A recent report in the
UK press quotes an American study
which says that men who open doors, offer their seats and walk on the outside
of the pavement when with women are guilty of 'benevolent sexism'.
This, says Professor Judith Hall of Northeastern University in
as offensive as 'hostile sexism'.
It seems that all of the training my parents gave me in being respectful towards women is now 'uncool' and not politically correct in today's society.
Professor Hall states that it is an insult to women to be given special treatment. I take it that this means that if I meet a woman whilst approaching a door I should go through first and leave her to her own devices.
I cannot help but feel that the women who say this and are offended by sexist respect are a very small minority. Certainly an episode on a crowded underground train a few years ago leads me to believe this is true. I offered my seat to a woman who was standing next to me and she was amazed and, thanking me profusely, mentioned it several times to her friend.
Maybe she was a 'traitor to the cause' and letting the side down but in my opinion the majority of women like to be respected in this way.
Taking this discussion a stage further. I am quite happy to hold a door open for a man also. Respect does not only have to be for the opposite sex but is just good manners to all people.
It seems to me that comments like those from Professor Judith Hall's are slowly chipping away at general respect for people within our society and that can only be a bad thing.
As for me, I will be proud to continue to be polite and old fashioned - and enjoy it!