For all the talk on chivalry, the following article poses and interesting observation (emphasis mine): The Kansas City Star, 1922 – Are Women Lacking in Chivalry?
Why should not chivalry be a feminine as well as a masculine trait? For, what is chivalry but the generous consideration and courtesy of the stronger toward the weaker? If men are courteous to women, generous toward them in their weaknesses, why should not women be especially generous toward men in theirs? If it is right for men to protect and shield women because they possess greater physical strength and courage than women, have not women a similar obligation toward men, because of their superior moral strength?
HER MORAL STANDARDS HIGHER?
This superiority in the realm of morals always has been conceded to women. Women have prided themselves on it and when they talk about a double standard of morals, the assumption always is that woman’s is the higher and nobler standard. Women today are discussing as never before how they are going to lift men up to their standard. Yet, do they feel the same obligation of sex chivalry in the field of morals, that men have felt toward women and to a great extent still do hold toward women in the range of superior physical strength?
A young girl, when somebody suggests that she is pretty daring in her flirtation, often will reply “I know what I am doing – I can take care of myself.” Perhaps she can take care of herself —girls these days are amazingly self sufficient—but what about taking care of the man who is the object of her clever wiles?
Of course women certainly don’t hold the moral high ground these days (no one does); yet, modern women still operate to some degree on superiority over men, be it moral or otherwise. The world is full of modern women who are keen to employ their “clever wiles” on men whether they are conscious of it or not. When under the charms of a pretty face, the man is in a weaker position and women use this weakness to extract what they want. So, who is looking out for the men? Reminding men all that glitters is not gold and while she may be pretty and charming, underneath it she still has the capacity for sin like anyone else. The church isn’t looking out for them nor is any mainstream secular counterpart. The only ones reminding and enlightening men on the “clever wiles” of women are those that make up the “manosphere”.
A DANGEROUS TEST OF POWER
Does she feel no sense of womanly chivalry toward him? Does it not occur to her that, even at the expense of her vanity, she might make it easier for him always to be a gentleman? Certain girls and women take an almost fiendish delight in tempting men to the limits of endurance, and putting the greatest possible strain upon their efforts at self-control. They play upon a man’s weakness in order to secure flattering attention and gay entertainment, to win a man’s homage and stage a demonstration of their power. They know, as the daughters of Eve always have known, that when a man is attracted to a woman he will do anything to please her, that he will buy her anything that he believes will give her delight. It may be only a box of chocolates or a trip to the movies. Or, she may demand to live in a motor car and dine in a different café every night. Up to a certain point the desire of the man to give and the desire of the woman to enjoy his gifts, are harmless. But when a man’s heart becomes involved, and the woman who is the object of his attentions has no intention of reciprocating when she simply is exploiting him, knowing that she is protected, not so much by her convictions as by the unresponsiveness of her temperament the whole affair becomes detestable.
Key here is “knowing that she is protected”. Knowing that she has the unconditional protection of chivalry or a man under her charms, she can easily exploit the situation to get what she wants.
There is a type of woman, who like the salamander, can pass unscathed through a fire that would destroy her sisters of sensitive and emotional temperament. In a harum-scarum fashion, she dabbles with danger. She adores perilous adventure and the sampling of new excitements. Ruled by her brain rather than by her heart, she plays on men for the sheer fun of it. Daring only so far as it may be safe for her, she forgets about the danger to the man. She knows that the man, in his infatuation for her, will not see through her clever acting, that he is not likely to discover that she is subtler than she is innocent.
PEGGY JOYCE A TYPE
The spirit of the temptress is not unlike that of the savage Indian brave who decorated his belt with the scalps of his enemies. Peggy Joyce, for instance, seems to have been this kind of heart hunter. The more men at her feet, the merrier. And, like other fair charmers of her type, she is outraged at the very suggestion that she could have done anything wrong. Those who condemn her, who see anything in her flirtations other than innocent amusement in the lavish attentions of men, anything other than a proper tribute of wealth to youth and beauty, are unjust and cruel creatures. How can she help it if men will kill themselves for love of her? Such is the cry of the woman who is lacking in the fine chivalry of sex.
In all her associations with men the chivalrous woman expresses something of the mother instinct. Never ill she play the parasite, giving nothing while taking all. Deeply rooted in the innermost recesses of her heart is the desire for all men’s welfare and happiness. She longs for no vow, no protestation of love on which to feed her vanity—only that which she can return. She finds almost as great a happiness in inspiring men as in loving or in being loved. She delights without debasing. When she charms, it is not to destroy.
This right here is the difference between a modern woman and a traditional woman (I use “traditional” broadly and for lack of a better word–not to be confused with twras and traditionalists). Traditionally speaking, women desired all men’s welfare and happiness as it was recognized they are the backbone of a thriving society. Women have now redirected all that welfare and happiness into themselves and demand that men do the same while also giving them unconditional chivalry. Society has told them its the “end of men” and that it is better to invest in themselves.
A woman who can be a delight to men without debasing men is the sort of rare gem that men are seeking. She is an alternative, positive version of the DD woman.
Since women are having larger opportunities than ever before and freer association with men, there is all the more need for their having a sense of sex chivalry, all the more reason for their refraining from that thrilling game of matching their wits against men’s appetites. Edith Johnson.