Women of Chivalry-Now
(Lynne's grand-daughter), dreaming of knighthood.
number of women participate in the fellowship of Chivalry-Now.
To the casual observer, this might seen
odd. After all, Chivalry-Now considers itself a decidedly
male code of ethics rooted in the warrior traditions of the West,
almost exclusively associated with men.
That being the case, one might reasonable
ask how women fit into the Chivalry-Now fellowship. What
part do they play? Do their contributions run contrary to the whole
idea of male ownership?
Not at all.
As a true ethic for men, Chivalry-Now
would be incomplete without promoting friendships and healthy partnerships
with women. There is nothing separationist about Chivalry-Now.
If anything, its goal is to shape men to be better partners of women
by respecting gender differences and fulfilling cultural obligations.
Male issues are not isolated from female
issues. They are both expressions of human issues from particular
perspectives where men and women naturally coexist.
Harmonious gender relationships best occur
when both sexes find personal authenticity and fulfillment while
interacting among themselves and with one another. Differences should
be respectful and complimentary. For this to happen in a free environment,
they need to be flexibly defined, based more on individually expressed
ideals rather than set, oppressive rules. Men need to know what
it is means to be a man, what is expected of them personally, socially
and in partnership with women. The rogue male, unrefined, lacking
self-discipline, using women as commodities, should be a cultural
aberration, and not reflective of the majority. The human values
that both genders seek comes from having purpose and meaning, and
The Chivalry-Now code, as articulated
by the 12 Trusts,
provides a valid, cultural blueprint for western male behavior.
In this respect, it includes relationships with women as part of
its concern. It does not attempt to define female values or ethics.
That would be the responsibility of women. Their ideals should no
more be dictated by men than male ideals should be dictated by women.
That gender roles interrelate and influence
each other is certainly part of nature's dynamic. Definitions of
each gender, while aiming to be complete in themselves, gain uniqueness,
clarity and form in comparison to each other. In this way, respect
for differences is maintained while contributing to healthy partnerships.
This symbiosis has its foundation in human
nature which is then propagated culturally. When feminism's goal
includes what is best for both men and women, it strongly contributes
to this process. By promoting a harmony of differences from the
male perspective, Chivalry-Now does its part to accomplish
the same. Indeed, Chivalry-Now has aptly been described as
the male counterpoint to feminism. By pulling our own weight, we
provide something that feminism lacked male involvement.
In other words, the cultural healing of men, simultaneous with the
healing of women that feminism fostered.
The reasons that women get involved with
Chivalry-Now are individual and therefore legion.
Perhaps they like relating to men who are
open and courteous and view women as complete human beings. Perhaps
they enjoy the philosophical meeting of minds within the structure
of our fellowship. While chivalry is a cultural expression of male
values, its principles lean to universality that is open to everyone.
Like the rest of us, perhaps they recognize
the importance of Chivalry-Now in repairing our broken culture.
They help us accomplish that task by enriching the perspectives
of men by sharing their own unique perspectives in discussion. Our
gender-related visions of the world function best when the two are
functionally compatible. After all, we live in a world where women
compose roughly half the population. Positive relationships play
a vital part in determining who we are as men.
The involvement of women in Chivalry-Now
should not be viewed as extraordinary. This was true in medieval
times as well. Arthurian literature, which strongly shaped chivalry's
formation, illustrated the importance of this symbiosis.
Over and over the stories describe the
appearance of "damsels" or ladies who provide challenges,
guidelines and revealing critiques of knights on their quests. Often
these figures are representatives of earlier female deities who
impart wisdom or exemplify nature.
Their portrayal of female personalities
covered a wide variety of archetypes, from virginal purity, to heroic
stature, to adulterous wives and evil witches. Some test the knight's
qualities through merciless provocation, while others heal his wounds
and offer comfort. Some inspire him to great deeds, while others
tempt him toward dishonor. In one, the popular figure of Arthur's
nephew, Sir Gawain, was declared Knight of the Goddess.
The fact is plain. Chivalry recognizes
that women play a legitimate part in defining who we are as men.
The women who join our fellowship are greatly
valued for their unique perspectives, insights, moral support
and, most of all, for their friendship. They understand how nature
has interwoven our mutual destinies. Chivalry-Now would be
less than what it is without them.
For one thing, the power of women carries
us back to what is important. Family. Home. Mutual cooperation.
The proper nurturing of children that requires a male presence.
They reconnect us to the earth and teach us the full meaning of
Their power is such that weaker men despise
their gentle ways and abuse them all from insecurity. We
forget the bonds that unite us as partners, and how incomplete we
are when separate.
Our relationships with women provide a
unique mirror through which we better see and judge who we are as
men. They are capable of challenging our smug, know-it-all attitudes
as no one else can. We see this in their eyes, in their expectations,
and their own tireless dedication.
Their instincts and intuition, their empathy,
their willingness to sacrifice, their sheer tenacity for maintaining
and protecting families make them essential to the survival of the
human race. Their intelligence, problem-solving skills, and aesthetic
qualities made civilization possible. As friends, mothers, sisters,
wives and daughters, they inspire men toward courtesy, gentleness,
We owe them a lot, and have historically
repaid them with mistreatment, discrimination, insults, and sexual
degradation. This remains a blot on the integrity of manhood, and
needs to be corrected. We don't accomplish this through miserly
measuring out our courtesies and friendships according to perceived
gain. That would reflect the soulless tactics of the marketplace,
valuing every smile according to personal gain.
We must be generous in our respect and
admiration. Not "fools" or "players," who shamefully
use or are used by others, but men of good will, open minds and
Only then do we augment authenticity with
true, manly refinement.
So, there are many reasons for the men
of Chivalry-Now to welcome and value the women of Chivalry-Now.
There are also many reasons for women wanting
to participate. Perhaps the simples reason is that women are searching
for something also, and have trouble finding it elsewhere. Whatever
their reasons, we are grateful for their growing presence.