A Lubbock, Texas, high school has apparently taken a lesson from unwoke history too far, causing public outrage by instructing girls to “obey any reasonable request” by male classmates to learn about medieval “rules for chivalry.”
The ‘Rules of Chivalry Day’ assignment at Shallowater High School has been cancelled after a review determined that, despite its historical context, “it does not reflect our district and community values,” superintendent Anita Herbert said in a statement. The matter has been addressed with the offending teacher, who wasn’t identified.
According to copies of the assignment that were posted on social media, the class was expected to demonstrate to the school how chivalry and “courtly love” in medieval times “carries over into the modern day.” Female students were given such tasks as cooking for boys in the class, cleaning up after the males and refraining from initiating conversations with males or showing their intellectual superiority. Girls also were told to walk behind the boys, never criticize them and address males respectfully “with a lowered head and curtsy.”
Here’s a really … interesting … assignment on chivalry from @shallowaterisd. They are requiring the female students to lower their heads and curtsy for men; clean up after men; cook for and bring a drink to the men’s class. This goes on for the entire day … even at home. pic.twitter.com/i81Zr2iAva
— Brandi D. Addison Davis 🗞 (@BrandiDAddison) March 3, 2021
Boys were instructed to address the girls as “Milady,” bow when greeting them and rise when a female enters a room. They also were required to show “courtly courtesy” as they helped the girls and to bring them sweets. As gentlemen, they were to wait for the girls to leave the classroom before they left and to sing or recite poetry to their female classmates.
Male and female students alike were banned from complaining. Boys were required to wear a coat and tie, while girls were told to “dress in a feminine manner to please the men.”
Criticism of the event focused largely on the requirements given to the girls. Journalist Brandi Addison Davis posted the girls’ part of the assignment Wednesday on Twitter, then waited until Thursday evening to post the teacher’s chivalry rules for boys, in response to a confused reader.
The assignment for women was far more demeaning. Not comparable in any way, shape, or form.
— David Isaacson (@davideisaacson) March 5, 2021
Twitter users who saw both sets of rules complained that the girls’ assignment was more “demeaning” and required submissiveness to the boys. One commenter pointed out that the assignment was meant to mimic medieval times and show what was expected from male and female roles – not teach a lesson in equality.
Backlash from parents apparently showed school officials that such role-playing isn’t acceptable, regardless of how historically edifying it might be. “This kind of misogynist garbage has no place in a modern school,” one commenter said on the Shallowater Independent School District’s Facebook page.
One observer lamented that some well-meaning aspects of the assignment were lost. “Chivalry is dead,” he said. “Manners are dead. Courtesy is dead. Being bad-tempered, wearing pajamas to the store, getting into people’s faces and belittling strangers on social media are now the norm. Generation Pig.”
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