Should men still hold the door open for women?

NO, says Chung Hosanna

Even in heels, I tend to walk ahead of my companions. Chances are I’ll reach the door first, even before a tall man whose stride far exceeds mine.

Does decorum dictate that I should slow my trot down before reaching entrances? Or should I wait meekly beside the door handle – my hand inches away – just so a man can “do the polite thing”?

Nonsense. Whoever reaches the door first should open it for the person behind. It’s common sense!

I don’t feel patronised when you open the door for me. There’s nothing to complain about when I get to glide through the doorway without having to push or pull the door.

But I don’t expect you to. I’m not saying that men should never open the door for women – I’ll obviously think it’s rude if you let the door smack me in the face. But you don’t have to do it all the time.

What I would really like you to do is change my light bulbs. Or fix my leaky toilet.

Before you jump up and say I’m reinforcing the stereotype of the “helpless weak woman”, let me just admit that I’m hopeless with all things technical. Instruction manuals are Greek to me, my car’s engine is rocket science, and even fiddling with my smartphone causes me severe handwringing.

If my brain is not wired to be good at these things, why should I force myself to do it just to prove that I don’t need a man for anything? I would be grateful to have a man (or woman) do these things for me, if they have an aptitude and willingness to do so.

While I fully appreciate the struggle that the women’s rights movement has gone through, I don’t let it dictate my own perceptions. You may accuse me of paying lip service to female empowerment and gender sensitivity. I’m just saying, there isn’t just one way to do it.

The other day, I was telling the boyfriend about some work challenges of being a female in a position of authority. Not wanting to be misunderstood, I clarified that I’m not a feminist. His answer? “I am.”

This is a man that fixes my light bulbs without me asking, attempts to fix my leaky toilet (unsuccessfully) and occasionally opens doors for me. I appreciate that, and see no feminist contradictions in this arrangement.

So, back to opening doors. I’m not against it, but I don’t insist on it.

YES, says Chris Lee

A little over a year ago, I happened to cross the road with a female friend, and I instinctively moved to the side facing the ongoing traffic. She found it interesting that I would do something like that and remarked, “I'm glad chivalry isn't dead!”

Yes, there are some men and women out there who believe that in the age of gender equality, we have to tone down certain “gentlemanly” gestures that we would instinctively do in certain situations. While I am a firm believer of gender fairness and equal opportunities, I still believe in chivalry.

As society matures, there are still some who feel that a woman's place is to be pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen. The common excuse I hear is, “Well, women don't have to fight wars.” But even as recruitment of women into the military grows larger as time goes by, chauvinists of the world will continue to dismiss their contributions to society. Get a life, guys. Nature has dictated that men and women are biologically different, but other than that, their abilities deserve an equal assessment.

To me, the reason I tend to go the extra mile for women isn't because I view women as the lesser sex as compared to men. Men are made to be biologically and physically stronger, it is therefore their duty to protect the women in their lives. Of course scoring some brownie points doesn't hurt either. No gender is weaker than another when it comes to leadership and abilities. Women can achieve as much as men can in life.

Opening the door for a woman isn't about thinking she can’t do it herself; it is about respecting her enough to go the extra mile for her.

So the next time you see a man who doesn't open doors for his wife or girlfriend, it isn't because he believes in gender equality. The guy just doesn't respect his woman. So if I score brownie points with girls and you stay single... well, tough!

Chung Hosanna wants the right doors to open, but after this article, nobody will open doors for her anymore, will they? She is not a political GRO.

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