Thursday, May 22, 2008

Disrespect is the New Chivalry

- Alana Germany

When I began work on my story, “Disrespect is the New Chivalry” the “new” approach to courtship was really starting to bother me. I would be walking down the street or through the BART train station and “Hey lil’ mama!"'s would come out of nowhere. One time, when I was walking home by myself, two young guys ended up walking a couple blocks behind me. The entire time they were behind me they shouted, “Yiiiiiiiiiiii Yiiiiiiiiiii,” trying to get my attention. Even though I knew “Yii” was signature slang in my hometown of Richmond, California, I’d never hear it used as a mating call. I mean, when did the standard “Excuse me Miss” become “Ay bay-bay” or “Hey, sexy,” and now “Yii”?

Writing this story inspired me to talk to my mother and a few other elders in my community. Hearing about how boys used to approach dating, I felt even more annoyed with my male peers. My mom told me stories about how her date would have to come inside the house and meet the entire family. When addressing the parents, it was all “yes ma’am, yes sir.” If the parents didn’t approve of the boy, my mom wouldn’t go out with him. It may still be like that in some towns, but that isn’t the case here in the Bay Area. Now anything goes.

Our generation needs to raise its standards. But that won’t happen unless we are taught to. I was taught to maintain high standards, but my mother is over 50 and she raised me based on the standards of her time. For the young mothers having babies at 15 and 16, this is their time. If this culture of disrespect is all they know, they won’t teach their children any different, and they cycle will continue. Writing this piece was my way of calling out for help, and trying to end the destructive pattern so many teens have become accustomed to.



Anonymous said...

I hate to sound like an old man, but I agree with you, young people these days have no respect for each other. I'm not sure what it is that is causing it, but we need to lean to respect each other, not treat each other like trash.

Ya Boi said...

I love this!

skylar bryant said...

i think shes totally right.
the amount of disrespect in my generations society is ridiculous.
sometimes i think im the only gentalmen left

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Victor said...

I enjoyed listening to the report on a lack of chivalry in this country. I agree with the teacher that parents need to teach their sons and daughters about chivalry. I show chivalry by opening the car door for my fiancé when she gets in the car and when she steps out.

San Antonio, Tx.

Anonymous said...

...chivalry is dead because it doesn't work. Every "nice" guy I know can't buy a date, but all my male friends that treat women as disposable objects have all the date nights they want....there are innumerable rewards and commendations for acting like a cocky a$#, and very few for really treating a woman with respect.

Dayn said...

Chivalry is based on an assumption that a woman needs a man to do things for her. He needs to open her door, he needs to push in her chair, he needs to paythe check. It isn't necessary anymore because it became too much like the woman was not allowed to do these things. The old idea of chivalry was almost as disrespectful as yelling "Can I holla atcha!"

-Dayn S.

Catheryn said...

I commend Ms. Germany for her well written essay. As a middle school teacher, I see disrespect amongst my students with regard to teachers and each other on a daily basis. But can I really be upset with them when I hear adults in public area converse with expletives between each phrase for everyone to hear?


Juan said...

The report does not cover the point of view from men who grew up with bad experiences after approaching women. I don't think young women realize the impact they have on young men when they get asked for simple things like the "time" or "directions" and express nothing more than a cold-stare...I will continue to open the door for women even if they don't thank me; but if women expect men to be "gentlemen" we also expect women to be "ladies."

Chula Vista, CA

Anonymous said...

For me, Chivalry is not about opening doors. It is the words you use and your actions that speak for themselves. It is your behavior, understanding, listening. Opening the door is nice..I'll open the door for you too next time. Young men need to learn that opening the door isn't all there is to it (nor would I want it to be the only form respect). Also, when a man is nice to you, he shouldn't expect any sexual favors just because he was "nice." That's disrespect. No one owes you anything for be nice except a thank you.