Many feminists objected to the implication of chivalry that women were weaker.

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Both feminist critique of chivalry and the backlash against it have continued in the century since then.

In her recent book ‘The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage’, American TV presenter Laura Schlessinger declared: “Chivalry is largely dead, and feminism is the murderer”.

Encouraging a revival, she wrote: “Chivalry and gentlemanly behaviour is a good thing”. She called on women to “enjoy being a woman and let men treat them as such” and on men “to be old-fashioned gentlemen; chivalry is still in demand".


The problem with the feminist critique is that chivalry is actually nothing at all to do with the way that one treats women. It"s to do with the way that one treats everyone.

Gentlemen are chivalrous, to be chivalrous is to be a gentleman. This is an identity, not a matter for discussion and is how we get concepts like "one of nature"s gentlemen", someone who is not a gentleman by birth but by nature and action.

There"s also nothing about "gentle" implied in the definition. That definition being that a gentleman is someone who never unknowingly insults someone.

It"s just fine to cut, insult, swear at, beat up, wound, kill someone, but one must actually mean to do so at the time that one is.

Gentlemen of old, those chivalrous knights, would quite happily slaughter the women and children in a town, rape their way through the captured and sell off those remaining into slavery. Nothing at all unchivalrous about that, for they meant it.

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Tim Worstall
I"m a Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London, a writer here and there on this and that and strangely, one of the global experts on the metal scandium, one of the…

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I"m a Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London, a writer here and there on this and that and strangely, one of the global experts on the metal scandium, one of the rare earths. An odd thing to be but someone does have to be such and in this flavour of our universe I am. I have written for The Times, Daily Telegraph, Express, Independent, City AM, Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer and online for the ASI, IEA, Social Affairs Unit, Spectator, The Guardian, The Register and Techcentralstation. I"ve also ghosted pieces for several UK politicians in many of the UK papers, including the Daily Sport.