A school district in Texas’s attempt to teach its students manners and about chivalric culture ended up becoming a lesson in the pervasiveness of sexism, as an assignment was canceled after parents and students complained that it was promoting outdated and harmful gender stereotypes.
In an extremely misguided attempt to teach chivalry, female high school students in the Shallowater Independent School District (SISD) in the Lubbock area of Texas were assigned 11 tasks (called “the Rules of Chivalry”) that they would need to perform on “Chivalry Day.” Most of the “Rules for Chivalry” involved girls having to go out of their way to accommodate their male classmates, including being required to “dress in a feminine manner to please the men” and “obey any reasonable request of a male.”
And these “rules” did not just end during the school day, as fathers and “other adult males” could “insist on following the rules into the evening” and if a girl did not comply, they could be reported. And the only way a female student could get credit for an entire day of acting like a pre-suffrage housewife was by getting a bunch of guys to verify that she did, in fact, follow the rules.
“All ladies deemed worthy of the honor by the gentlemen will receive 10 points for every signature at the end of the day,” the Rules of Chivalry explained.
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
The absurd list of rules was posted on Twitter, where it quickly received hundreds of replies from people who were outraged that students were subjected to these rules that encourage women to be submissive and find their value from the men in their life. The user who shared the list also shared a list of rules for the boys but those rules also managed to take gender roles back a few decades.
There weren’t much in the way of reports of what men had to do — maybe they had to follow arcane combat rules? Would they have to “keep the faith” or “respect the honor of women” or “never refuse a challenge from an equal?” Unfortunately, we’ll never know, but that’s because the lesson was pulled.
Thankfully, the story has a happy ending as the Rules of Chivalry were hastily dismissed due to the growing criticism and hopefully, they are left in the past where they belong.