Chivalry. Gallantry. Heroism. Words that evoke selflessness and a certain type of moral code, such as “women and children first” or “the captain must go down with the ship.” According to a study performed by two Swedish economists using the records of eighteen different shipping disasters, however, more often than not the slogan in the midst of crisis amounts to “every man for himself.” The study was a test of humankind’s magnanimity in times of duress, and apparently, we flunked. Yet at the same time, we see examples like those of Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn, and Alex Teves, all of whom died shielding their girlfriends at the Aurora shooting.
What are the expectations when it comes to protecting loved ones in times of stress? Does gender make a difference? How does media coverage affect society's understanding of chivalry?
Hugo Schwyzer, professor of History and Gender Studies at Pasadena City College, columnist for Jezebel
Shira Tarrant, associate professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at California State University, Long Beach; author of several books on masculinity and the upcoming "Fashion Talks"