This post is in response to Jojo’s article “Submission” at Simple Southern Spirit.
Chivalry is the framework within which women submitting to men takes place. Chivalry establishes the gender dynamic between a man and a woman. Chivalry “activates” the man as a man and the woman as a woman. If a male and female are in interaction with each other and no Chivalry is present then the male and female are just two human beings interacting with no gender dynamic taking place between them and therefore no hierarchy relationship being expected between them; neither the man serving the woman nor the woman obeying the man. Without Chivalry the man and woman are peers other things being equal; with Chivalry the man is dominant regarding authority and the woman is dominant regarding interests, this being the standard gender hierarchy situation.
Chivalry is the organizing principle of the relationship between the man and the woman. The man and woman being in a relationship with each other means the man and woman are cooperating with each other towards a common goal; they have a shared purpose, the shared purpose being the foundation of the interaction and relationship with each other. Again if there is no shared purpose between the man and woman there is no relationship between the man and woman going on and therefore no gender hierarchy or Chivalry going on. The shared purpose between the man and woman is necessarily designed to be primarily in service to the woman’s needs and the woman’s goals as the woman’s interests are superior to the man’s interests in the standard gender hierarchy formulation. At the same time the man is defining and determining what the woman’s needs are and what the woman’s goals should be; this being the dominant male authority part of the gender hierarchy formulation.
The woman then obeys the man for the purpose of enabling the man to promote the shared goal of the man and woman together; this shared goal being defined by the man in service to the woman. The ultimate beneficiary of the relationship between the man and the woman is the third party the woman is serving; usually but not necessarily the woman’s children. The man is in service to the woman and the woman is in service to a third party (usually children). The man serves the woman for the purpose of enabling the woman to serve the third party that is the ultimate beneficiary and higher purpose of the man / woman couple. Also in addition the man should see himself as obeying God and serving God regarding the goals he sets for himself and his relationships with women. Likewise the woman should also see herself as obeying God and serving God regarding her goals and her relationships with men.
So the woman obeying the man in a Chivalry based gender hierarchy situation should always be framed as the woman helping the man to help her; women’s obedience then being supported by rational self-interest. Women’s disobedience is then sabotaging the man’s efforts to serve the woman and is self-defeating and self-destructive. There is something wrong going on if the man is serving himself at the expense of the woman in his exercise of authority. Such a situation constitutes abuse of the woman and violates the legitimacy of the man’s claim to authority. Such behavior by the man makes the man morally inferior; the morally inferior man no longer having the right to claim dominant authority status over the woman. The absence of Chivalry on the man’s part also establishes the man as morally inferior and therefore without a right to claim authority over the woman.
As far as the woman giving feedback to the man and adding her input regarding what she wants; that is all fine and good as long as the woman is respecting the man’s authority while she is “advising” the man. In other words the woman should not be thinking that the man is obligated to do what she wants because she told the man what she wants, the woman should instead see her advice or expressed desires as giving information to the man better enabling the man to make good decisions on her behalf or on behalf of the family overall or on behalf of whatever shared purpose is the foundation of the particular relationship between the man and the woman.
Also the woman making the specific routine day to day decisions regarding say the upbringing or disciplining of the children makes perfect sense but theoretically whatever independent authority the woman is exercising should not be an independent assertion on the woman’s part but instead should be an authority delegated to her by the man. One might argue that if the man is not delegating authority to the woman necessary for the woman to perform her functions in the feminine role then the man is exercising his authority incompetently and perhaps is morally inferior in his authority role due to incompetence. Under ordinary circumstances however the woman’s independent authority is derivative of what the man delegates to her rather than something the woman independently asserts. The man having the right to delegate authority to the woman and the man also having the right to withdraw authority from the woman if the man thinks the woman is using her authority poorly or that the woman’s sphere of authority is starting to invade the man’s territory and undermining the man’s ability to function in his masculine role as a man.
Women’s independent authority should be kept to a minimum; instead authority is delegated to the woman by the man the woman is directly in a relationship with or alternately by the male community that can override the decisions of the individual man if the man is acting incompetently or abusively.