Wanting to do more research to corroborate Dalrock’s excellent series on chivalry I stumbled upon this gem from our old friend the Catholic Match Institute. Excerpts from Why Holding Doors Matters. I don’t want to go through the trouble of quoting the whole article, so here are assorted sections. I want you all to note the sections where the mask slips:
There is a moment in Ben-Hur where the Emperor Tiberius is preparing to give a proclamation. The servant tasked with handing it to him is momentarily distracted and doesn’t realize that Tiberius is sitting there with his hand held out, glaring at him and waiting for him to give him the scroll. It’s within easy reach, but he is the Emperor; he doesn’t move to meet his servants, his servants move to meet him. No one who valued his head would dare suggest this implied weakness on the Emperor’s part; quite the contrary. His power and authority is shown in that others do things for him, not because he can’t, but because he shouldn’t have to.
Aha. In other words, when a man holds a door open for a woman he is doing the equivalent of acknowledging that she has authority over him – that he is, in fact, her subordinate, and she is owed deference.
Men naturally have more physical power than women; therefore, we must drill ourselves in the habit of using that power for women rather than for ourselves (in the same way, women have tremendous attractive power that they must learn to use safely and justly, which is what we call ‘modesty.’ But that’s a topic for another time).
A topic for another time indeed. Do you think modesty will have a counterpoint to this?
The man who opens the door and lets you enter a restaurant first is building the same habit that might one day cause him to stand back and let you enter a lifeboat first. The rich men who went to their deaths on the Titanic while chambermaids and seamstresses were lowered to safety could easily have thrown the entire crew into the sea and saved themselves. They didn’t, in part, because they had been trained all their lives to afford certain basic courtesies to women. And though you may never find yourself in such dire circumstances, every woman ought to hope that the man she marries has a similar attitude towards her wellbeing.
Well now, strange indeed. What if such a forced policy literally leads to more deaths than it prevents? Is it still wrong if you don’t do it, or merely smart? What if the husband is the breadwinner, knows he will be better able to take care of their children, and knows it would be in the family’s best interests if his life was secured first? What would the wife’s obligation be in such a situation?
If these are the obligations of chivalry, what are the obligations of modesty that correspond? Covering up your chest with a nice sweater and a skirt that goes past the knees? Listening to your husband when he asks you not to show off your ass at the office?
It’s always interesting to see the mask slip.