Why I Am A Sexist

 

I am a sexist. I believe men and women are inherently different and that it’s therefore appropriate to treat them differently. I continue to open doors for women, curb my occasionally profane tongue around them and stand when they leave the table. Feminists have occasionally berated me for this, believing such manners display a patriarchal and protective attitude toward them. They’re right: a protective patriarch is exactly the kind of patriarch I am. Compare our Muslim friends. In his book What Went Wrong, Bernard Lewis reports that a Turkish visitor to Vienna in 1665 was flabbergasted by the “extraordinary spectacle” of the emperor tipping his hat to a lady. He speculated this bizarre behavior might derive from Christian respect for the Virgin Mary. Maybe so. It’s certainly true that the local rules of politeness bear within them the deepest attitudes of the culture. Which is something to consider in light of the imminent stoning of Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani in Iran, an Islamic horror story which inspires in me the very impolite desire to slug somebody, preferably with a clawhammer. I can’t help thinking that when feminists attack gentlemanly manners (and the Christianity behind them) they are threatening the very wellspring of their most basic rights.

Published in General
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 38 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Profile Photo Member
    @

    I’m reminded of the quote, CS Lewis, I think, “Arguing against God is arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all.” And certainly the feminists who argue against gentlemanly manners, were they transported to Iran, would discover the same thing.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Member
    @AaronMiller

    None of my feminist friends in college ever gave me grief for holding a door for them or helping carry a load. Sometimes, a woman rejects my offer to carry her luggage, and that’s fine. But even the most athletic women I’ve known generally appreciate the help, even if they don’t need it.

    Feminists don’t realize or accept that roles are not just about ability.

    My nominally Catholic university assigned the same teacher as head of theology and head of women’s studies (i.e., feminism). It takes an especially nimble mind to work that out.

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Member
    @

    I agree Claire. I suspect Drew might be channeling an old episode of Maude ;-)

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MelFoil

    There’s another less chivalrous reason that men treat women with deference and respect. Women tend to have fathers, husbands, brothers, or adult sons, and those fathers, husbands, brothers, or adult sons, might be muscle-bound hot-heads. You never know. Not all men are polite for the right reasons, but hey, whatever works.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DevinCole
    Claire Berlinski: I’ve honestly met very few women — none, in fact, come to mind — who objected to gentlemanly manners. I’ve met many who object to their absence. The feminist who can’t bear the insult of having a door held open for her is something of a straw man (so to speak). There just aren’t that many of them. Certainly not enough that we need feel indignant about their pernicious cultural influence. Most women like it very much when a man is chivalrous. · Jul 7 at 12:49pm

    Claire, I agree with you in one sense, and that is, in specific, there are few women who turn down or object to gentlemanly manners. However, I do believe that there is certainly an attack in our culture on Biblical definition of what it is to be a man and a woman and how the two relate to one another. This attack is not limited to feminism, but feminists would side against Christianity on this one. While most feminists would not reject the kindness of the door holder, they would reject any policy to promote Andrew’s patriarchal protectiveness. I think this is a detriment to society.

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Member
    @JimmyCarter

    I’m called “sexist” by “feminists,” and yet called a gentleman by ladies…. go figure.

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Member
    @AaronMiller

    I’ll be happy enough when people stop saying “genders” when they mean “sexes”. It’s gotten so bad that even physicians misuse the term.

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Contributor
    @AndrewKlavan

    I must defend my honor here – against Claire and her straw women – and most especially against the charge of having anything to do with the television show Maude. Although it has tapered off of late, there was a time when I and many other men would regularly get verbally attacked by feminists for acting chivalrously. To say most feminists were not that way is like saying most mobsters aren’t hit-men or most Islamic fundamentalists aren’t terrorists. If the majority dither about or rationalize away the actions of the intimidating few, they are essentially legitimizing the intimidation. Feminists did this for many years, allowing their bullies to operate at will, then falling back on a murmured, “Well, perhaps they go too far.” If you think men are less chivalrous now than they were ten years ago – and they are – that’s why. Maude indeed!

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Member
    @

    I’ve enjoyed all the comments on this one. Also, I want to flag this for further discussion:

    Devin Cole

    …there are few women who turn down or object to gentlemanly manners. However, I do believe that there is certainly an attack in our culture on Biblical definition of what it is to be a man and a woman and how the two relate to one another. This attack is not limited to feminism, but feminists would side against Christianity on this one. While most feminists would not reject the kindness of the door holder, they would reject any policy to promote Andrew’s patriarchal protectiveness. I think this is a detriment to society. ·

    Two questions:

    1) In your view, what is a biblical definition of how men and women should relate?

    2) What “policy to promote Andrew’s patriarchal protectiveness” would you have us support?

    When I’m out with my girlfriend, I open doors and walk between her and the street, but I’d be strongly against a policy that promoted those behaviors. Talk about places government doesn’t belong.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Member
    @

    I have found few subjects illuminate the differences between academia and “the real world” as much as sexism. I knew several feminist professors in college who would berate freshmen (oops, first years!) who dared to hold open the door as they entered a building.

    Aside from the straw man argument, I had a heated argument in law school about the existence of separate men’s and women’s sports teams. The (male) professor argued that having separate teams was akin to the Jim Crow South. I argued that, while the Jim Crow laws were premised on racism, having a separate men’s and women’s basketball team is justified because of the physiological differences between men and women (muscle density, growth potential, etc.). Further, having different teams was not a relic of masculine oppression. I only overcame the professor’s denial that men and women are, well, built differently (and his thinly veiled assertion that I was a Neanderthal) when the former WNBA player in my class vehemently came to my defense.

    The setting for the discussion has a power influence over what constitutes “sexist.” I’m with you Andrew.

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Member
    @

    I like your game Drew!

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MFQuinn

    Wonderful posting, Drew, with which I heartily agree! One thing I’ve noticed is that as gentlemanly regard for ladies has waned over the years, so too has the number of ladies one might think of as deserving such deference. I know that’s generalizing, but surely it is true that one tends to act according to how one is treated (think Pygmalion), and according to expectations. Funny how “equality” so frequently produces specimens (or results) of the lowest common denominator; I’m afraid that is where we are (or are headed) with respect to male/female relations. Get ready for “equality” to bring our health care down to a sufficiently low level that everyone can have it– for free! Hey, it worked well with public education, right?

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Karen

    “Changing divorce laws, along with the introduction of the pill…has hurt civilized, decent society more than any amount of big government ever could.” Sweet heaven, I’m glad this opinion is in the minority. Any protective patriarchs out there want to jump on this? Anyone? No matter, I’ve got Loretta Lynn on my side…

    You wined me and dined meWhen I was your girlPromised if I’d be your wifeYou’d show me the worldBut all I’ve seen of this old worldIs a bed and a doctor billI’m tearin’ down your brooder house‘Cause now I’ve got the pillAll these years I’ve stayed at homeWhile you had all your funAnd every year thats gone byAnother babys comeThere’s a gonna be some changes madeRight here on nursery hillYou’ve set this chicken your last time‘Cause now I’ve got the pill
    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PatSajak

    Though there aren’t many horse-and-buggy rigs splashing mud these days, I still try to stay on the street side when walking with a woman. As for elevators, I try to allow the women to exit first, but it’s often not practical. In those cases, I exit first, but hold my arm in the beam until the women have left.

    None of this, however, is remotely connected to any notion that women need–or even want–my protection. These are signs of respect, and they appear to be hard-wired within me.

    • #14
  15. Profile Photo Editor
    @RobLong

    I have an almost impossible time allowing a woman to buy me a meal or a drink. It’s just deeply ingrained in me. Also: I like to do the driving.

    And I have to say: I’ve had women roll their eyes a bit, maybe even pretend to be miffed (“Seriously? You won’t let me pay?”) but never convincingly. Feminism seems to me to have been something invented by chunky, dateless Smith undergraduates in peasant smocks and wooden jewelry. Every other woman I know — irrespective of their education, children at home, or corporate rank — still wants the dude to change the tire.

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @Caryn

    I guess I am also a sexist. Sounds like I have good company, though!

    • #16
  17. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @Caryn

    Rob, I understand what you say about the buying meals and drinks and such and appreciate your kind of chivalrous generosity. It is very sweet. Alternately, I have a terrible time letting a man cook me a meal. And never, never, NEVER in my kitchen. Fair trade, maybe?

    I also prefer my husband do the driving. Always. By the way, I know how to change a tire, pump gas, change spark plugs, change oil, pump up tires…and haven’t done any of them since I met him (not that I want to do any of it either). Great guy. Opens doors for me, too. We have a pretty 1950s style relationship of mutual respect, admiration, and appreciation for each others’ differences. And it works very, very nicely.

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Contributor
    @DianeEllis

    Chivalry is not the same as sexism, and chivalry and feminism are not mutually exclusive.  And when it come to the feminist straw woman, I’m with Claire — the belligerent feminist of the ’70s is a phantom.

    • #18
  19. Profile Photo Inactive
    @TheMugwump

    Let’s see if I have this correct. The first Ricochet Convention will see Caryn doing the cooking, Rob providing the drinks, and Andrew as doorman. Sounds righteous to me. I will suggest Santa Fe, New Mexico as the rally point. Nighttime temperatures here dip into the 50’s even during the summer. Booyah!

    • #19
  20. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @Caryn

    @Karen

    I’m not sure I’d disagree with David926’s statement, of course, leaving in the part about abortion (why did you leave it out?). I might not word it quite as strongly, but I’m not sure the items he mentioned have had a net positive effect on society and, it’s certainly arguable, on women. Effects on women tend to trickle down to children, and thus, the family, aka the building block of society. The pill has helped in allowing women to space out or delay having children, but it’s also loosened up men’s responsibility. There is an expectation that women will be using 100% effective birth control–to the point that men don’t even ask–and that it’s her fault and problem if she gets pregnant. All of the things that David mentioned permit men to have more sex with less responsibility. Feminists claim that it allows women to do same. But do we really want to? Going back to agreeing with Drew’s first premise, I don’t think men and women are wired the same. That is particularly so when it comes to sex.

    • #20
  21. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Lilium

    I have a morbid hankering for patriarchy/sexism/chivalry/gallantry when I’m standing in a crowded train or bus with a heavy bagpack doing a balancing act as I silently berate the good-for-nothing male whippersnapper tucked comfortably in his seat.

    • #21
  22. Profile Photo Contributor
    @DianeEllis
    ~Paules: Let’s see if I have this correct. The first Ricochet Convention will see Caryn doing the cooking, Rob providing the drinks, and Andrew as doorman. Sounds righteous to me. I will suggest Santa Fe, New Mexico as the rally point. 

    Sounds like a plan, ~Paules.  Fun Ricochet fact: Rob is one of the best chefs you’ll ever know.  You definitely want him helping with the food, even if that presents a bit of gender role confusion!

    • #22
  23. Profile Photo Inactive
    @outstripp

    In Japan, where women are often employed in companies and universities as guides who lead you to the Vice President’s office, etc., they will open doors for male visitors and wait for them to pass through, since, logically enough, the honorable guest greatly outranks the lowly guide. Even so, the experience of having a frail woman hold the door for you is deeply disorienting to foreigners.

    • #23
  24. Profile Photo Inactive
    @JesusHorowitz

    Ideas, but no claim that I actually live this way:

    A1. Open the door for those if I was the first one to the door (whether or not they were women or men)

    A2. Hold the elevator door if I thought it was going to close (on a man or woman.)

    A3. Offer to buy dinner this time, unless I bought last time, or we could split (with my friend, a man or a woman)

    B1. And if I was going to college, I would want women to pay the same as me (including me getting access to scholarships so financial opportunities do not have a disparate impact)

    C1. Allow separation in restroom facilities

    C2. Allow both to go topless

    C3. Allow me to restrict my search, by gender (or “by sex”? Which is proper English?) when searching for a partner with whom to have a biological family and lifelong commitment with.

    • #24
  25. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @Caryn

    Christopher,

    “Gender” is a grammatical term, not often used in English where our nouns and verbs and such are neutral. Pronouns are about it, eg. “he” is a male gender pronoun. It’s more a case in languages that give nouns gender, eg. Spanish table (tabla) gets “la” meaning “the” because it’s a feminine noun instead of “el” which would be used for a male noun (eg. el toro, the bull). Sex is biological. There’s a huge effort underfoot to confuse the two and claim that sex has nothing to do with biology, but rather socialization or frame of mind or some such nonsense, so they use “gender” to describe what normally are sharp classifications of biology, eg XX vs XY chromosomes, to claim that they aren’t sharp at all, but are really “socially constructed.”

    Anyone want to add or correct any of that?

    • #25
  26. Profile Photo Inactive
    @JesusHorowitz
    1) In your view, what is a biblical definition of how men and women should relate?

    Okay, I’ll hit the controversial part first. I admit that God seems a bit arbitrary on this one. It’s like when the parents of twins go away and they command one of the twins: “You’re in charge, and don’t completely wreck the house, and ruin our family and all of creation along with it, not to mention put yourself in such a situation that you are left bleeding, thirsty, and naked in the gutter.”

    So, in addition God lovingly commands us to fully serve each other. The husband, by submitting to God, is in effect also submitting to fully serve his wife. The wife also submits to fully serve her husband, but in a way she takes it to a degree even closer to the example set by Jesus, for she is the twin who did not receive the above quoted command.

    Thus, when Twin-In-Charge (TIC) wants to watch Back-To-The-Future but Twin-Not-In-Charge (TNIC) wants to watch Avatar, there should be a pretty good possibility that Avatar is (continued)

    • #26
  27. Profile Photo Inactive
    @JesusHorowitz

    watched. When TIC wants to let the strange fellows at the door inside, and TNIC doesn’t think it is a good idea, there should be a pretty good chance that the strange fellows remain outside. Now what if TIC lets them in? Should TNIC physically stop TIC? No, even though TIC is possibly making a mistake.

    That’s all I have right now.

    • #27
  28. Profile Photo Inactive
    @JesusHorowitz
    Caryn: Christopher,

    “Gender” is a grammatical term, not often used in English where our nouns and… …claim that they aren’t sharp at all, but are really “socially constructed.”

    Anyone want to add or correct any of that? · Jul 8 at 11:26am

    Thank you Caryn, That clears it up a bit. In my context, it should be “sex”. Using “sex” doesn’t sound as educated, even though apparently it is.In math, many contradictions are thought to be beautiful because they reveal something of the meta-structure. I think what you are saying is that human opinion on what sex and gender is the meta-structure here, but it ain’t pretty.
    • #28
  29. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DavidWard

    I think the real damage done by feminism is in undermining respect for fatherhood. Changing divorce laws, along with the introduction of the pill and abortion on demand has hurt civilized, decent society more than any amount of big government ever could. The general acceptance of single parent families other than widowed parents is mind-boggling if one stops to think about it, unless test-tube pregnancies are 1000X more common than I’ve been aware of so far.

    • #29
  30. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Karen

    I had read somewhere hat tipping derived from the medieval custom of knights raising their visors to acknowledge their opponent before a jousting match. Or maybe I’m thinking of the military salute. I’m really disappointed in the deafening silence of feminists concerning gender equality in the developing world. If a woman condemned to death by stoning is this modern age isn’t just cause to burn your bra in protest, I don’t know what is. I’m all for both sexes extending more courtesy and respect to each other, but as in the case in Iran, I’m also up for cracking some skulls when appropriate.

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.