When I woke up this morning, I had no idea I'd be setting the women's rights movement back 100 years. But alas, that's what happened. Best of all, it took me less than 10 seconds to do.
As I was departing a Starbucks, I noted a woman a few paces behind me. The cafe layout didn't allow a traditional open-the-door-and-wait-for-her-to-pass manoeuvre, so I opted to walk through the door then twirl around as I waited for her to go through. After all, chivalry requires improvisation sometimes.
Had it been a man behind me, I probably would have done the polite-but-effortless Herculean reverse stretch of the arm while still walking forward until my fingers release the final inch of the door. Women get full service.
"I don't need a man to hold doors open for me," she said, before stopping in her tracks and refusing to pass through the door.
She didn't have her hands full, nor was she pushing a stroller or doing anything else that would render her physically incapable of opening the door. I just thought it was how one treats a lady.
Yes, I targeted my victim because she was a woman. My act of chivalry was but a hate crime in disguise.
"You're welcome," I replied, not wavering from my post.
After a few moments of stalemated stagnation, my counterpart relented and passed through the gateway to gender oppression. Albeit not without a pronounced huff and roll of the eyes.
My offer to hold the door open wasn't an act of malice, and it certainly wasn't because she I felt she was an inferior human being. It was because I was raised not to be one.
Manners and courtesy were grilled into me from a young age. I hold doors open; I walk women to do the door; I help ladies with their coats.
Men under 30 -- myself included -- have been raised in an emasculating society. From males wearing "This is what a feminist looks like" t-shirts to the 20-something Tucker Max fanboys whose mid-20s are dominated by a decade long cycle of drinking and hookups, oftentimes men are nowhere to be found.
Today's "men" are stuck in a post-adolescent, pre-adulthood limbo while enlightened women fight for independence by the supposedly brave and principled act of not walking through an open door.
Chivalry is an exercise in basic human decency, not an effort to subjugate women. To believe that ladies should be treated as such should not be a controversial -- let alone offensive --notion.
For that reason, should I ever run into a cranky, 30-something, misguided feminist again, I will do as I was raised and hold open the door.
<strong>Who:</strong> Ann Sweeney (53) <strong>Why:</strong> In a world where young girls dream of being like Cinderella, Snow White, and Jasmine -- we can't help but think how cool it is that there's a new Disney princess to look up to: Ann Sweeney. As the co-chair of Disney Media Networks and President of Disney-ABC Television Group, she is a woman in a predominately male business. Sweeney uses this platform to work in organizations such as Cable Positive - a group of CEOs that work with the media's resources in the fight against AIDS. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Grace Coddington (70) <strong>Why:</strong> The Creative Director for U.S. <em>Vogue</em> stole the show in the 2009 documentary "The September Issue" where she fearlessly goes head to head with <a href="http://www.themortonreport.com/celebrity/notables/is-vogue-editor-in-chief-anna-wintour-shopping-memoir/" target="_hplink">"ice-queen"</a> Anna Wintour. It goes without saying, her trademark hair is pretty amazing, too. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Wallis Annenberg (72) <strong>Why:</strong> She's not your average philanthropic socialite! The heiress publisher-turned-public benefactor donates her time and money to making cities like Los Angeles well rounded and beautiful. Bob Colacello's portrait of Miss Annenberg for <em><a href="http://www.vanityfair.com/style/features/2009/10/wallis-annenberg200910" target="_hplink">Vanity Fair</a></em> is one of our favorites. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Dianne Feinstein (78) <strong>Why:</strong> In many ways, it seems the San-Francisco born Feinstein has been a heavy-hitter since the day she was born. The former (and first-female) San Francisco Mayor is a California girl thru-and-thru who has survived divorce, death, and even representing the Democrats in the Senate. Photo: Getty
Who: Oprah Winfrey (57) Why: Oh Oprah, how do we love thee? Let me count the ways... besides being "arguably the world's most powerful woman," according to <em><a href="http://entertainment.time.com/" target="_hplink">TIME</a></em>, Oprah has a philanthropic compulsion to match her monetary earnings. Through her <a href="http://www.oprah.com/index.html" target="_hplink">Angel Network</a> and <a href="http://www.oprah.com/entertainment/Oprah-Winfrey-Leadership-Academy-for-Girls" target="_hplink">Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy</a>, she has supported women's shelters, built youth centers and homes, created academic scholarships and established more than 50 schools around the world. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Donna Karan (63) <strong>Why:</strong> The international wellness crusader started her <a href="http://www.urbanzen.org/" target="_hplink">Urban Zen Foundation</a> (UZF) in the months following her husband's death to cancer. The UZF and the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy programs strive to integrate of yoga, meditation and aromatherapy into conventional treatment regimens. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who: </strong>Joan Didion (76) <strong>Why:</strong> After the literary icon behind "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" and "Play It As It Lays" endured the deaths of both her husband and daughter - she gave us the gift of "The Year Of Magical Thinking". "Blue Nights," Joan Didion's memoir about her daughter, Quintana, will be released on Nov. 1, 2011. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Maria Shriver (55) <strong>Why:</strong> After experiencing public betrayal, Shriver really showed her grace. She's won a Peabody Award and two Emmys for her broadcast journalism, but she's won the heart of her fans through her empathy and reliability. Post-scandal, she's back on the saddle again -- Shriver <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/14/maria-shriver-interviews-wallis-annenberg_n_963415.html#s361877" target="_hplink">interviewed</a> Wallis Annenberg for <em>Los Angeles Magazine</em>'s inaugural "Women's Issue". Photo: Getty
<strong>Who: </strong>Barbara Walters (82) <strong>Why: </strong>She's undeniably the queen of interviews having questioned the likes of Monica Lewinsky, Hugo Chavez, Anna Wintour, Katherine Hepburn and Anwar Al Sadat -- to name a few. Now holding the reigns on <em>The View</em> she's as strong as she's ever been. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Indra Nooyi (55) <strong>Why:</strong> The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo was the 2011 <a href="http://www.blogher.com/" target="_hplink">BlogHer</a> Keynote speaker and blew the crowd away. Business Week quoted Roger Enrico as saying, "Indra can drive as deep and hard as anyone I've ever met, but she can do it with a sense of heart and fun." Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Ellen Degeneres (53) <strong>Why:</strong> The 13-time Emmy winner has more than a fantastic sense of humor going for her. Not only did she risk <em>everything</em> to come out and conquer LGBT issues, she consistently supports the charitable efforts of the <a href="http://ellen.warnerbros.com/2011/05/please_help_the_tornado_victims_0525.php" target="_hplink">American Red Cross</a> and the <a href="http://ellen.warnerbros.com/2011/09/donate_to_farm_sanctuary_0916.php" target="_hplink">Farm Sanctuary</a>. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Bonnie Raitt (61) <strong>Why:</strong> The best-selling, classic blues-playing rockstar follows in rebel music history with her long-standing political activism. She frequently speaks out against politicians she doesn't support and just as often she praises those she admires. In 2000, she was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame - for a game that mostly men play - but we aren't knocking her dad, John, because we loved him too. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Meryl Streep (62) <strong>Why:</strong> Not only does she have 16 Academy Award nominations and 25 Golden Globe nominations, but she often has won these accolades playing roles that defy the gender roles assigned to women. Streep plays Margaret Thatcher in the upcoming film, "The Iron Lady". Photo: Getty
Who: Hillary Clinton (63) Why: The current Secretary of State is no stranger to gossip. She has always risen above adversity with dignity and style. Not only was she an active First Lady, but she did as we know, run for President herself. No shame in that! Photo: Getty
Who: Diane Sawyer (65) Why: The former host of <em>Good Morning America </em>and current anchor of <em>ABC World News</em> has interviewed famous people such as Robert McNamara, Nancy Pelosi, Richard Nixon, Nancy Reagan, Madonna, and Roman Polanski. She was one accused of being "Deep Throat" and has fought the "Mommy War" rumors with ease. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Angela Merkel (57) <strong>Why:</strong> The current Chancellor of Germany has epitomized a female in a position of leadership. <em><a href="http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2066367_2066369_2066098,00.html #ixzz1bTuNodMU " target="_hplink">TIME Magazine</a></em> once said, she has "a spirit of compromise in the service of a genuine ambition -- and fed by a desire for openness." According to <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/worlds-100-powerful-women-angela-merkel-hillary-clinton/story?id=14364193" target="_hplink">ABC News</a>, Merkel is the "undisputed leader of the EU." Not bad. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Jill Abramson (57) <strong>Why:</strong> We call her "The Pioneer" because Jill Abramson is the first female editor of the <em>New York Times</em> in the newspaper's history. Some rumors have her as difficult to work with and others proclaim her dedication to NYC based on the subway token tattoo she has on her right shoulder (via <em><a href="http://www.forbes.com/profile/jill-abramson/" target="_hplink">Forbes</a></em>). Either way you swing it, she's a woman who is revolutionizing the way women are viewed in media and publishing. Photo: Patrick McMullan
<strong>Who:</strong> Condoleezza Rice (56) <strong>Why:</strong> The former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor did not forget the importance of strong educational roots. After her time concluded at the White House, Rice returned to Stanford as a Political Economy Professor in the Graduate School of Business. Rice has been prolific in female society roles. She is on the Board at both the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Gloria Steinem (77) <strong>Why:</strong> As the leader of the Women's Liberation Movement, Steinem has been at this for a while -- and she's not backing down. She co-founded the Women's Media Center, the Coalition of Labor Union Women and <em>Ms. Magazine</em>. She is writing a book about her activism, with the working title of "Road to the Heart: America As if Everyone Mattered." Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Michelle Pfeiffer (53) <strong>Why:</strong> The one-time Cat woman has shied away from press in the past, but her recent cover for <em>Elle Magazine</em>'s "Women In Hollywood 2011" issue has reminded us all that she never really left the limelight. Photo: Getty
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