Is chivalry dead?

Rachel Smith, from North Lismore, gets a helping hand with groceries from taxi driver Anton Van Leuven and friend David Wilson.
Rachel Smith, from North Lismore, gets a helping hand with groceries from taxi driver Anton Van Leuven and friend David Wilson. Cathy Adams

IT SEEMS the only place you’ll find male chivalry is at a taxi rank, where drivers like Anton Van Leuven help women like Rachel Smith load their groceries into the boot.

In fact, talk to most women and they’ll agree that chivalry is dead. Gone just like the generation of people who preceded us.

Queensland University of Technology experts in human behaviour have proved that chivalry actually died a long time ago, during last century’s world wars that caused so much terror on the high seas.

Professor Benn Torgler and his research team compared the sinking of the Titanic, which took more than two hours to drop beneath the waves, and the Lusitania which took only 18 minutes, and found chivalry – or the male species desire to put women and children’s needs ahead of their own – takes place only in certain circumstances.

When it comes to the crunch, they found, male chivalry was sacrificed for personal survival. The survivors of the Lusitania proved that, whereas those on the Titanic tended to be more women and children.

On the streets of Lismore most people were of the opinion that chivalry died with the Titanic, and today’s ‘me’ generation dominated human behaviour.

“It’s a part of the 21st Century,” said Ms Smith of Lismore. “It’s all me, I, and who gives a stuff about anyone else.”

Lismore’s George Stuart disagreed, however, saying chivalry was not ‘gender based’.

“It’s about being polite and that’s what the world needs more of,” he said.

Billin Cliffs resident Emma Wolfe said she chose to live in a close-knit community because that’s where chivalry does exist.

“It’s dead most of the time elsewhere,” she said. “It seems like people are individually minded rather than community minded. But some people know how to be kind. In my community, however, I can still call on my male neighbour to help me out. It’s about community spirit.”

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