Chivalry: Sinking Like a Ship?

January 20, 2012 | Danelle

Most people know the tragic tale of the Titanic, and one part in the movie and true story always struck me as a NeW lady: “Women and children first.”

Flash-forward 100 years later to the sinking Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia, and you find: “Everyone for themselves,” or as National Review author Rich Lowry coined, “Dude, where’s my lifeboat?”

This is why:

An Australian mother and her young daughter have described being pushed aside by hysterical men as they tried to board lifeboats.
Another woman passenger agreed, “There were big men, crew members, pushing their way past us to get into the lifeboats.” Yet another, a grandmother, complained, “I was standing by the lifeboats and men, big men, were banging into me and knocking the girls.”

We all know society has changed since 1912, however it is no less alarming to find out that the majority of men on Costa Concordia had absolutely no sense of chivalry, duty, or in the very least concern for others in danger around them.

Rich Lowry explains:

Guys aboard the Costa Concordia apparently made sure the age of chivalry was good and dead by pushing it over and trampling on it in their heedless rush for the exits. The grounded cruise ship has its heroes, of course, just as the Titanic had its cowards. But the discipline of the Titanic’s crew and the self-enforced chivalric ethic that prevailed among its men largely trumped the natural urge toward panicked self-preservation.

I do not agree that chivalry is “good and dead,” but I do believe NeW and the rest of us can do something to change the current theme of “Dude, where’s my lifeboat.” We actually have been taking action. See the Gentleman’s Showcase here.

But I know what some readers will think about the events that occurred on the Italian cruise ship: Chivalry being dead (or taking its last breath) is a good thing because it shows that we are treating everyone equal.

Not at all.

Chivalry is not about superiority or inferiority, and it does not trample equality. Chivalry is on a completely different level – acting out of concern and respect for those who you believe should be respected. Even biologically and anthropologically, the male traditionally acts on behalf of the female because she is important – perhaps more important than himself.  Being a gentleman is a selfless and natural way of life, not one that diminishes women or elevates men.

Unfortunately, this natural state has been pushed out of our society. Men are bickered at if they try to open the door for a lady with lines such as “I can do it myself!” or faced with women who try to blend in with men by drinking to excess, cussing, and hooking-up.

With this mentality being reinforced over generations by radical feminists, it is no surprise that most men on Costa Concordia ignored women.

But there is hope. With NeW’s Gentlemen’s Showcase or even just regular women thanking a man for opening a door, we can revitalize chivalry and respect in society.

What did you think of the Italian cruise ship tragedy? Has chivalry sunk? Or can we save the sinking ship? Post your thoughts in the comments section!

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