Chivalry, Grace, and Women
gunnora at bga.com
Mon Jul 14 18:35:11 PDT 1997
On the IronRose list, the following interesting set of questions on the
nature of chivalry was posed for consideration. I was curious as to what
kinds of answers Ansteorrans would give to these questions, so with
permission of the original poster, I reproduce this interesting missive:
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 1997 09:38:20 -0500
From: lisal <lisal at ry.com>
Organization: reality interactive
To: ironrose at peak.org
CC: brion at chronique.com
Subject: [IR] On Chivalry
Good Day All,
Since Ironrose has been very quiet recently, I have decided to drop in what
turned out to be a delicious bomb at my husband's vigil. My husband began
his vigil with a round table on chivalry. About 40 people showed up to
discuss what chivalry is to them. They discussed point of honor,
blow acceptance, respect for consorts, treatment of ladies, etc. The only
examples they gave of people who exemplified chivalry were decidedly male.
Lady Elrika (which I didn't spell correctly but for which she will
hopefully forgive me) a fighter who, like me, authorized this winter. Put
forth the bomb... "Is chivalry different for men and women?" she asked. She
then told a story of what had happened when I was setting up the vigiling
pavilion during the afternoon. After I had walked through a whole group of
men, it was she who took the bags out of my hands. I pointed out that this
was not necessary and she stated "No, you are in a
dress. I am in armor. Therefore, I get to take the chivalrous role. When
the garb is reversed then we will reverse the roles."
Well, many people after this stated that chivalry was not different for
ladies. They did, however, stick to either field examples or high-level
theory. No one gave an example of how a lady fighter expressed chivalry off
the field though they could give many examples how a man did. More
importantly, no one pointed to a lady to say "She exemplifies the
So, I dropped a bomb which was met with a few shocked looks but mostly with
silence when I submitted that I believe that chivalry, by its nature, is a
masculine ideal. It's goal is to tame the martial beast. While women can
exemplify it they must take the masculine role to do so.
To judge one's worth for knighthood by the standard of chivalry therefore
excludes feminine women. I submitted that the feminine ideal that mirrors
chivalry is grace. It's goal is to create a place for chivalry to gain hold
and to reward chivalry (prowess being its own reward) Both men and women
should be allowed to hold to either the ideal of chivalry or the ideal of
grace and be judged worthy.
So, my questions for the ladies and men of the Ironrose are these:
1. Is chivalry different for men than for women?
2. Can you give an example of a traditionally female courtesy that
3. Can you point to a female who, in your mind, exemplifies chivalry and
state why using examples both from the field and from off the field?
4. Do you agree/disagree with the statement that grace is the feminine
mirror of the masculine virtue of chivalry? Why or why not?
5. If so, then can you give an example of a traditionally female courtesy
that exemplifies grace?
6. Can you point to a female fighter (and in this case it must be a
fighter) who exemplifies grace and state why using examples both from the
field and from off the field?
7. Do you believe that the SCA values grace equally with chivalry?
8. Would grace be a consideration when evaluating a woman for squireship or
knighthood? Why or why not?
9. Should grace be a consideration when evaluating a woman for squireship
or knighthood? Why or why not?
This should get some interesting dialogue going...don't flame me too hard.
Wæs Þu Hæl (Waes Thu Hael)
Ek eigi visa þik hversu oðlask Lofstirrlauf-Kruna heldr hversu na Hersis-Aðal
(Ek eigi thik hversu odhlask Lofstirrlauf-Kruna heldr hversu na Hersis-Adhal)
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