The International Fellowship of Chivalry-Now

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Responding to Feminist Criticism

Feminism has fought a long and difficult war against an entrenched male power structure that treated women with fewer rights and privileges, lower wages, and not so hidden contempt. In many ways, that war continues.
      With this in mind, women have a right to look upon Chivalry-Now with suspicion. Men too, for that matter. Fairness demands that we care about the results of our movement, and a number of men in our surveys expressed such concern. It is important that we respond to these serious and well-meaning questions.
      First of all, Chivalry-Now is not an attempt to reinstate any sort of male dominance in today's society. It calls for equality and recognition that men are the helpmates of women, not their masters. It is not based on an outmoded way of thinking that rejects the advances of the Enlightenment or the Civil Rights Movement or Feminism. It accepts them wholeheartedly.
      Part of the fear stems from chivalry being a strictly male code of behavior. This fact can be somewhat misleading. The virtues of chivalry are not restricted to males. Women can be just as strong, truthful, helpful and virtuous as any male (and often tend to be better). What makes chivalry specifically male is its delivery system. It calls to males specifically by focusing on their needs. There is nothing wrong or threatening in this. Nevertheless, the question arises: Are we slighting women by leaving them out?
      No more than feminism does when it speaks directly to women and mobilizes them for their own advancement. One could think of Chivalry-Now as a counterpart to feminism, a philosophical partner that heals the wounds of the male gender, just as feminism heals the wounds of women.
      What makes these gender-specific philosophies valuable is that they each aim at the betterment of both sexes by supporting the needs of their respective genders. Men have benefited from feminism, and it is hoped that women will benefit from Chivalry-Now. In fact, our new form of chivalry would be something other than what it is if not for feminism opening the eyes of men to their own wrongful domination, and to women's equally valuable capabilities. Feminism has helped men face some ugly truths about ourselves.
      While learning these truths was both right and important, not just for women but for men, their deprecations resulted in a philosophical and cultural deficit for men. We don't know who we are anymore! We still get some of the old, misogynist messages vying for our attention, while constantly being admonished not to comply. We look around for something better, something that would benefit our relationships, and find nothing readily available other beyond lengthy and costly psychotherapy. We have not only lost our way, we see no other path to adhere to.
      Chivalry-Now attempts to fill the gap. Chivalry-Now provides a voice that speaks to the inner needs of men to help them comply with a world that has changed significantly in the last hundred years. It gives them a place of value in society, because it focuses on truth and courage, honor and compassion, along with healthy, more courteous relationships with women, and with men for that matter.
      To appreciate Chivalry-Now, a person has to understand the inner inspiration of chivalry, while letting go of some of its ancient conclusions. Is this possible? If is were not, then no branch of understanding we enjoy today could still be connected to its natural roots. Indeed, looking back at our beginnings gives us greater appreciation of how and why we changed.
      Men have a right to a male code of behavior. We need it to lift ourselves from the moral, civil and philosophical deficit we suffer from today. And yes, women will benefit from having men who can relate to them in a more comfortable fashion, recognizing our differences with honest respect. Men who are inspired by Chivalry-Now will not be predators, or dominators, or devalue a woman's labor, or not help out with household chores, or express love with what appears to be stony indifference. They will help to raise the children and take efforts in modeling what it means to be a proper man. They will not be obnoxiously aggressive, but will enjoy the free flow of compassion in their lives. Knowing that humble self-improvement raises the good for us all, they will develop their skills and talents for better reasons than being number one.
As much as we point out these well-meaning benefits, there may be people so obsessed by the feminist directive, so identified with it, that Chivalry-Now will always seem a threat, no matter what we say or do. That's understandable considering the trials women had to face for their well-deserved equality. We must never condemn these people-which would be counterproductive anyway. The best we can do, as men who value goodness, is prove in our daily lives that we are worthy of our female partners in life. We can also learn not to become so obsessed by Chivalry-Now that we close our own perspective as to what is good and true in others.


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