Don’t open my door! – Exploring notions of chivalry

February 16, 2003 at 12:03 am 19 comments

Is my arm broken? Is my hand shriveled? Are my eyes functioning? Maybe I should take a second to check. Yep, just as I thought, everything is working properly. Which brings me to the question at hand – why must guys continue to insist on opening the door for me?

I am perfectly capable of opening a door. Sure their arms may be longer than my arms and perhaps a tad stronger. But believe it or not, I handle the door opening process quite well in the absence of testosterone.

It’s not that I don’t understand the social code that mandates this action. I know that any man who doesn’t at least attempt to open the door for a woman is thought to be ill mannered. In fact, some women base their entire judgment of a man on this single factor. It is thought that a guy will fall short in all areas of manners if he does not have the common courtesy to open the door for a woman. For many women, this is the first clue that he doesn’t know to put a napkin on his lap during dinner, which fork to use for the salad or (worst of all) he hasn’t been taught to tip at least 20 percent for decent service.

However, for me, the door-opening requirement for men is a nuisance. It doesn’t make me feel like a queen. Instead, it makes me feel dependent and small. Since I’m not a child, I don’t like to feel dependent or small. I don’t use the action of door opening to determine the manners of a man. In fact, if I happen to pass through the door first and the guy has the guts to let me hold the door for him, that is the sign of a man who can handle my non-traditional and independent spirit. It is the sign of a man who isn’t easily intimidated by a woman who can take care of herself. To me, it is the sign of a real man.

Chivalry belongs to an age of submissive women who curtsy and bow at the sight of their lord. I belong to an age of daring women who are educated leaders. So why should I step aside and expect a man to open a door for me? It’s just a door. If I need a man to open a door for me, then I should never attempt to bite off something really big like running for a governmental office or leading a company.

It’s just a door. This is true, but it also so much more. It is a sign of dependence. Women might as well just curtsy as we gracefully nod our heads in submission to our lord as we pass through the door. No thanks; I’ll get my own door.

However, men beware, not many women share my notions about opening doors. In fact, very few women agree with this view and you could get yourself in some big trouble if you wait for you girlfriend to open the door for you and she is a more traditional type of thinker. This is something you may want to talk about before actually putting it to the test.

As the stereotypical views of women fall to the side and we begin to see actions like opening our own door in the presence of a man as breaking one more link to a history of a being second class in society, we will see true equality between men and women. Until then guys – I’ll get that door.


Entry filed under: Stella Ramsaroop.

Empowering Myself – Expressions of a Woman Here chicky, chicky…..

19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alejandro Ziegenhirt  |  May 25, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    All due respect miss, but many of us open doors for women just to be nice, very VERY few of us actually believe you need us to open the door for you.

  • 2. Mitsu  |  November 6, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    I don’t see why so many women get so worked up about this. It’s just a door, get over it. I don’t mind it if a guy holds a door for me, and I’ll hold it for them as well. What about a woman holding the door for another woman? I hope that’s acceptable, cause I’ve done that too!

  • 3. Yuri  |  November 19, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    Yeah I know a girl like that who acctually broke up with her boyfriend because he’d have the ‘Oh I’ll get that’ attitude. He opened doors for her, held them open and it bugged her. She hated when he said ‘I’m sorry’ to her, and when he was mushy and sensitive.

    Now, to me. That’s a bit harsh since the guy was obviously in love with her, but I honestly don’t know how a man who isn’t a completely unfeeling bastard can have a relationship with a girl like that. Some men are actually like this, they care for their partner and want to pamper them completely. – As for me, I like to think I can change to suit his/her needs, but the problem still remains: we all have needs.

    Be it the need to be courteous, be it the need to hold the other person close. I like holding my partner in my arms, I like making them feel protected even if they don’t need it. Because, to me (at least) a good partner is one who is sensitive to your feelings, i.e. who treats you like a human being and not a piece of dirt. Hell I would love for a woman to hold open my door, but I think your feminist argument is also a bit flawed, after all – if a man -told you- to hold the door open for him, you’d just as easily bite back and tell him to hold his own door wouldn’t you?

    I’m a communist at heart, and I consider that men and women should be equal in all respects. However, history has taught us two things: habits are hard to break – and everyone can change with time and effort. Speaking I think is key in all relationships, and if you don’t tell the person how you feel and let them know what you consider is wrong, then you’re just feeding the inevitable wildfire. – This girl I know broke up, probably because she never breathed a word to him about what he did wrong that she got irritated by.

    I’m sorry for this long-winded answer, but hopefully I’ll get a reply out of it. Because I enjoyed reading your article and would like to discuss this further.

  • 4. Carl  |  December 11, 2007 at 2:44 am

    Feminists insist on equality with men, but most other women do appreciate chivalry. The solution is to treat non-feminists like ladies and feminists like men. Everybody wins.

  • 5. Mike  |  December 23, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    Is my arm broken? Is my hand shriveled? Are my eyes functioning? Maybe I should take a second to check. Yep, just as I thought, everything is working properly. Which brings me to the question at hand – why must guys continue to insist on opening the door for me?

    Well, speaking as a man who holds doors open for anyone immediately behind him, how about common courtesy? I’d expect you to hold the door for me if I were right behind you, too; it’s just politeness.

  • 6. James  |  December 25, 2008 at 6:51 am

    Well if someone didnt want me to hold the door open and be a bitch about it then id hope the door smashes them in the face on the way out! (male or female.) I like to consider myself an equal oportunity hater.. As well as equal oportunity being nice.

  • 7. Tia  |  March 5, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    I totally understand the poster’s sentiment. A guy that I am mathcing strides with does not need to rush ahead of me and get the door. I do not require it. If he is ahead of me when we get to the door, he can get it and vice versa. I think it is a poor discrimination of women against men, not the other way around. Too many women require such tokens and it’s shallow.

  • 8. Kynos  |  April 7, 2009 at 8:17 am

    In truth, men should not hold open doors for ladies. To do so is most unchivalraic. The correct procedure, unless you know what is on the other side of the door, is to go through it first yourself if you’re a man. That way you take the hit of anything nasty coming from the other side, or you get to hit it. It’s the same reason we (men) walk on the outside of the footpath when approaching a lady. In the old days, our risk of falling into the mud (and other substances commonly found in gutters) was thus maximised, and hers minimised.

  • 9. atheistyogi  |  April 26, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    I appreciate it when anyone, male or female, opens the door for me. I open the door for people who are a few feet behind me, male or female. What bugs me is when I get some older guy who just refuses for some reason to walk though a door that a woman is holding open…had that happened just last Wednesday, and blogged about it.

  • 10. Can't Say, they'll beat me  |  July 22, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    I just had this discussion with girls I work with (I’m a guy). They were not impressed that I believed equality means equal. And that a symbol of inequality, like being expected to hold a door open for women shows disrespect towards them because you are treting them as an inferior.

  • 11. catch  |  January 9, 2011 at 2:44 am

    I glady treat feminists like men. That is, I offer them no more or less courtesy than I offer men. The problem is that some claim that I’m being rude but I am not. I am simply treating them as equals. Were I to treat them with anymore courtesy or deference that I do a man, that would be gender discrimination and they, supposedly, are against that.

  • 12. jennikins628  |  May 11, 2011 at 2:26 am

    I just ran across this, and I think the males commenting on this post are missing the point. She’s not saying if you’re directly before her don’t hold the door, she’s saying don’t knock her out of the way or get pissed if she goes through the door first because she got there first.

    The first person to get to the door should hold it for the person behind them.

  • 13. Natalie  |  May 11, 2011 at 9:53 am

    “Rudeness” and “independence” are two different words, which have extremely different meanings. Do you really feel dependence from such simple things?
    Be honest. Do you want your son shut the door in front of you in the future? Is it your independence? Common!

  • 14. Nick Adamson  |  September 1, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    I need to meet more feminist women! 🙂

    Great article. I think some people are confusing what you’re talking about, which is a man holding a door and waiting for a woman to pass, and simply holding the door for a second until the other person gets to it. I do the latter all the time for men and women, and most people (male or female) that I know do the same. That’s probably just common courtesy.

  • 15. Anonymous  |  October 22, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Thank goodness for your post! I feel the exact same way! I am so grateful that I am not alone in this! I had an experience at my school last week. A guy held to door open for me and another female. I politely told him he could go on through. The other female harshly told me to go on through the door. I nicely told them both my feelings on the subject. The other female would not let it go and kept wanting to discuss it. I have no problems discussing it, but I’m afraid my feelings will not change. If it is a harmless gesture, then why do people get so offended when I choose to opt out of it? I think it si anothe sign of how women are still in ways being subservient to men.

  • 16. Ashley S  |  February 26, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Wow. It makes you feel “small”? That sound like a woman’s insecurities and emotions playing games in your head to me. It’s women like yourself that are always out to show how big your balls are to the world… but no one cares. I am writing a paper on common courtesy when I found this article and it is this kind of toxic thinking that is killing courtesy and driving a wedge between people in society. You criticize people who are trying to offer a jester of kindness to a stranger. Do you refuse when a woman holds the door open for you? If not, you are simply sexist against men.

    A Female.

    To all the men AND women who hold the door open for me… Thank you.

  • 17. Yarrow  |  August 9, 2013 at 4:57 am

    An interesting question is whether women have a *right* to get angry at men if they *don’t* hold open the door (not so much whether they do or not, internally-speaking). The fact that most would agree that they don’t have this right (to get angry) indicates that this has very little to do with ‘advantages’ experienced by women, and much more to do with how men feel about doing what is essentially a trivial thing for a woman.
    Compare this with (some) men getting angry about women not… making the dinner/cleaning the bathroom/listening to him talk about his day/etc. They feel able to get angry because this is a privilege they expect because of the traditional gendered power relations, despite the fact that cooking/cleaning/listening/etc. takes far more effort than holding open a door.
    So really, I’m with the author of this post. Quit investing in holding open doors, guys, and start investing in doing your share of the domestic work. Then we might see a little equality…

  • 18. Ashlea Williams  |  July 18, 2014 at 3:52 am

    I feel the same way 100%. If I need you to open the door for me I would’ve asked, I’m completely capable of opening the door. My motto: if you can do it yourself, then by all means do it!!!

  • 19. Bill  |  March 3, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    “Why must guys continue to insist on opening the door for me?” “However, for me, the door-opening requirement for men is a nuisance. It doesn’t make me feel like a queen. Instead, it makes me feel dependent and small.”

    Unfortunately for you that’s YOUR problem, not the man’s. Expecting everyone to know how you will feel about things and then pander to your particular view of the world sounds like exactly the king of self centredness you appear to be critisising men for. Its also a sexist generalisation. Learn to cope in the world without taking offense or thinking the worst of people. Recognise that people think differently to you and the majority aren’t trying to be irrationally unpleasant to you… Might find you get less worked up about irrelevant trivial things like this non issue!

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