Friday, December 16, 2011

Chivalry & Service in the "Modern" Era

I recently read an inquiry regarding the view of Chivalry within the LGBTQ community. I, of course, am unable to reply on behalf of that community, given that I identify only as bi-sensual and spend much of my time with generally straight-leaning kinksters. Nonetheless, I found the inquiry irresistible! And BEHOLD... my response.

I'll start from a clear definition of Chivalry:

1. the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms.
2. the rules and customs of medieval knighthood.
3. the medieval system or institution of knighthood.
4. a group of knights.
5. gallant warriors or gentlemen: fair ladies and noble chivalry.
6. Archaic . a chivalrous act; gallant deed.

Which leads me to Chivalrous, which is, I believe, the heart of what you're describing:

1. having the qualities of chivalry, as courage, courtesy, and loyalty.
2. considerate and courteous to women; gallant.
3. gracious and honorable toward an enemy, especially a defeated one, and toward the weak or poor.

Now, everything I say from herein is my opinion, based on my experience and education, and largely an open inquiry given that I KNOW I don't have the final answers. So here I go, and I'm a bit of a writer, so please forgive the length of this response...

Consider that a desire to be chivalrous may have less to do with one's biological gender or sexual orientation and more with the level of masculine or feminine energy (or association). Given that we each have both within us, how might the following apply to the LGBTQ community? If the masculine has evolved to protect and provide for the feminine, might chivalry be a naturally masculine act? Might it be naturally feminine to receive? Masculine and feminine are, again, energies that we each flow between in this context, having nothing to do with one's sexual biology or orientation.

Consider then that feminism has done a disservice to many of us. (That's right, I said it.) In the fight to make available to women more options in the workplace and rights in the world, the option of remaining OUT of the workplace got devalued. Accordingly, I was raised that I should be strong, capable, and independent, and not NEED anyone to do anything for me. Make my own money, pay my own way, buy my own house... basically do it all myself. Which lead to stepping into the role of protector and provider and dwelling in my masculine energy most of the time.

I'm good at providing for others, because I'm also very service oriented (and I'll come back to Service shortly), and it is exhausting for me to constantly provide for myself. It's all providing with no receiving - YUCK! It has only been in the last year that I've begun to allow myself to want want I want, which is to dwell in my feminine as often as possible. And when I do allow the masculine to protect and provide for me, and I receive it graciously, my life gets much easier!

IMHO, there can be a two-way exchange in the providing of chivalry. The returning side is called Appreciation. It has also been referred to in this thread as graciousness. I understand that it may not be expected by the chivalrous provider, and you cannot deny that it feels good. Here's the challenge for the "modern" individual (raised in the feminist era)...

If we return to the definition of Chivalrous, you'll see "gracious and honorable toward an enemy, especially a defeated one, and toward the weak or poor." Accordingly, an individual raised in the mindset of "I shouldn't need anything from anyone" may perceive a chivalrous act as an implication that they are defeated, weak, or poor, thus requiring defensiveness and posturing to prove otherwise. Sigh - there's little room for gratitude when defending.

I believe there is a crossover between Chivalry and Service. Since the definition of Service comes down to "providing a helpful act," certain chivalrous acts could also be viewed or performed as acts of service, such as opening doors for people, taking a lady's/gentleman's coat, helping someone carry something. Perhaps it depends on intention...?

For ME, Service is something I provide, Chivalry something I receive. The idea of receiving service makes me balk, it turns my world upside-down in a disturbing way, and when I think of Being Chivalrous it feels like stepping into my masculine energy (which for me is being manly). I can perform the same function from my feminine energy by Being of Service. Hmmm, interesting!

How do you relate to Chivalry and Service?

M. Makael Newby, 2011 - All Rights Reserved -