Carol Roth: Dear militant feminists, stop messing it up for the rest of us

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My husband has opened the car door for me every single time we have arrived at our vehicle since we met nearly 22 years ago. Colleagues and strangers open doors and let me enter a building or room first. Other work associates let me order first at the restaurant. And, here’s an almost “secret”… I absolutely love it.

The website Eater, which describes itself a "the source for people who care about dining and drinking in the world’s best food cities," recently ran an article that explained that many restaurants are doing away with classic training and etiquette, like serving the women at the table first and not using phrasing like “ladies” or “gentlemen” because they are eliminating “soft sexism.”

These are merely a few examples in a long list of grievances that are good manners being killed because some women don’t understand what equality or sexism really means.


A restaurant serving women first is a sign of class, elegance and respect. If you are offended by that, have a hard think about why you are so angry.

So, ultra-“feminists” here’s my request: be miserable if you want, but stop ruining chivalry, manners and civility for the rest of us.

Equality is about being seen as equal in the eyes of the law. It does not mean that we are all equal in talent, beauty, strength, material possessions, free time, health, etc. Not only is that an unrealistic objective, it certainly has nothing to do with basic manners.

I am very grateful to the women who came before me, who fought for my and other women’s rights including voting and equal pay. While I appreciate immensely their sacrifices and hard work, I also can relish in the fact that because they have done so, there’s no other place or time in history where it is better to be a woman than right now in the United States of America.

There are women around the world who are truly oppressed, who aren’t allowed basic human rights, who are caned for adultery, who can’t do basic tasks without the accompaniment and approval of men.

We can continue to fight for them, while still appreciating the manners of a man—or anyone, for that matter- who is holding the door open for you.

To dote on a woman and to raise her up on a pedestal is a signal of respect, not a reflection of inferiority. While it may be a distinction, it’s not a discrimination, as it certainly doesn’t hold a woman back. And, while you may not want a man to offer up his seat on the bus while you show your grit and determination to stand, I would welcome the gesture, after a long day in four-inch heels, even if I ultimately turned it down.

I appreciate the fact that when the Titanic sunk, the women and children were allowed off first, and would appreciate the same courtesy today.

I am glad I was never eligible for the draft. I appreciate when a man across the aisle of the plane lets me go first vs. the ones that jockey with me for position -- or worse, hit me in the head fighting to be the first to get their luggage down. I even give bonus points to the men that offer to take my luggage down for me, almost always responding with a thank you and “I am glad to see that chivalry is not dead.”


So, to the women who are offended by civility and manners, I again politely ask you to stop screwing it up for the rest of us and ruining common courtesy in society.

And to the chivalrous men, your courtesies are appreciated by many. I say thank you as I virtually curtsy in respect, not in deference.