This article was originally published in a blog post on AVFM forums by Deidre. It is republished here with her permission. EDs
By definition, a white knight is a male that treats women as goddesses and does nothing but defend them and shower them in compliments on how wonderful, beautiful and special they are. It can be used as a noun or a verb.
That is the online definition of a white knight, and I’d say it’s pretty spot on, from my point of view. As the image above displays, white knights also send a mixed message, however — do they support feminism and equality for women, or do they feel that women are damsels in distress in need of their rescue from the oppressive patriarchy? Hmmm. Having been on the receiving end of white knights at times, I can tell you, it’s always made me feel bad for the white knight himself, because somewhere along the way in his feminist indoctrination, he learned that the way to gain favor with or attention from women, is to pacify them, walk on eggshells for them, and always agree with them. That is the essence of white knighting.
White knights really don’t expect gratitude, they just sort of lurk in the background of life, waiting to step in and save a woman from usually an alpha male. Not that white knights can never be alpha males, but they usually are not. Not that they’re beta males. Ugh, I don’t like labels, but for the sake of this discussion, white knighting is a label that I think needs to be examined, as it’s both damaging to men and women, because it is a way of interacting with women, that has been manufactured by feminism. Or at the very least, it could be an innocent byproduct of the movement.
Before we look at the phrase ‘’white knighting,’’ we should first explore the term ‘’chivalry,’’ and its origins. Chivalry by definition can be explained as a set of virtues that men would behold during Medival times, whereby they’d show piety, courage, and great military fortitude. It was also a term used for men who went out of their way to look after women in their presence. The women, however, were forever in their debt, filled with gratitude, and this dance between the men and women soon became part of the rules of courtship between them. Unlike today, men and women have a myriad of ineffective ways to communicate their attraction for one another, sometimes virtuous, and other times, not so much.
But, chivalry. I think what is lacking today between men and women, isn’t that men aren’t willing to be chivalrous to women, but rather women are simply not grateful when a man steps up to defend their honor. Feminism has created this wedge between men and women, muddying the waters, where women feel confused ‘’should I need this man’s help at all?’’ And the men hesitant to help out wondering ‘’should I go out of my way if I’ll end up yelled at for not treating her like an equal?’’ Maybe those exact thoughts don’t run through their minds, but some such variation, I’m sure.
I think it has to do with role models. My dad is always helping my mom do something around the house. Something that she probably could do, if she tried, but something he likes to help her do because it showed his care for her. Perhaps the task was a ‘manly duty, and my dad is the type that enjoys flexing his muscles, metaphorically and literally, and helping my mom in such ways, always brought them closer. Likewise, my mom drips with femininity, and she believes in ‘’making your man, feel like a man.’’ Men and women have this thing…this invisible thread…that kind of binds them together…and the courting game makes the thread thicker…harder to pull apart if both parties are doin’ it right.
If you’re doing it wrong, however, like feminists do, then you’d likely yank the invisible thread, and don’t let a man get too close. The uptight, pretentious feminists are the ones who don’t get that the dating game is largely based on biology. Simple biology. Boy meets girl. Boy tries to impress a girl. The girl is impressed, and she lets the boy know, that she is impressed. The boy asks the girl out. The girl says yes, and they all lived happily ever after. (Well, not always) But, the paradigm is simple without feminism in the background.
My thought to white knights is they emerged as a reaction to dealing with feminists, in hopes that these hard to please women who don’t really want to steer clear of alpha men but are told that they should, will be hopelessly attracted to them. So many white knights make the mistake of falling all over themselves to gain the attention of women, that they don’t realize how fake they’re coming across. White knighting will never be a substitute for chivalry. It will never be a substitute for masculinity because much of white knighting is wrapped up in a guy losing his identity, so he can gain the attention of a random chick he hopes will find him masculine, and attractive. I’ve seen this the most on forums, where the male/female membership is pretty equal in numbers. SO many men are falling all over themselves to defend women who are being ‘’cyber bullied,’’ etc…instead of letting the women defend themselves. I’ve been a victim of white knighting, yes a victim! Just kidding, I’m not a victim, but it’s painful to watch a guy white knight, when you know he means well, but learned that behavior as a means to getting women to pay attention to him.
This is why I believe with all of my heart, that feminism has bred white knighthood. Most Modern white knights are feminists from what I have observed, always taking the soft approach to speaking with women, always agreeing with them, always giving a high five to feminist ideas and concepts. I feel bad for these men because I can’t help but wonder what their backstories are, as to why they feel the need to kiss women’s asses…even those that they have no hope of ever dating. Sadly, even those who are mean-spirited to them.
What is equally sad, is many women have grown to expect white knighting. Well, I should say, many feminists have come to expect men to white knight them. While it can seem like a discussion that’s rather innocuous and tongue in cheek, the truth is …white knights exist in our governments, legal system, and universities. How do you think all of these rape culture laws get passed? Why are we surprised when a female teacher sleeps with her male underage student and avoids jail time? Wherever you see grave injustices against men, there is no doubt that a white knight in a powerful position is behind it. This is why a woman’s right to chose regardless of a man’s choice to opt out is often supported by seemingly well-intentioned men – white knighting. This is why the wage gap controversy even exists – white knighting. This is why Obama was so supportive of pro-feminist programs – white knighting.
Unfortunately, for the white knights, some of us are smart enough to figure out that it’s all just a big sham of fakeness in order to gain the favor of feminist women. I can spot a white knight a mile away, and sometimes, they aren’t really even trying to help you with anything, but maybe they’re just trying to make conversation. I remember being on line at the grocery store one day, and this guy started talking with me, and we were having a nice enough conversation, just an idle chat, and he then starts self-deprecating all over himself. He starts mocking all men, saying how ‘’stupid we all are,’’ and I just stood there looking at him, smiling an awkward smile because I honestly didn’t understand why he felt the need to put himself and all men down. Was I supposed to laugh, or agree? lol Regardless of why he felt the need to do it, that is a hallmark trait of white knights: self-deprecation. They are always falling all over themselves to make women feel like goddesses, and men feel like shit. I thought to myself, this man at some point in his life, learned this behavior as a means to interacting with women. Feminism wants men to feel bad about themselves so that they agree with everything feminists say and want. ‘’Yes-men” are really the white knights that feminism has created for women who have been taught to not respect men, for being men.
White knighthood has given some men an illusion that this is what women want, they want a guy who will bow down to them, do all the chores in the house, work 12 hour days, and then come home to kiss their ass. The irony? White knights go through divorces more so than alpha non-white knight men. Alpha men don’t seek external validation, they are confident and when approaching women, they know what they want. If a woman rejects their advances, they simply move on. Alpha men don’t waste their time wallowing in self-pity, and definitely, don’t seek to appease women by putting down men. Not to say, as aforementioned, that alpha men sometimes don’t dabble in white knighting women, but, it’s usually done as a joke, or trying to get her attention in a fun, playful way.
So, I feel bad that feminism has created this mess between men and women. There seems to be this chasm between a large section of feminist women, and good men, that needs bridging but the bridge shouldn’t be the white knighthood. Feminists need to stop trying so hard to be difficult to reach, afraid of men getting too close, is my guess. They need to stop trying to emasculate men because, in the process, they hurt the values and human bonding that serve to bring people together. The beauty of meeting someone for the first time, becoming infatuated, feeling that surge of chemistry, and deciding if this person is worth having a relationship with, is something that feminists have all but destroyed. White knighting is some men’s way of trying to play a traditional dating game, by behaving in ways that cause them to hide their authentic selves. The expectations of men when it comes to dating, are very high, and it’s an unrealistic standard when many women aren’t held to them same expectations. Not all women are the same, but there is a reason why the divorce rate is soaring, and why men and women are deciding to opt out of marriage.
I wish that more men knew how valuable they are, as they are. That being an alpha male doesn’t mean that you must turn into a slick PUA, but rather it means that you are your own man, going after your own desires, with a sense of purpose. These men never have a need to white knight or cow tow to feminists. I pray that more men and women wake up to the evils of feminism and realize that there is more to life than following a dysfunctional cultural narrative that leaves everyone hurting in the end. Unfortunately, feminism has made many men afraid to simply be themselves, out of fear of rejection. The façade of white knighting probably brings a sense of courage that perhaps they feel they don’t possess, on their own.
Hopefully, men who are white knighting will see that it’s an effort in futility that only serves to feed the egos of feminist women while preventing them (the men) from being their most authentic selves. As a woman who’s not a feminist and is white knighted at times, I know that these men mean well; they’re just following the male feminist narrative because perhaps, that’s all they know.