Chivalry: Dead or Alive?

A chat with one of my Twitter followers brought up the topic of chivalry. In ”Help I'm a Celebrity” style, an Australian reality show had a male contestant purposely lost a challenge in order to save his female companion from having to eat spiders.  I am told Australian media was all abuzz discussing whether this move was chivalrous.  Would he have done the same if it was a male teammate?

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My immediate thoughts were of the male/female dynamic when it comes to chivalry. The man feeling like a man when he is in position to take care of and protect the weak. Before you get upset with me for claiming women are “weak,” for the sake of conversation let’s agree that “weak” is not a negative quality. Maybe “vulnerable” is a better choice of words.

I immediately picture the simple act of the man holding a door open for the woman. A woman is very capable of opening the door herself. When someone holds the door open for you, they have control in that moment. They could choose to let you pass unharmed, or they could slam the door in your face. For that brief moment, if someone is holding the door open for you, you are in the more vulnerable position.

When I surveyed some of my male friends, the scenario in which the Australian contestant had a male teammate had two approaches. One approach is that he would have still purposely lost for his teammate in the name of the Band of Brother’s code: “No man left behind,” “we are in this together,” etc. The second approach was that he would let his teammate fend for himself. He would assume the other guy would be capable of handling the spiders and there was no need to “save” him from danger.

In the workplace, I am sure these situations occur. I saw many cases where a male colleague helped a female with a technical task when she was struggling. It is important to note he helped without an air of arrogance. I have had guys I work with go above their job description to make my task more efficient or easier for me.

I also had a male colleague bring me a cup of coffee to a meeting  I was trapped inside all day and could not get away for a break.

These chivalrous moments happen more than we realize, but I know that this happens in the reverse as well. I believe the Aussie contestant was acting out of chivalry. I think he would have let a male teammate fend for himself.

I am curious to hear your thoughts.

Is this chivalry, or being a good person?

If it were a male teammate would he have sacrificed himself? What have you done for someone else or someone did for you at work that felt like chivalry? Share your stories in the comments below.

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