Holding doors. This battle still wears on. The 100 Years War didn’t take as long as some of these other skirmishes.
This is a post by Shari Small on Quora, in response to the question: If you’re a woman, how does it feel when a man opens a door for you? Is it a compliment or sexism? And if a man, why do you hold doors for women?
Pretty straightforward, huh? I thought her answer was so funny, I got her permission to reprint it, as it were.
Let’s get this out of the way: holding doors for the people behind you, male, female or otherwise is common courtesy.
But, oh, this question makes me feel old. Ancient. Because I remember when there was a big feminist cry of, “I am perfectly capable of opening my own damn doors.”
It led to much confusion at entryways, where men who had been indoctrinated from childbirth to drop everything and open the door when a lady happened near the entrance were pushed aside by women who insisted that opening their own door was a God-given right.
Ladies who had been taught from infancy that opening your own doors was crass and unbecoming were standing in a helpless mass, waiting for someone (that is, someone who had a penis) to open the door.
It was ugly. Eventually, though, men got tired of being slapped and harangued when they touched the door.
They learned to wait until no one was around, then stealthily slip through the door, pulling it closed quickly as to not arouse suspicion amongst the female population.
Women learned that opening a door was not as exciting as they were led to believe, and sometimes (like when you were balancing a child on one hip and groceries on the other) it was a perilous situation that would be made easier if someone (with or without a penis) would just hold the damn door open.
In a brilliant move, an unnamed woman (who should certainly get a statue erected in her honor, or at least a Wikipedia page) had the unprecedented inspiration while walking through a doorway: What if she were to hold the door open for the next person?
It caught on like wildfire! Soon, men and women of all ages were exhibiting this strange phenomenon known as door courtesy.
Just one generation later, it is so ingrained in our society that present-day youngsters are stymied by the possibility that holding the door could be considered sexism.
Ahh, we’ve come so far.