It’s not just a catchy tune. Psy’s new song, “Gentleman” seems like a simple song about tricks and jokes, but actually comments on today’s society and the ways we portray women and chivalry.
What exactly is chivalry? According to dictionary.com, chivalry is “the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms.” While dexterity in arms isn’t exactly needed anymore, the concept of chivalry is still around today.
Chivalry is essentially politeness towards other people, which every person should aspire towards. Recently, however, chivalry has either been called “dead” or “asleep.”
Is chivalry really dead though? Songs such as “Gentleman” make me believe that it is. The obvious lack of respect towards women portrayed in the song, while meant to be humorous, actually serves the opposite purpose.
Actions throughout the song show a lack of chivalry, which harms the social growth of society as a whole. Technology and other advances cannot bring society forward without social aspects– forming a sort of triangle that can only succeed through mutual support.
Today, though, chivalry is still very much alive and kicking, albeit politely. Men still show respect towards women, but don’t uphold all of the chivalrous values, such as valor and honor, as our society no longer demands these. Duels and other such activities no longer occur– tournaments for honor exist no more.
Women are no longer the little weak creatures that have to hang onto men and be “defended.” Welcome to the 21st century.
So, what’s the difference? Where’s the distinction made?
Holding the door for someone else, giving up a seat, pulling a chair back and even helping a person with their jacket are all examples of modern chivalry.
While these may seem like petty actions, being chivalrous can have quite an effect on societal interactions. Appreciating an action done by another shows respect, not weakness.
This modern stereotype is actually the complete opposite of what chivalry should be– honorable. Society itself is what has caused the “death” of chivalry.
Society killed chivalry for humor, an inadequate and impractical trade. Would a video of Psy being polite to others garner nearly the same number of views? Of course not. It would, however, not cause the same amount of controversy.
No blame should be assigned then, except on the stereotypes held by our current society. The same stereotypes shown in Psy’s new video, which has become one of the most popular videos on Youtube in the past few days.
Psy’s activities, including pulling chairs out from under people and speeding up their treadmills, show that without respect and chivalry, society devolves to its most basic form. Chivalry, however, serves as the catalyst in the reaction that leads to evolving society. Technology covers the actual evolution, but the social aspects of society only change with chivalry and values.
So, don’t blame people for the death of chivalry– blame our society as a whole. Everything rests on us, including the responsibility and the means of repair.