don’t want to be reliant on men. After all, “the sisters are doing it for themselves.”
We might tell ourselves we don’t need men, we might be guilty of slipping into the mindset of “whatever he can do, I can do better,” but let’s face it, that’s not the case. You’ll probably hate me for this but women need men – just as men need women. On a night out, as much as I believe I can look after myself, I always feel safer going out with my male friends.
Many women nowadays refuse and resent the assistance of men. Equally, plenty more abuse the help and attention of men. I’ve met so many girls who dress up in tiny skirts and dresses to get the attention of guys. They throw themselves at men to satisfy their own needs. Yet with skirts getting shorter and some women getting easier, it spells a recipe for disaster. There is a loss of respect between both parties.
So where did all the good men go?
Some of you may be asking how to find the last of this dying breed. Well, to be honest I couldn’t answer that question for you. It’s taken me nearly fourteen years to find them. They’re here, there and everywhere. You can find a gentleman even in the most roughest of lads; you just need to find a way to get them to show it.
My best friends are perfect examples of chivalrous men. Sometimes they act like complete fools, getting into fights and generally embarrassing me. But most of the time they are a pleasure to be around: they always open the door for me, walk me home after dark, cook for me when I’m too busy to do it for myself and just generally keep an eye out for me.
Really, it is the minority that are giving the majority a bad name. It is clear from the actions of men in everyday life that chivalry still exists. When women don’t want a gentleman, they don’t get one. If you throw yourself at a man, they won’t treat you with respect, but if you treat yourself with respect first and foremost, then one day your prince will come.
Disclaimer: This is based upon my awful experiences with men. It is a mass generalisation. I’m not trying to victimise either sex, actually I’d rather like to avoid that.