Photo by Manas Pant/The Gazelle
So much has changed since chivalry was a thing. The social, moral and religious codes of chivalry were developed around the 12th century, and the word itself only came into existence around the 14th. It’s now the 21st century and chivalry in that sense is not really a thing anymore. I see chivalry as the simple act of respecting me as a woman and as an equal to you in society. This is all to say that I have an issue with men who won’t enter through doors that I open.
Some of the guys at NYU Abu Dhabi who have refused to walk through doors that I kept open for them claimed that it was because of chivalry. Maybe you don’t think chivalry is dead, but in reality, chivalry, in its original form, is dead. When I confronted them about it, some argued that modern-day chivalry includes opening doors for women, paying the bill and giving your coat to your date if she is cold. Others claimed their behaviour was because of their respect for women, or to show humility.
My problem with modern chivalry is that is unnecessary; I can do all the things it wants to do for me. I can open my own doors and even keep them open for you. If I can’t pay the bill, I would not go out in the first place. I can also look up the weather forecast before going out. If it is chivalry that’s keeping you from entering a door that I kept open for you, the next time I see you, you better be on a white horse. If it’s about respecting women, nothing shows more respect to me than treating people as your equal. I do not see how it’s respectful to me when I choose to keep the door open for you yet you open another one for yourself. On the contrary, it's degrading.
"A man opening a door for me should not count as an act of chivalry, but as an act of courtesy."
Women have come a long way, and we still have far to go. Opening the door for others may seem insignificant to certain people, but I genuinely believe that at this point it is empowering. Opening a door for another human being allows me and other women to perform something that everyone with a healthy body is capable of doing. A man opening a door for me should not count as an act of chivalry, but more of as an act of courtesy; and my opening of a door for any man should not be read into as more than a simple act of showing courtesy. Because of these reasons I would sincerely appreciate it if you enter through a door that I open for you. Remember, you’re not special, I am not being nice specifically to you, you just happen to be one more person who has fallen victim to my courtesy.
I once kept the door that leads from A2 to the Marketplace open for a guy who had his hands full with groceries. Despite this, he refused to enter through the door.
I just wanted to say that when anyone opens a door for herself or himself and keeps it open for me, I enter. It is that simple. It has absolutely nothing to do with 14th century chivalry, and it’s only a matter of treating me in an equal manner. Shocking right? To be fair, plenty of guys have entered doors that I kept open and asked me to pay for their coffee or food when they couldn’t afford it. I also asked guys to pay for my coffee when I ran out of Campus Dirhams. There is hope and equality on campus, but not among everybody.
Lina Elmusa is a staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.