The first thing to hit my, slightly sensitive ears today (after a little too much of the red stuff last night), was a tv Q&A about whether it’s sexist or not for a man to hold a door open for a woman. Really? I’m at a loss as to how this can be a problem for anyone.
Surely anyone can hold a door open for anyone? If I’m walking through a door and someone – man, woman or child – is only a few seconds behind me…I hold it open. It’s just simple good manners for crying out loud! I don’t deliberate over whether the other person will be offended by my politeness!! Just as I don’t worry about anyone being offended about me saying ‘please’ or ‘thank-you’.
I definitely consider myself a feminist, in my own interpretation of the word. I think it’s amazing how far women have come from as far back as having to fight and protest for a right to vote and beyond. I am and always will be full of respect, admiration and gratitude to all the women who have fought, sacrificed and even died for me to be living the kind of life that I live. Where I can make choices. I can choose if and when to have children. I can choose what kind of career I want. I can choose to be single, married or a serial dater. I can choose to vote for who I think should be running the country I live in.
Being a feminist however, does not mean that I forget that I’m a woman and possess all the beautiful, lovely, feminine traits that make me a woman. I have no desire to be genderless and not to be seen as a woman by anyone. If a man wants to hold a door open, give up his seat on the train, help me to my car with heavy bags, walk on the outside of the pavement or open a car door for me, then he is VERY welcome! These are lovely gestures and I think it must be incredibly hard for men these days to know where to put themselves when some women are reacting in a very rude way and taking offence.
It’s not demeaning, sexist, patronising or anything else negative. For goodness sake! These acts are NICE. They are positive things in a world where people are increasingly horrible and rude to each other…don’t let this die out! Aren’t these gestures more borne out of respect and kindness? If you are a woman who finds these things sexist then I’m afraid YOU are the person who has the issue, the insecurity. You clearly don’t feel empowered enough as a women to be anything but paranoid about these gestures.
There are much bigger issues going on, particularly on a global level that women who want to fight for equal rights should be focusing on. Female circumcision, forced arranged marriages, honour killings etc etc. Get involved with THOSE things and stop complaining about men treating you nicely. You don’t know how lucky you are!
p.s. to the men who have considered being less chivalrous because of a few negative responses…..please don’t stop! Ignore them and know that there are plenty of women who appreciate and respect your courtesy and consideration. Me for a start!