There has been a great deal of news items, Television Programmes and debate both in the online and physical world about Sexism, Misogyny and how things have or indeed have not changed in the modern world, especially with the influence of the Internet.
Now, I am no philosopher, nor does the Perfect Gentleman deem to be the voice of reason, but what we can do is make a reasoned point of view.
The Gentleman and gentlemanly attitudes are often maligned for being sexist and there is I suppose some truth in that. Many societies previous to our own current time, were dominated by men and male influence. There was an attitude that the male had to provide, defend and conquer, that women were merely adornments, treated as chattel or indeed breeding stock. This is a very broad overview of the situation, and there were many exceptions. Perhaps it suited the time and place of history, I am not one to judge.
The Gentleman was tarred with this brush of sexism stemming from the archetypal Victorian attitudes to women, the period most associated with the Gentleman. But the Gentleman has a 1000 years of history and most of it was about the respect for women, the respect and protection of those less fortunate and certainly the resistance to any form of oppression, which includes that of women.
Indeed the ‘Song of Roland’, written down around 1100, is the basis of the Chivalric code and any code for Gentleman. Not one line of that song mentions women in a lesser context, indeed it says ‘Respect the Honour of Women’, which could be taken to mean their virtue, but I believe it is a call to view women as equals.
I was raised by two exceptionally strong and independent women, my mother and my grandmother, as my father disappeared for a great part of my formative years. Not only did they raise me to be a Gentleman, they raised me to view all as equals, from the colour of your skin; the circumstances of your birth; the wealth in your pocket and most certainly the sex you are. They did not see the these things as different and certainly would not expect me too.
The Internet has done a great deal of good, it has changed the world, but it has also highlighted problems and given them a global stage. We now see the dark side of humanity at the click of a button, but we can choose to be aware of the dark but strive for the light.
As for the Gentleman, the key thing, which was so well highlighted for us in Sian’s Article (here), is that the measure of man is not the clothes worn, but his heart and his actions and interactions with all others. A gentleman is about fairness for all, no matter what, and his words and actions should reflect that.
As we keep saying here at the Perfect Gentleman, the first word of our mission statement is RESPECT. That means respect for all and we live by it everyday and we strive to make the world do the same.