Asian man holding the door for a woman

Believe it or not, the early concept of chivalry had nothing to do with male behavior concerning women. In the Middle Ages, the chivalry code was set up to keep medieval knights under control. Brutish and violent, knights in those days were considered “hired thugs” according to studies on chivalric education by Texas A&M University. This code of etiquette and conduct kept them in check.

A Medieval Code of Conduct

While a code of chivalry may sound like an outdated concept in these modern times, some ideas can still apply. The 11th-century French epic poem “Song of Roland,” describes this code. Here are 17 entries as listed in the SCASD Education Foundation:

  • To fear God and maintain His Church
  • To serve the liege lord in valor and faith
  • To protect the weak and defenseless
  • To give succor to widows and orphans
  • To refrain from the wanton giving of offense
  • To live by honor and for glory
  • To despise pecuniary reward
  • To fight for the welfare of all
  • To obey those placed in authority
  • To guard the honor of fellow knights
  • To eschew unfairness, meanness, and deceit
  • To keep faith
  • At all times to speak the truth
  • To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun
  • To respect the honor of women
  • Never refuse a challenge from an equal
  • Never turn your back upon a foe

Adapting the Chivalry Code in Modern Times

Forget acting like a “knight in shining armor” because those days of women needing rescue are long gone. may even be seen as offensive and patronizing. Is there a place for this kind of code in modern times? Yes, but it needs to evolve.

Historians at Texas A&M see modern chivalry as more than just holding the door open for women or carrying their groceries. It’s about defending the most vulnerable against the attack of thugs. These include women, children, the elderly, the sick, society’s minorities, the underrepresented, and the disadvantaged. Taking from the text above, here are some modern interpretations that any man can apply to his everyday life:

Protect the weak and defenseless. Speak up for people who can’t defend themselves. Step in when someone is being unfairly attacked.

• Donate to charity and campaign for a cause. Stand up for what you believe in and support causes that are important to you, whether through financial donations or by sharing your time and effort.

• Be upfront, don’t be a jerk. Say what you mean and mean what you say but do so with kindness and respect.

• Finish what you started. Being a man of your word is more than just about keeping promises, it’s also seeing your ambitions, projects, and decisions through.

• Take care of yourself. It’s a sign of self-respect and respect for others. Keep your hair and body clean with Dove Men+Care Refreshing Clean Shampoo and Dove Men+Care Extra Fresh Body Wash. Stay fresh, , and odor-free with AXE Deo Body Spray Gold Temptation.

Do Girls Appreciate Chivalry?

Girls – rather, women – appreciate chivalry when it comes naturally with not attachments. Women can sense a man's motives for being nice or generous, especially if it's out of character. Chivalry is appreciated when it's warranted, and when it doesn't degrade or diminish it's recipient.

The chivalry code may be a medieval concept, but some of its ideas can still apply today. More than just an instruction on how to treat women, it’s a code on how to be a overall — that’s evergreen in our book.