Yesterday as I sat by the pool reading, I overheard the following conversation between a guy and a girl who were sitting nearby. The young man was criticizing a friend of his who treats women badly:
“The guy talks down to her all the f—ing time! I’m sorry but I could never be such a d—head and f—ing talk to girls like that.”
The girl nodded in full agreement. I imagine her heart swooned to be in the presence of such a gentleman. “Who says chivalry is dead?!” she must have thought.
Can we please back up and review that conversation? Even now I sit in amazement of how ridiculous the whole thing was. While condemning another man for supposedly treating women poorly, this guy was simultaneously showering the girl’s ears with profanity. While criticizing another man for disrespecting women, he was disrespecting her.
And what’s even worse is that she ate it all up! Not once did she see the hypocrisy of his actions. It never dawned on her that he was dishonoring her by speaking so obscenely. In her eyes, his passionate distaste for another man’s sins was chivalry enough.
Sadly, this kind of “chivalry” pervades our culture. For another pertinent example, just look at popular song lyrics today–it’s now a term of endearment when a man calls a woman his “bitch.” Women feel flattered when guys ogle their bodies like pieces of meat in a butcher shop window. And it’s even gotten so bad that women will excuse their husband’s infidelity as long as he doesn’t leave them. These women proudly state, “He may go out with those other women, but he always comes home to me!”
Seriously? Is that the best we can hope for?
The ironic thing is that women have encouraged this behavior as well. In addition to dressing in ways that provoke the exact kind of attention we should be discouraging, some women actually punish men for being gentlemen.
I will never forget the time a guy friend of mine was riding on the bus when a young women got on. There weren’t any seats available, so my friend stood up and offered his seat to her. The girl’s response was surprising. Instead of gratefully taking his seat, she was indignant: “I don’t want your seat! It’s not like I’m too weak to stand!”
This isn’t the only time I’ve heard stories of this kind. I know numerous men who’ve been reprimanded by young ladies when they held the door for them. The mindset, I assume, is that men are treating women as weak, fragile, inferior beings when they condescend to offer such gestures.
This is the backwards world we live in. We have become so confused that we interpret honor as insult. Women are actually demanding disrespect as a sign of respect. Not only do we tolerate it, but we invite it.
This is a complex question that has many, many different answers, but at the heart of it all is a complete loss of our identity. Women have forgotten that they are the crowning jewel of creation, designed to glorify God with their beauty, requiring honor and respect from the men created to care for them. Women have forgotten that they were made in God’s image, so they should expect men to treat them with the appropriate respect that such an image deserves.
Ladies, we must refuse to participate in a culture that renames dishonor as valor, cowardice as courage, and dominance as strength. We may twist and rationalize every misbehavior possible, but at the end of the day it is still utterly detestable to God Himself, so we must work to view the world through this lens.
And if you have a female friend who is allowing herself to be romanced with this new form of chivalry, please tell her. Remind her that God created her for more than she realizes, so she must not stand by while her beauty, and the beauty of God, are spit upon. We are better than that. And more importantly, God is better than that.