On Opening The Door For Women

Ken AshfordWomen's IssuesLeave a Comment

This was a mini-topic in the blogosphere a couple of weeks ago.  A few blogs I read were having discussions about the practice of opening doors for women as it pertains to the larger topic of chivalry.  (Sorry, I’m too lazy to research and link — just take my word)

I had nothing to add to the discussion — like most other men weighing in on the topic, I open the door for people, especially if I happen to be closest to the door. 

And if I happen to take greater pains to the open the door for women (as opposed to men), then so be it.  When doing that, it’s not a comment on their supposedly "weaker" sex.  I’m not, as someone wrote tongue-in-cheek, expecting a blowjob for my minimal effort.  And frankly, as "chivalry" goes, it’s a pretty meager display of it. 

It’s just — I don’t know — something I do, reflexively.  Deal with it.

So I was taken aback by this comment from George Will, in a post about manners in today’s society:

Furthermore, it is a brave, or foolhardy, man who shows traditional manners toward women. In today’s world of "hair-trigger sensitivity," to open a door for a woman is to play what Truss calls Gallantry Russian Roulette: You risk a high-decibel lecture on gender politics.

I’m "brave"?  Or "foolhardy"?  How?

I suppose that I have engaged opening doors for women literally thousands of times in my life, from Boston to New York City to rural North Carolina.  And statistically, I probably have opened the door for many liberated women (the kind that Limbaugh calls "feminazis").

And not once — NOT ONCE — have I been subjected to a "high-decibel lecture on gender politics" for this minor traditional act.  Furthermore, I have never seen anyone else subjected to such a lecture for the same thing.  Not once.

Am I a fluke?  What is Will talking about?  Has anyone ever seen anyone be lectured at simply for opening a door for a woman, or is this (as I suspect) some sort of urban myth?  I’d be interested in hearing anecdotal evidence of this, because I suspect this is — um — total bullshit from social conservatives.