How do you define the term of a gentleman in the 21st century that has finally, in the bigger part of the world, abolished traditional, predicted and inherited roles for both genders? What makes a man extraordinary in that sense? The answer is not simple and at least it is based on established patterns
The definition of a gentleman is more complicated today than it was at the time when this term was invented. The roots of this way of behavior, treatment and personal style come from the knightly tradition of past centuries. The knight was an honorable and courageous man with clearly defined ideals and high values. The woman is placed at the center of his world and a knight dedicates his fights and heroic ventures to her.
Dethroning of the knightly ideal in Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” is a completely different, though very interesting topic. Gentleman, it is important to point out, is a widespread term especially in everyday speech and the mass media. It is often misunderstood and incorrectly applied. Also, an attempt is made to distinguish the traditional form of a gentleman, from the modern form so that the term can survive today in an era in which women are increasingly vocal and successful in the struggle for equality and emancipation of that equal social position with men.
Meaning, they don’t need to have someone to run for them to open the door to make them feel better, and they see the ladies’ construct as a product of patriarchy, which, in the name of sophistication, actually denies them much. And it’s not that they’re wrong, is it?
Gentleman is what the term itself says a “gentle man”. A kind of an opposite for macho masculine behavior that often involves violence, aggression, and vulgarity. Looking traditionally, a gentleman is not only the one who expresses himself politely, clothing with style, educated and with manners, but it is also a class issue.
A gentleman belongs to the upper social classes, pedigree is understood as well as money, inherited and acquired wealth, prominent social position. And here, if we are still limited to centuries before modernization, we come to the first dilemma. Could a gentleman be considered a man without education, position, and money who nevertheless respects, appreciate and treats women with respect?
It is clear from all of the above that a gentleman cannot be viewed only concerning the other gender, but that it encompasses a wider range of male characteristic. Character and nature, but also social position.
Today, a man worthy of this epithet is considered to be one who is self-aware, devoid of illusions about himself and free from the need to present himself impeccably. From the range of traditional virtues, the following have survived: education and information, upbringing and decent communication, a defined personal style both in the way of dressing and in other habits, a character has been built which indicates reliability and loyalty. He is primarily respectful of women. More specifically, it is free from prejudice about women as the “weaker gender”, does not apply prejudices and traditional patterns to them does not minimize their social role and underestimate their ambitions. So, in his view of the other gender, there is no macho diminution or prediction of “where a woman belongs” by being a woman.
It is clear that it will be necessary for some time to pass and to establish a distance according to the present moment, to be quite sure who were the gentlemen of our time and what made them so.
But if we just rely on the fact that appearance and attitude can be deceiving, that is, behind the most respectable man who does not wear running sneakers where they are out of place and does not dress without a style, the man with the most rigid attitudes about everything can be hidden, even about women, term a gentleman is certainly a very broad definition and it is irreducible to one or two personality traits.
The totality of a character is always on, its entirety just as it once did without burdening itself with social status and other rules of conservatism. In this sense, it may be that the term has become insufficient to denote it all, unclear, and worn out from incorrect use.
Term gentleman goes to the heart of the masculine principle and the core of that principle is an honor, an honorable character. Around this core are grouped other features- finesse, communication, education. And so the question always remains – Can a robust, honorable man be a gentleman even though he has never heard of Aristotle, or is it believed that without education and emancipation, respect for others is not possible? Sometimes questions are more important than answers. And we should allow that every period provides an answer to them.