If you’re anything like me, that question sounds utterly ridiculous. Is it sexist to hold the door for a woman? No, holding a door for anyone regardless of sex, race or age is just damn good manners. I had someone say this to me recently, and at first, I thought it was in jest. Simply making light of some of the more extreme progressive agendas floating around in society today.
Here’s the thing, it wasn’t a joke. This person was dead serious, and I was taken aback for a moment. And it made me wonder, how did we get here? How did we get to a place where something as simple and innocent as holding a door open for someone has become fraught with political implications?
Over the next few days, I did what any curious, red-blooded American would do, I googled it. I was shocked at the number of hits, “Holy sh*t, this is a legit question.” Reading through countless posts, I actually felt concerned for all the young men posing this question. Thread after thread on multiple forums revealed a palpable fear and insecurity.
It’s a difficult balance to strike, wanting to be a gentleman without seeming sexist. On the one hand, chivalry is an admirable quality and treating others with respect should never be seen as a bad thing. On the other hand, the world has changed a lot in recent years and some of the traditional trappings of masculinity can be interpreted as being oppressive to women. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk.
I always try see both sides… Here’s their argument. In a society that is increasingly focused on equality, holding the door open for someone can be seen as an act of condescension. As if we’re saying that the person is not strong enough or capable enough to do it themselves.
Okay, in some cases, that may very well be the case. But in most cases, it’s simply about being polite and showing some basic human courtesy. The key is to do so without having an ulterior motive or expecting something in return. As long as you approach the world with good intentions, I don’t see the issue.
But, welcome to the year 2022, and yes, there are some with an ideology and an agenda, that believe the only path to true gender equality is to completely emasculate men. I will refrain from comment there, and that’s not something I choose to delve into right now. So back to the original question. Is it sexist to hold the door for a woman?
I was leaving the grocery store recently and saw an elderly woman struggling to get a case of bottled water into her car. My first instinct was to offer assistance, but then this very quandary popped into my head. Would that be considered being sexist or just polite? It bothered me that I even had to think about that. I ultimately made the decision to help her with her water and she was very kind and thankful.
I grew up on military bases as a child and that included stints in the South. There, I was taught to say yes ma’am and no ma’am, to hold the door for a woman and if you were courting, that you should even open the car door for a woman. In other words. I was taught to be gentleman. Those lessons naturally expanded to just being a decent human. I hold the door for everyone, man, woman or child. I still occasionally find myself saying yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am and no ma’am to elders, although that practice has faded significantly.
It’s just common courtesy. It’s called being kind.
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see“- Mark Twain.
Giving up a seat for an elderly person, someone injured or a pregnant woman. Saying, excuse me, when you bump into someone. Aren’t these things just proper manners? Shouldn’t they just be considered a sign of respect and consideration? Society functions better when we’re polite and extend regard for our fellow humans.
Must we continue to manufacture grievances to demand social change?
I asked my Father about this, and his thoughts were somewhat predictable. “Growing up, manners were mandatory, and it was considered rude if you didn’t open doors and say please and thank you.” Then he started lamenting on all the ways the world has gone to sh*t in the last 50 years. Ha. You know, typical old man stuff.
Which leads me to my conclusion… maybe, I’m just getting old. Times definitely change, and with those changes come new standards of acceptable behavior. I think a rude society sucks, but it’s probably something I have no control over and something I’ll never understand. It’s like when we had to tell my late grandfather that it was really not cool to call his grandson a “retard” for mowing over the garden hose. Or to tell his other grandson to “stop crying like a little bitch” when he scraped his knee. That kind of thing is just not acceptable anymore, but my grandfather didn’t know any better. He was from a different time. I think that’s the case with a lot of things in today’s society.
Personally, I’ll continue to operate the way I was brought up, with manners. If someone gets offended when I hold a door open, well, I’ll politely apologize and move on. I’m not going to suddenly start only holding the door for men and children, excluding women. And, I’m certainly not going to run around just letting doors close in people’s faces. So, it’s status quo over here.
My uncle used to say… “I hold a door for a woman to acknowledge their superior place in society.” He didn’t come up with that… I’ve seen it elsewhere, but you see, two sides to a coin.
As you were