Chivalry: A Gynocentric Tradition. By Peter Wright and Paul Elam. San Bernardino, California: Academic Century Press, February 2019. 95 pages. No price information on book; Amazon gives price as $10.20. Review by J. Steven Svoboda.
Well-known men’s advocates Peter Wright and Paul Elam have teamed together to produce a slight book dealing with an ever so important topic, chivalry. There is a fascinating story about how feminism manages to retain any doctrines no matter how inconsistent with its tenets as long as they benefit women, and at the same time discards all ideas that do not benefit females no matter how fair and truly gender equitable they may be.
Chivalry essentially yoked together two extremely discrete concepts, the knight’s relationship with his king, and that same knight’s relationship with his lady love. “[T]he military code of chivalry was mated with the fancies of courtly love to produce a bastard child which we will here call chivalric love.“ Perhaps more to the point, “Rather than for man, king and country it is his love for ‘her’ that now drives a man’s military sacrifice.”
Twelfth century society brought about this revolutionary change in what should seem a familiar way. “The medieval aristocracy began to ramp up the practice of shaming by choosing the worst behaviours of the most unruly males and extrapolating those behaviours to the entire gender. Sound familiar?” The remedy for men’s flaws, forged by a French Countess named Marie and countless other creators and promoters of chivalry, was “to prescribe romantic love and concomitant worship of females as the remedy.”
It is fascinating to read the historical extracts about the birth and growth of chivalry. Probably most amazing is the incredibly prophetic 1913 (!) writings of socialist (!) and British barrister Ernest Belfort Bax. More than century ago, in words sounding as current as yesterday’s latest feminist screed, Bax wrote, “In the so-called ages of chivalry themselves it never meant, as it does today, the woman right or wrong…. Chivalry today means the woman, right or wrong, just as patriotism today means ‘my country right or wrong.’” The one downside of this book in my view is that it is clearly and admittedly a cobbled together collection of (excellent) blog posts. Does female chivalry exist? It may be rare but the authors delve into this occasionally encountered phenomenon.
The authors point out how chivalry leads to the government as substitute husband and the inevitable phenomenon of “the real discrimination against women” being “free feeding” as with animals at zoos that does not empower women to stand on their own two feet. I appreciate Wright’s and Elam’s apt comment comparing Republicans and Democrats: “The only difference between the two sides of politics is that the Left is more sycophantic in its deliverance of chivalric rule—and the Right more heroic in its deliverance of chivalry. Same gynocentrism, different knight.”
The result of all this has been creation “of a one-sided power for females over males, and through the dissemination [nice word choice by the way!] of romance literature that promise rapidly spread to all social classes in the continent. We have been living with the consequences ever since, a revolution far more significant to the history [of] gender relations than the introduction of the birth control pill and no-fault divorce combined….”
A small but indispensable book plugging a critical hole in the story of relationships between men and women, today and in past centuries. Recommended.