Dr. Susan vs. Dr. Laura: Is Chivalry dead?

Hey, Dr. Laura, what do you think of chivalry? Oh, right, it’s the best thing ever and feminists ruin everything. This week’s drivel comes from her blog.

Dr. Laura: “Now first off, I want to make it perfectly clear that I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with women having equal opportunities. If they have the ability, then the opportunity should not be closed to them. That goes for everything – gender, race…whatever. If you have the ability, you should not be denied the opportunity. That’s basic civil rights, and I am very big on that. All I’m saying is that women shouldn’t automatically have the opportunity just because they are females. “

Dr. Laura
Dr. Laura: living a life made possible by feminism, and then bitching about feminists.

Dr. Susan: No, Dr. Laura, this is a lie. I mean, even if it were the truth, it would be problematic, but it is a lie. Your fundamental belief system is based on the idea that women should a) have children, b) take care of their husbands, and c) not work. She derides working mothers, and is constantly defining women by the men in their lives. “Equal opportunities” means having a belief in…equal opportunities. If those opportunities are limited to the kitchen, the bedroom, and the delivery room, they are not equal.

“And it’s this feminist attitude that has made respect and admiration between men and women take a nosedive.”

What? What? I mean, what? Is there a citation for this? I know lots of men and lots of women and I respect many of them, and many of them respect me. Even though I am a feminist! Just saying that “feminism = nosediving attitudes” doesn’t make it true.

“Women’s studies programs teach women that when men act graciously, they are attempting to control them and keep them down. They encourage women to be hostile, become major ball-busters, and think they can have babies without men because kids don’t need a daddy. If you listen to them, they say just about every woman is beaten, raped, and cheated out of everything (just read Who Stole Feminism by Christina Hoff Sommers if you think I’m nuts).”

I teach a women’s studies class, and she’s basically right. All I do all day is talk about how I haaaaate men and any woman who isn’t hostile is going to fail the class. Because I love hostility, and did I mention that I hate men?

Except not. Dr. Laura, stop spouting off about things you have no experience with.

“And when these women dress like pigs, talk like pigs, and act like pigs, it is a little demoralizing for men to put them on a pedestal, take them out on dates, and treat them like they’re special. Think about it. Chivalry has to do with respect, and we don’t see women behaving with much dignity when they hook up and have multiple sexual partners.”

Fuck you, Dr. Laura.

“It makes a man feel good to be protecting and taking care of a woman, and it should make a woman feel good to know that a man is being respectful and thoughtful of her.”

You know what else feels good, for men and women? Being respected for the person that you are, not the shape of your crotch. Being taken care of because a person cares, not because that person is one gender and you are another. Having a person be thoughtful because they want to be, not because some set of rules has them act in meaningless ways to prove that they are manly.

“We’ve lost something beautiful and it’s something so essential in a love relationship. If you treat your husband like he’s a man, you’ll get more manly behavior. If you treat your wife like she’s a woman, you will get more womanly behavior. The polarity between men and women actually means something despite what social trends say. I don’t care how big of a feminist you are – we are still hardwired.  Women should expect men to provide, protect, nurture, and love them. If they don’t want to allow that, they are going to miss out on a lot.”

The only thing that women “should” do is what feels right to them in their own relationships and their own lives. The same with men. Somebody opening a door for me because they think they should is not love, it is not beautiful, it is not meaningful – it is habit.

So if what you are saying is that my life is passing me by because I am unwilling to accept habit as a proxy for real relationships and real thoughts and real feelings, well, I guess I’m probably sad. After all, that’s what I should be, right? Sad? And I don’t know how to act unless somebody tells me how I should do it, so thank you, Dr. Laura. It’s a pity so many people feel like they can find fulfillment by doing what feels right instead of by following protocol.

By Susan

I am old and wise. Perhaps more old than wise, but once you're old, you don't give a shit about details anymore.

52 replies on “Dr. Susan vs. Dr. Laura: Is Chivalry dead?”

I agree with both doctors.

There should be no chivalry for feminists. Men should not pay for their meals or entertainment, open their doors, shield them from having to trudge through snow and slush by fetching the car and pulling it up, carry their heavy things, change their flat tires, or any of those other unequal gender-role things that feminism opposes.

However, regular women should be offered chivalry if they desire it, which the majority do.

Yes – this is right, and the same poll that I am using.  The thing is, when people know what the word feminist means, they self-identify as such.  People are unwilling to self-identify as feminist - until they know what it means.

So while your “regular” woman might not call herself a feminist, she actually is one, but the label has taken on negative connotations.

Perhaps people believe that the reality and that particular definition don’t match up, or that there’s way more involved than just those few words, such as various theories that they don’t agree with.

I personally  respect women’s right to determine what their belief system is. If a woman says she’s a feminist, she is a feminist. If she says that she is not a feminist, she is not. IMO, it would be wrong and disrespectful of me or anyone else to claim to know what she is or is not better than she does.




Oh, you are so respectful. But the thing is, you said that “regular women” desire chivalry, and base this on the belief that “regular women” don’t call themselves feminists. But “regular women” believe in the feminist movement, they just don’t apply the label – so you are being the opposite of respectful when you decide for them that they desire chivalry.

Nice try, though.

“Oh, you are so respectful.”

Thanks. I try.

By contrast, telling 76% of women that they aren’t even intelligent enough to even know what they believe is very disrespectful.

It is a fact that average, typical (regular) women do enjoy chivalry.  Many women actually prefer social inequality between genders (e.g. men opening doors, paying for first or most dates, etc.) which, as you point out, is against feminism.

“And while the vast majority agree that the dating game has changed, more than half still expect the man to ask them out (59%), hold the door for them (54%) and pay for the first date (51%).”

Most people enjoy polite behavior, whether or not they are feminists or even if they’re men. I’m a feminist and I don’t get pissed if a man opens a door for me, but if I get to the door first I’m not going to stand there like a simpering fool and wait for someone to open the door for me. Hell, I can even use my delicate lady-arms to hold doors for men! Because it’s polite to help other people.

Hillary, sure. Gender-blind courtesy is not chivalry, and is totally compatible with feminism’s social equality requirement.

As mentioned in my initial comment, in feminism, there is no expectation or desire for men to do any more or less for women than women are desired or expected to do for men. Equal generosity and equal courtesy.

And in your initial comment you also say men shouldn’t perform any tasks you see as chivalrous for a woman who calls herself a feminist. Even though most of your list is just plain courteous. So you’re going to go out of your way to be extra rude to some women, instead of just being polite to everyone.

Again, chivalry is not gender-blind courtesy.

The list of examples are are highly gendered, unequal actions, far more often done by men for women than by women for men. In feminism, courtesy cannot be unequal or based on gender. None of the actions are anti-feminist unless there is an expectation that men should do them more often for women than vice-versa, or that they are done because the recipient is female (or male, for that matter).

From the same poll that you cite:

“When a definition of a feminist is provided, majorities of women in nearly all demographic groups say they are a feminist. ”

People like you make women afraid to use the word.  Doesn’t change the fact that your average woman is a feminist.  Sorry.

“People like you make women afraid to use the word.  Doesn’t change the fact that your average woman is a feminist.  Sorry.”

Even though they are in the minority, 24% of women DO consider themselves feminists. There is nothing I can do or say to make anyone afraid to call themselves a feminist.

If they truly are feminists, they would know that for themselves and say yes when asked. They don’t. I accept that.


Feminism doesn’t ‘oppose’ a skilled professional doing their trade, nor something being done by someone with the desire and aptitude to do it. But there should be opportunities for EVERYONE who desires to be skilled in those areas/needs those skills to be trained in them. It’s a tired, logically-unsound argument from the uneducated MRA hive-mind that spews out all of this garbage about how women don’t want ‘real’ equality (because those men seemingly love trying to speak on behalf of women and/or creating strawmen) and how men don’t want to have to be courteous or respectful to any woman who dares to think that they should not be subservient to men.

Why the need to troll here? There’s a lot of history to what certain genders are expected to do because of social conditioning, that is true (which varies greatly depending on region, education, etc.). However, those expectations really have nothing to do with desire nor aptitude. If someone needs assistance, any capable person (regardless of gender) could provide it, and capable people regardless of gender can provide assistance to anyone else. There’s nothing inherit in gender than makes someone open doors, nor that makes one need doors opened. That’s a social construct, and one we don’t need. People are usually happiest when they have the tools and the ability to sustain themselves, along with the social resources and networks to help them out when needed. This is not a gender-specific thing. If I’m carrying a heavy box, darn right I expect someone nearby to help with the door if they can; and darn right I do the same for them. It’s common courtesy and it’s needed for civilized societies. Now, only opening doors for people based on gender instead of capability? Unwanted, unneeded, and unexpected by feminists. Not all women are dainty little flowers who can’t get snow on them that must be protected by the big, strong men. Not all men have the ability to change a tire, nor do all women lack that skill. Eh, I’m not wasting any more of my time on explaining common sense to a sexist fool who thinks that ‘normal’ women just LOVE having less opportunity and freedom because they might find a guy who carries more groceries than she does sometime. Apparently, no one ever does acts of kindness without reciprocity or, you know, things that make them equal (in value). We should just all stop appreciating others, hold grudges, and think that is what equality means.


In feminism, gender/sex should have no bearing on the amount of courtesy, consideration, or treatment a person receives – be it on the job, at school, or any other venue. Assigning unequal, preferential treatment to either men or women based on their gender is anti-feminist.

For instance, men should not expect to be paid more than women based on being male any more than women should expect to have their bags carried for them more often than men based on sex. That is a core concept of feminism. 

Thus, “chivalry”, where men are expected to be more courteous toward women than they are toward other men, or women are toward men, simply because of their gender, is anti-feminist, and actual feminists reject it. They don’t want any more or less courtesy than a man would get in a given instance.  

None of this has anything to do with denying women or men equal opportunity at work or elsewhere. In fact, equality is the whole point.

The only thing thats average here is the simple ass philosophy that doing things that are “nice” in the name of a concept like chivalry as opposed to, dunno, just being a good person, is raggedy as all hell. And that being denied chivalry is somehow an act of moral restoration in the name of “real women”.

Said averageness may also want to let go that one time that woman did something that hurt it’s fee-fee’s and now only “real women” deserve and receive chivalrous treatment, as deemed by the command and authority on all things “real women” and “fake feminist”. Yes, our friend CareBare.

I dunno, maybe base your concept of manhood and masculinity on something more substantial?

Broheim Carebear, while we are all just awaiting to be graced with your opinions, much like the lapping of Jesus’s tears, I must ask, is there nothing better for you to be doing on this Sunday evening? I mean, what brings you to Persephone? The need to put us in our place? The desire to overthrow the “feminopoly”? The manifest destiny idea that men must take back the right of chivalry from these damned feminazi’s? The honor of “regular women” that  you are fighting for?

So yes, punish us with denying us that open door, that unpaid meal, that trudge through the snow, where we will cry our old, tattered tears and weep at the loss of what our actions hath wrought. “WHY DID I NOT JUST LISTEN TO BARRY? WHY COULD I NOT SEE THE DIVINE WISDOM IN WHICH HE SPOKE OF MY EXPERIENCE AS A WOMAN? WHY DID I BRING THIS UPON MYSELF? I COULD HAVE BEEN WITH A MAN LIKE BARRY!”

or I mean, you could go hang out on reddit or an MRA website and probably have some folks who might agree with you. Or you could troll a woman’s site if thats what gets your dick hard. Whatever, we all got to make our choices.

just read Who Stole Feminism by Christina Hoff Sommers if you think I’m nuts

The “if you think I’m nuts” part tickles me bad. We don’t think she’s nuts, we know she’s nuts. BIG difference. Also the fact that she always seems to vehemently desagree with feminism and it’s values at any occasion she gets makes me laugh so hard it gives me abs, I mean she seems to forget she can vote, and err… be a “doctor” because of fucking feminism!

OH, this pisses me off.

For one thing, if you look at some of The Canterbury Tales and the lais of Marie de France, you’ll notice something: . It’s a code of behavior for a knight (in French chevalier, and chivalry is chivalerie), but not all knights followed it.  The ideal of the “noble knight” is simply that–an ideal. Even if you look at Le Roman de la Rose, there’s a lot of misogyny in there, even though it’s supposed to be an allegorical poem about chivalry.  Yes, it was quite a departure from the real-world ways of the Middle Ages, but really, the basis for it is the idealization of ladies.  There’s no equality between the two genders or taking each individual for who he or she is.  Instead we have very strict rules as to how knights and ladies are supposed to act and what each can expect from the other.  And keep in mind all this stuff was at court, which was its own world and very much a departure from the real world.  Yes, it was good, because it provided a way to present women more positively, but it’s so idealized and the scope is so narrow that really, it’s not any better for women.

Also, Alienor d’Aquitaine, a big sponsor of the ideals of chivalry in her courts of love, probably would have laughed at Dr. Laura.  Because Alienor was a mover and a shaker in her own right and didn’t put up with any man’s shit.

Also, can we just talk a moment about the fact that this is a code of behavior from the Middle Ages? The Middle Freaking Ages? Is that a time we are real anxious to get back to? The Middle Ages were all about piecing society back together after the Dark Ages which were a Mad Max style post apocalyptic nightmare where the biggest stable government had collapsed and the power vacuum was vast and being filled by the worst sort of people.

So, ok, maybe they needed to codify some rules like you can’t just rape a woman because she’s out walking by herself and you think no one will notice. It doesn’t mean they came up with the best system ever that we should all adhere to forever more. The Middle Ages saw the birth of some radical new ideas like maybe wanting to spend some time alone was not a sign of suicidal madness, and perhaps two people ought to sort of like each other when they get married, or at least maybe their families need for an alliance doesn’t totally trump their own feelings all the time. It is not a period of time I am real anxious for a revival of. Also our understanding of it is massively skewed through the romanticizing eye of the Victorians, who were again, not proponents of a moral system that I stand in high favor of.

It is ok if chivalry dies, it served its purpose and now we can do something better. It’s not like our only choices are chivalry and punching people in the teeth all day.

I’m trying hard to not all caps this reply but BTL there is no such thingas manly or womanly behaviour. Sod off, woman. Any relationship is a partnership of two (or more) (compatible) characters. Manly or womanly doesn’t get into it. Pedestals aren’t absolutely necessary for a relationship to survive, mutual respect and appreciation is. Sod off sod off ynngh!

That went pretty well, right?

Leave a Reply