How masculinity is evolving in the 21st century.
Our June trend report, “The State of Men,” examines how masculinity is evolving in the 21st century. When it comes to chivalry, once a key aspect of manliness, men still embrace the concept, although it’s under duress. According to a survey we conducted in the U.S. and the U.K. using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool, 7 in 10 men say that having good manners/being a gentleman is one of the primary things that define men today. A third of men say they feel a lot of pride when they open doors or pull out chairs for other people. And a clear majority of men believe that various traditionally chivalrous behaviors are still relevant (see Figure 10A in our report for specifics).
As gender roles and attitudes shift, however, chivalry is an increasingly challenged idea. More than half (53 percent) of men believe it’s no longer possible to be chivalrous without appearing sexist. And as this chart shows, younger generations are considerably less likely to perform traditionally chivalrous acts such as paying for dates or letting a woman enter or exit a door first. Given that chivalry remains relevant for many—even if its form is shifting—brands can redefine the concept as having good manners. A spot for the new Givenchy fragrance Gentlemen Only, for instance, shows actor Simon Baker walking down a rainy street with an umbrella and handing it to a woman as she tries to hail a cab.