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The Women of Chivalry-Now

 

Page Ella (Lynne's grand-daughter),
dreaming of knighthood.

A number of women participate in the fellowship of Chivalry-Now.
     To the casual observer, this might seen odd. After all, Chivalry-Now considers itself a decidedly male code of ethics rooted in the warrior traditions of the West, almost exclusively associated with men.
     That being the case, one might reasonable ask how women fit into the Chivalry-Now fellowship. What part do they play? Do their contributions run contrary to the whole idea of male ownership?
     Not at all.
     As a true ethic for men, Chivalry-Now would be incomplete without promoting friendships and healthy partnerships with women. There is nothing separationist about Chivalry-Now. If anything, its goal is to shape men to be better partners of women by respecting gender differences and fulfilling cultural obligations.
     Male issues are not isolated from female issues. They are both expressions of human issues from particular perspectives where men and women naturally coexist.
     Harmonious gender relationships best occur when both sexes find personal authenticity and fulfillment while interacting among themselves and with one another. Differences should be respectful and complimentary. For this to happen in a free environment, they need to be flexibly defined, based more on individually expressed ideals rather than set, oppressive rules. Men need to know what it is means to be a man, what is expected of them personally, socially and in partnership with women. The rogue male, unrefined, lacking self-discipline, using women as commodities, should be a cultural aberration, and not reflective of the majority. The human values that both genders seek comes from having purpose and meaning, and comfortable interaction.
     The Chivalry-Now code, as articulated by the 12 Trusts, provides a valid, cultural blueprint for western male behavior. In this respect, it includes relationships with women as part of its concern. It does not attempt to define female values or ethics. That would be the responsibility of women. Their ideals should no more be dictated by men than male ideals should be dictated by women.
     That gender roles interrelate and influence each other is certainly part of nature's dynamic. Definitions of each gender, while aiming to be complete in themselves, gain uniqueness, clarity and form in comparison to each other. In this way, respect for differences is maintained while contributing to healthy partnerships.
     This symbiosis has its foundation in human nature which is then propagated culturally. When feminism's goal includes what is best for both men and women, it strongly contributes to this process. By promoting a harmony of differences from the male perspective, Chivalry-Now does its part to accomplish the same. Indeed, Chivalry-Now has aptly been described as the male counterpoint to feminism. By pulling our own weight, we provide something that feminism lacked — male involvement. In other words, the cultural healing of men, simultaneous with the healing of women that feminism fostered.
     The reasons that women get involved with Chivalry-Now are individual and therefore legion.
     Perhaps they like relating to men who are open and courteous and view women as complete human beings. Perhaps they enjoy the philosophical meeting of minds within the structure of our fellowship. While chivalry is a cultural expression of male values, its principles lean to universality that is open to everyone.
     Like the rest of us, perhaps they recognize the importance of Chivalry-Now in repairing our broken culture. They help us accomplish that task by enriching the perspectives of men by sharing their own unique perspectives in discussion. Our gender-related visions of the world function best when the two are functionally compatible. After all, we live in a world where women compose roughly half the population. Positive relationships play a vital part in determining who we are as men.
     The involvement of women in Chivalry-Now should not be viewed as extraordinary. This was true in medieval times as well. Arthurian literature, which strongly shaped chivalry's formation, illustrated the importance of this symbiosis.
     Over and over the stories describe the appearance of "damsels" or ladies who provide challenges, guidelines and revealing critiques of knights on their quests. Often these figures are representatives of earlier female deities who impart wisdom or exemplify nature.
     Their portrayal of female personalities covered a wide variety of archetypes, from virginal purity, to heroic stature, to adulterous wives and evil witches. Some test the knight's qualities through merciless provocation, while others heal his wounds and offer comfort. Some inspire him to great deeds, while others tempt him toward dishonor. In one, the popular figure of Arthur's nephew, Sir Gawain, was declared Knight of the Goddess.
     The fact is plain. Chivalry recognizes that women play a legitimate part in defining who we are as men.
     The women who join our fellowship are greatly valued for their unique perspectives, insights, moral support — and, most of all, for their friendship. They understand how nature has interwoven our mutual destinies. Chivalry-Now would be less than what it is without them.
     For one thing, the power of women carries us back to what is important. Family. Home. Mutual cooperation. The proper nurturing of children that requires a male presence. They reconnect us to the earth and teach us the full meaning of love.
     Their power is such that weaker men despise their gentle ways and abuse them — all from insecurity. We forget the bonds that unite us as partners, and how incomplete we are when separate.
     Our relationships with women provide a unique mirror through which we better see and judge who we are as men. They are capable of challenging our smug, know-it-all attitudes as no one else can. We see this in their eyes, in their expectations, and their own tireless dedication.
     Their instincts and intuition, their empathy, their willingness to sacrifice, their sheer tenacity for maintaining and protecting families make them essential to the survival of the human race. Their intelligence, problem-solving skills, and aesthetic qualities made civilization possible. As friends, mothers, sisters, wives and daughters, they inspire men toward courtesy, gentleness, excellence.
     We owe them a lot, and have historically repaid them with mistreatment, discrimination, insults, and sexual degradation. This remains a blot on the integrity of manhood, and needs to be corrected. We don't accomplish this through miserly measuring out our courtesies and friendships according to perceived gain. That would reflect the soulless tactics of the marketplace, valuing every smile according to personal gain.
     We must be generous in our respect and admiration. Not "fools" or "players," who shamefully use or are used by others, but men of good will, open minds and magnanimous heart.
     Only then do we augment authenticity with true, manly refinement.
     So, there are many reasons for the men of Chivalry-Now to welcome and value the women of Chivalry-Now.
     There are also many reasons for women wanting to participate. Perhaps the simples reason is that women are searching for something also, and have trouble finding it elsewhere. Whatever their reasons, we are grateful for their growing presence.

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