Chivalry, do we still want it?

With gender roles continually under review and an increase in the career driven woman it is open to question whether women are still looking for traditional dating practices. Chivalry derives from the system of behaviours followed by knights in the medieval period of history, with a focus on honour, courage and kindness by men towards women. In modern times these acts are often portrayed through the opening of doors, the giving up of seats and the pulling out of chairs. It has long been suggested that chivalrous behaviour is the pinnacle conduct women seek in relationships, with women often citing their preference for finding a true gentleman or their knight in shining armour.

However, it is quite often the case that women in this day in age are far more independent and this does put into question if chivalry still has a place in present day dating. This follows from the process of feminisation in the workplace which has occurred since the 20th Century and the profound impact this has had on society. The consequence of this has been an alteration in the mind-set of some women regarding their standing in romantic relationships. It has been suggested that this spur in women’s independence generally and in the workplace has modified their views towards dating. This is because there is a focus on self-sufficiency and often women do not want their independence shaken.

Nonetheless, research has shown that overall, gender stereotypic dates where men displayed chivalrous behaviour, were evaluated more positively. This is consistent with previous literature suggesting that dating behaviours remain gendered. This is again highlighted by the fact that men in counter-stereotypic dating scenarios were evaluated negatively but a man who demonstrated traditional dating behaviours was rated as more competent, warm, and appropriate. Therefore despite a continual shift in gender roles it seems as though for most women there is still an emphasis of looking for traditional dating practices. They are still seeking a man who will adopt the traditional approach to dating and someone who can look after them regardless of their own independence.

In conclusion, research has revealed that despite a change in societal views on traditional gender roles in areas such as careers, there has not been much alteration in these views in relation to dating. Women are still looking for the sincere displays of genuine romantic interest that chivalrous behaviours encompass and despite popular opinion women do in fact still want their knight in shining armour. Therefore women can still be independent in many aspects but they are still looking for a true gentleman to tackle life alongside them.


McCarty, M. K., & Kelly, J. R. (2015). Perceptions of dating behavior: The role of ambivalent sexism. Sex Roles72(5-6), 237-251.

Paynter, A., & Leaper, C. (2016). Heterosexual Dating Double Standards in Undergraduate Women and Men. Sex Roles, 1-14.