Opinion

Wake Forest, What Ever Happened to Chivalry?

Image result for men holding doors open

The treatment of female students in extracurricular and social events is one of the most glaring problems at Wake Forest.

As someone who has been in plenty of all-male conversations behind closed doors, I can report firsthand that there is a disregard for the dignity of women on our campus. Our campus, like all others, has a sometimes-awkward hook-up culture. While we often think highly of Wake Forest students, it would be disingenuous to think that all male students here are gentlemen—because they simply are not all. Indeed, we should do away with the illusion that our community’s culture is markedly different. Like all other campuses and pop culture at-large, objectification and commodification of women is virulent on campus.

There are a few easy ways that Wake Forest students can improve the moral state of the campus. Men need to stop the group-think. Forcing yourself onto drunken vulnerable women is not commendable, in fact it is disgusting and cowardly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the institutional and social promotion of Greek life, inasmuch as the chapters on campus make strides towards respecting the female guests at their events. In fact, when executed property, fraternity and sorority life instills fulfillment and virtue in its members that is difficult to find elsewhere. Yet, there is an often an objectification of women often in Greek life. Having women in attendance at social events raises their social status, again commodifying the presence of female Wake Foresters.

There are non-productive approaches to improving the morality of campus as well. Recently, the #MeToo movement has been devolving into one of these problematic “solutions” . While on the national and local level, the #MeToo movement held many truly evil men in positions of power accountable for sick actions taken on vulnerable women. At its worst, like it was by including the Aziz Ansari incident, it morphed into a proverbial Jacobin storming of the Bastille, where nameless, faceless tribunals of outraged social justice crusaders morally crucify complicated sexual misunderstandings. While victims of sexual assault ought to be believed, rigorous analysis of the facts must occur, and the tricky reality is that miscommunication happens in sexual encounters frequently. The interpretation of events is rarely the same for everyone, and in an altered state of consciousness, like drunkenness, ‘nonverbal cues’ like those cited by Mr. Ansari’s date can often be completely ignored.

While it sounds morally puritan, the sexual liberation and hyper-sexualizing of modern culture lends itself to terrible events like the one described. While feminists have every right to claim their sexuality, they must realize that women may be unhappy with a sexually promiscuous lifestyle and can be vulnerable and easily preyed on by people without a moral constitution. While the goal should always be to empower women, the stunted morals of our culture reflect that America is not prepared to handle reclamation maturely.

The ugly reality that a Women’s and Gender Studies class will keep mum about is that chivalry is gone from our culture at the behest of many feminists, even though, chivalry is indeed a virtue. Chivalry is not a recognition of a nonsensical inferiority of women, despite what second and third wave feminists may believe. Instead, it is the practice of any man of high character, supporting women in achieving their goals and treating women with respect. While the current cultural climate often vilifies men, especially those in positions of considerable authority, what our culture ignores is that a gentleman can be the solution to so many of our campus’ and by extension our society’s problems.

A return to a sexual moral code where men respect the answer no, do not regularly engage in hook-ups and do not expect immediate sexual gratification from women would be a large step in improving the morality of our culture.

Frankly, this issue has cultural, rather than political implications. A return to a sexual moral code where men respect the answer no, do not regularly engage in hook-ups and do not expect immediate sexual gratification from women would be a large step in improving the morality of our culture. Wake Forest men are better than this behavior and Wake Forest women deserve better than the objectification that comes with hook-up culture. Let us all do right by our school, and each other.

3 Comments

  1. Cooper Johnson '12

    terrible article!

    -Cooper Johnson ’12

  2. Kory Riemensperger

    Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but does the author consider Aziz Ansari’s actions chivalrous? He digresses from his original subject (Wake Forest males) to highlight a recent national controversy – and that’s fine – but if Ansari’s actions don’t fit a “sexual moral code where men … do not regularly engage in hook-ups and do not expect immediate sexual gratification from women,” (and it seems like they do not) then what are we to take away from this digression? Somehow, in a piece where Wake Forest males are to be condemned for their loose morality (see title), “feminists” and “faceless tribunals of outraged social justice crusaders” are instead at fault? It feels a bit out of place.

    Why does the author defend the actions of a male who breaks this code of chivalry while at the same time he decries those at Wake Forest for similar actions?

  3. I will be writing a response article for the OGB

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