A national animal is chosen to represent a country. Bravery, beauty, strength, endurance, whatever. The tiger, eagle, deer, lion, macaw, condor, sea turtle, etc.—each beast is selected based on characteristics that embody the country’s mission, aspirations, strengths and history. A national animal symbolizes a lot.
So let’s get to the point. What is Scotland’s national animal? Nobility, chivalry, strength, bravery, purity, freedom—the unicorn. Yup, that’s right. Scotland’s national animal is the unicorn. Isn’t that just the most awesome thing you’ve ever heard?
Unicorns have appeared in ancient legends for centuries. They are renowned for their nobility, gentleness, and purity. Folklore and mythology describe unicorns as protectors of the forest. Unicorns are gentle but exceedingly strong. They would first be forced off a cliff before relinquishing their freedom. The only recorded means of capturing a unicorn is by the allurement of a pure virgin. Unicorns have been known to fall asleep with their head in the lap of an honorable girl.
Unicorns are a symbol of chivalry. Back in the days of shining armor, castles, and noblemen, chivalry was a trait ingrained into every boy’s head. Honor, gentleness, and nobility were the norm, rather than the exception. Today our society exhibits an embarrassing lack of chivalry. It is far more common to hear of men objectifying girls, treating them as inferior, or degrading their honor, rather than protecting, defending, and respecting them.
Confessions of a Borderline Feminist
Okay, I’ll be honest, I used to be a very vocal fighter for gender equality, independence of women, and women’s rights. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I viewed any act of selfless chivalry as a sign of women’s inferiority. Why would you pull my chair out for me? I can do that myself. In my mind, a guy going out of his way to take care of my needs meant he thought I was weak or helpless. Many females today have a similar mindset. But here’s the thing: a guy doesn’t have to go out of his way—he chooses to. It doesn’t mean he looks at women as weak, it means he looks at women as valuable. And who wouldn’t go out of their way to protect something or someone they value?
A few days ago, I was strolling on the sidewalk with a male friend. We were walking around a busy block, and I was on the curb next to the traffic. After a few minutes, my friend pushed me toward the inside of the pathway, and took my position next to the road. I was rather startled. “It’s not good for girls to be walking on the edge of the road. It’s more dangerous,” he explained. Several years ago, I would’ve been frustrated and offended by such an act of chivalry. But thank goodness my mentality is different today. In reality, my friend was just protecting me, and any other girls he walked with. It was his way of valuing us odd specimens of the opposite gender. Nothing awkward or degrading about that.
For the Guys
Today, the idea of a “man” is someone who can win a fistfight. Macho-macho is what too many girls look for in a guy. In a sense, we are forcing men to neglect true gentleness and chivalry by demanding tough and assertive behavior. Society has forgotten that true strength is found in simple gentleness. When is the last time you heard a young man praised for his gentleness? Gentleness is not weakness. In fact, a weak person cannot be gentle. Gentleness is having the ability to do harm, but choosing instead to protect and defend, rather than attack. For example, picture an elephant and a kitten in an enclosure. The kitten does not have the choice to be gentle. No one would praise the kitten for its gentleness toward the elephant. However, on the other hand, the elephant can behave either aggressively or gently toward the cat. The elephant has the opportunity to choose gentleness, whereas the helpless kitten does not.
I believe men should be both physically and mentally strong. They should be capable of defending and protecting their loved ones. But they shouldn’t seek out fights or battles or display their strength as a sport. They should act out of respect and gentleness. Guys, take care of the women in your life. Not just your girlfriend or wife, but your mother, your daughter, and even the strangers you encounter. Don’t let chivalry die.
For the Girls
Girls, support your guys. Seriously. Allow men to value and respect you. Don’t turn them away or mock them. Seek men who live their lives in honor. Don’t stand for any form of abuse, neglect, or degradation. Abuse is absolutely and categorically never okay. You are valuable and should be treated as such. Let the guy open the door for you. Let him take your plate. Let him push in your chair. Let him lift the heavy load. Let him be your escort. It’s not because you can’t do these things—you certainly can. You are strong, independent, and capable. It’s not a form of degradation, it’s a man honoring and respecting you. Support him in his efforts.
So why did I open this article talking about Scotland, national animals, and unicorns? Well first of all, I think the fact that Scotland has a unicorn for its national animal is just super cool. Also, unicorns are a representation of chivalry, honor, and nobility—characteristics so many today have neglected. Unicorns have the capacity for violence and aggression, yet they choose to use their power for good and healing. They seek and respect the grace of a pure woman. They are strong, gentle, noble, and free.
We live in a beautiful world with billions of people. I think it’s high time we start respecting and genuinely caring for each other. We have put such a low estimate on honor, nobility, and gentleness. It used to be that a man’s word of honor was more important than life. But what about today? Where has our integrity gone? Let’s start a revolution of chivalry and gentleness. Act like the unicorn and remember: today will be AMAZING!