Never much of a lady herself, Maureen Dowd nevertheless expects men to stand up for women, even when they’ve done something awful, such as killing a little boy’s pets. In her latest piece, she bemoans the increasingly callous attitude toward women, utterly failing to connect this attitude to contemporary women’s – including her own – behavior.
Digging deep to find a knight in shining armor, Maureen comes up with Keith Richards, Stones guitarist and former junkie who, as it turns out, is kind of a softy who has been battered and psychologically tormented by women at various points in his life, starting with his mother, who systematically killed his pets. When the little Keith Richards protested, his mother said: “don’t be soft.”
After the Rolling Stones became wildly successful, Richards was mobbed by women who got so rough with him he was in mortal fear on some occasions, including one time a couple women choked him with his own necklace:
I was never more in fear for my life than I was from teenage girls. The ones that choked me, tore me to shreds, if you got caught in a frenzied crowd of them — it’s hard to express how frightening they could be.
The problem is if they get their hands on you, they don’t know what to do with you. They nearly strangled me with a necklace, one grabbed one side of it, the other grabbed the other, and they’re going, ‘Keith, Keith,’ and meanwhile they’re choking me.
Despite this rough treatment, Keith Richards remained considerate and even lent a sympathetic ear to the women who were upset by his bandmates’ tendency to sleep around and refuse to commit.
Even Richards’ supposedly “sexist” song – Under My Thumb – was written more in response to betrayal on the part of women in his life:
The songs … came from a lot of frustration from our point of view. You go on the road for a month, you come back, and she’s with somebody else.
It seems Keith Richards, despite the heroin and rock star lifestyle, had to deal with the same thing many ordinary men do, and despite the horrible treatment he was subjected to at the hands of women from time to time, he remained fairly partial to them.
Richards, therefore, is not so much “chivalrous” in that regard as he is par for the course — most men, despite pretty lousy behavior on the part of women, put up with it and continue to behave as “good boys” around women. It’s what we’ve been trained to do, after all.
On the other hand, what Maureen Dowd displays is this despicable, but sadly common, attitude that a good man is one who puts up with abuse from women and still continues to treat them with respect and deference. In some ways, it’s even worse than a master/slave relationship, because supposedly love is involved.
If one reads between the lines, chivalry, as interpreted by modern Western women, is nothing more than a woman’s privilege to do whatever she wants and behave in any manner she chooses while enjoying the unconditional protection, support and respect of men.