Monday, October 24, 2011

"We've lost the art of chivalry," says Downton Abbey Actress

It was an era in which females had few rights and an advantageous marriage was the only measure of success.

But women in the Downton Abbey days had it better in one respect: they lived in an age of chivalry, according to Michelle Dockery, the actress who plays Lady Mary.

Dockery said that 21st century equality of the sexes had led to the demise of old-fashioned manners. She suggested that modern men should watch the period drama and pick up tips on how to treat a lady.

“We take so many of our freedoms for granted nowadays - I can travel where I like, I can have a baby when I like, I can do any job I want - but I do think chivalry has been lost a little bit,” said Dockery, 29, when asked to consider how the role of women had changed since the Edwardian era.

“Those old manners - such as men standing when women arrive at the dinner table or opening doors for you - are lovely, and it’s lovely when you see a man doing that. But young men wouldn’t think about that for a second because it’s not the culture any more.”
Read the rest here.

On a side note I strongly recommend the series for those who like period drama. It's on the same level quality wise as Mad Men, though the period and plot lines are dramatically different.


The Anti-Gnostic said...

Men were held to a duty of chivalry and manners precisely because women had fewer privileges and their marriageability, i.e., their virtue, was regarded as their most important asset.

In an age of serial promiscuity and equal rights, including rights to opportunities for paying work that used to be the sole province of men, there is really no justification for heightened manners or chivalry towards women.

The Anti-Gnostic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen said...

No, I must disagree. Those of us who try to maintain these standards have a higher likelihood of having both our gene pool and our values continue into subsequent generations. Those who chose not too have a lower probability. Too bad for them, but don't ask me to shed a tear because of their indulgence. The problem is when they want me to pay for their bad decisions; to survive, I will deny, and they will pay that piper as they should. What I have is a pearl of great price - is not such a pearl that to which our Lord referred?

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Grandmothers and mothers will love you, and your female peers will consider you a dear friend--the shoulder they cry on after being pumped and dumped by the latest badboy. If you're lucky, after a decade or so of paying for a lot of meals and being an all-around doormat for women who secretly hold you in contempt, you'll be the beta tubby-hubby who pays for in vitro after your ex-tramp wife settles for you once her sexual market value/fertility has declined. And then odds are you'll be cuckolded.

If young women and their families want young men to be chivalrous, then they need to ditch the equality crap.

Chris Jones said...

I'm afraid that the Anti-Gnostic is right: women decided that they wanted to be treated as equals; now they daren't complain that they are, in fact, treated as equals. You can't have all the purported advantages of equality and still expect to be venerated.

On a side note, while everyone seems to like Downton Abbey, after watching the first four episodes several months ago, I am afraid that I did not care for it at all. For all its 'period' production values, the sensibilities of the story and especially the characterisations are totally post-modern. The producers want the atmospherics of the period, but they are unwilling to let the period speak for itself.

Odysseus said...

Anti-agnostic is right. Women don't like it. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

BS. The article ignores the plight of most women (the poor/working class) to focus on the middle/upper class. Hence such a skewed image.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Stephen - I'm being hyperbolic (somewhat). Courtesy is a great virtue but I treat women with deference in the same way I treat children and old people with deference. The heightened code of chivalry is an anachronism so long as women are going to claim equality with men in all spheres. No middle or working class man can compete with the welfare State for the provision of female economic security. The end result is a majority of women having sex with a minority of men. This is an awful situation and we will receive our due.

As the Great Correction grinds on, things may change and God willing chivalry again finds its currency.

Visibilium said...

Chivalry's quaintness is best viewed from afar. The quaintness decreases when one is forced to live in the kind of oppressive caste society in which chivalry took root and flourished. One has plenty of time to fashion elaborate displays of courtesy when the serfs are producing the goods. Come to think of it, oppressive societies can have their own kind of charm. I don't have to wait long until some history buff (or misty-eyed cleric) tries to sell me on the superiority of the Middle Ages over our modern madness. We're witnessing the current evolution of contractual relationships' supplanting the old ties forged by blood and conquest.

The evolution is proceeding along interesting paths. Two-year or otherwise temporally finite marriage contracts? Domestic partnership agreements? Intriguing ideas for a statecraft that's divorced from a theological element.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Vis - I don't think that the secular state has enough left in it to forge those kind of ersatz traditions.

Visibilium said...

A-G, you may be underestimating American orneriness when confronted with circumstances that degrade the ability to choose one's lifestyle, including particular relationships with others. Even ragtag hippies, like Occupy Wall Street protesters, are complaining solely about the prospect of lifestyle degradation from declining affluence. It wouldn't take much for me to imagine a certain Congressman's impulse to take up arms against any Administration's attempt to limit his freedom to bugger his consenting fellows. Feistiness is an innate American trait.

On the other hand, what would support your thesis would be government encroachment that continued along the trajectory initiated by the Obama State such that feistiness gets beaten into submission and fatalism by an all-loving bureaucratic sponge.

Juanita's Journal said...

I'm a woman. As much as I find rude people annoying, I would rather have the "age of chivalry" gone than lose any equality that women have gained over the decades.

Screw that "age of chivalry is gone" crap. I'm tired of people regarding the past as if it was something wonderful. It wasn't. It was crap, just as the present is crap and just as the future will be crap. I wish people would open their eyes and realize this.

And since when do women have to choose between receiving good manners and equality? What is this nonsense that we have to choose one or the other? What utter crap!