I got a text from an old time acquaintance shortly after my birthday and he practically tried to ask me out via a text message! I just stared down at my phone confused. This experience is quite common so it is not the first time I am experiencing such.
During my service year, I walked past a group of young men who were my neighbours while carrying some heavy stuff and they jeered at me saying ‘Mr. Dara’. I did not get any offer to be helped. So, I wondered where all the gentle manly behaviour went. This sort of conversation was raised among my friends recently and they ceaselessly referred to the word chivalry.
Not everyone knows the history and reason for the word but it has been used to describe the sensitive and honourable acts that men ought to show women in the society. Some people say they are unspoken social, moral and spiritual codes that should be practised to show respect to fellow individuals. But chivalry seems to me like an expectation that we have of men.
When I looked up the meaning and usage of the word, I saw that it was very popular in the medieval era where men went to war to fight and kill enemies with blood dripping down their swords. Talk about knights who would fight to the death for their beloved country and who would do anything to protect what they loved; their women and their families. Then, I understood better. Chivalry is becoming a lost art and people say it is partly because the art was not taught from generation to generation and more, because of feminism.
Now, Feminism is not just a term but a movement for the equal treatment of women as their male counterparts. I know Feminism began to thrive during and after the ages of industrialization up until the technological era and now, knowledge era, where societies have learnt to be relatively peaceful with one another. Knights are now C.E.O’s whose companies are in the news regularly. Knights are now professors who discover ground breaking innovations and life-changing concepts!
In the face of new inventions that have made the world a global village, no longer would men have blood drooling down their ploughshares or swords and no longer would women be the ‘what’ that the men cared for. No longer would women be the ‘possession’ of anyone. Every brain has the same capacity and potential to thrive if exercised.
Societal gaps of gender expectations are closing, and I begin to see the reason for the lost art of chivalry. Is it a good thing? Well, not exactly. Is it a bad thing? Also, not exactly. Women have begun to prove over time that they are strong and can do as much or even more than men. So, it is quite understandable that guys do not seem to be chivalrous in their dealings with women nowadays. But can you blame men?
The picture of a guy crossing by a street with two big bags and a baby just crossed my mind. An elder woman offered to help with the baby while two other ladies said to themselves, while I walked past ‘He is a man. He has the power. He should carry them na.’ I looked back at the ladies with disgust. I just sincerely hope my facial expressions were not that obvious.
I do not find the balance in the social expectations as I do not see how men also receive honour and respect for being men if women should be treated specially for their sensibilities. Men should also be treated specially for some valid reason.
So, here’s the thing – maybe chivalry should be thrown out the window and kindness ushered in. Chivalry is about just actions and kindness, but about the heart and intentions of a person. A kind person shows respect and honours the dignity of everyone alike; drop-dead-gorgeous ladies, old women, children and the incapable.
It’s Valentine again and a lot of ladies expect bank-breaking gifts from their men even though they know what his salary is like and these women probably have no intentions of buying anything for their men. You say because you are his woman, so, he should go broke! Some guys are ready to deceive and be with women that are not their ‘spec’ naturally just because of the cookie or some sort of bet! No one owes anyone anything because of gender. But, we do owe one another because we all are humans.
Happy Valentine’s day!
By Oludara Ogunbowale
Read also: #DarasPage – Retro Nigerian TV As I Knew It