Kindness Is Not Sexism, So Get Over It


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Lately I have been sent a link from multiple people regarding a study that was done in Boston (figures, it had to be my home town…). The results of the study suggest that there are two types of ‘sexism,’ which are, of course, only put forth by men.

Portrait of male business owner opening diner door

Before we go any further, let’s consult the dictionary for the definition of sexism:

1. Attitudes or behavior based on traditional stereotypes of gender roles.
2. Discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex or gender, as in restricted job opportunities, especially such discrimination directed against women.
3. Ingrained and institutionalized prejudice against or hatred of women; misogyny.

Please keep this in mind as you continue reading.

Now, let’s get to the point (?) of the study in question (Titled: Why chivalry may not always be what it seems: Men who hold doors open and smile may actually be sexist, study claims) The study separates the two types of sexism as “hostile” and “benevolent.” Since nobody can deny there is of course hostile sexism in the world, just like there is hostile racism, nationalism, and the like, I will focus on the benevolent sexism because that is where kind men are being shamed by their actions towards women, when their intentions are good.

One of the traits of a ‘benevolent sexist’ is that he holds doors open for women. Here is an excerpt regarding this type of behavior:

“US researchers argue that while women may enjoy being showered with attention, benevolent sexism is ‘insidious’ and men who are guilty of it see women as incompetent beings who require their ‘cherished protection’.

Professor Judith Hall, of Northeastern University in Boston, said: ‘Benevolent sexism is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing that perpetuates support for gender inequality among women. 


‘These supposed gestures of good faith may entice women to accept the status quo in society because sexism literally looks welcoming, appealing and harmless.’

Men who are guilty of benevolent sexism see women as ‘warm and pure, yet helpless and incompetent beings’.

Study co-author Jin Goh said: ‘Benevolent sexist men hold women in high regard and are willing to sacrifice themselves to save and protect women. 

However, benevolent sexist men perceive women as the weaker gender at the same time.”

Look out, you guys! We see women as pure, hold them in high regard, and are willing to sacrifice ourselves to save and protect them. If this doesn’t sound like the manifestation of evil in a man’s body, I don’t know what is…

*Insert eye-roll here*

Other “warning signs” (more sarcasm) of benevolent sexism? We refuse to split a bill, offer a woman our jacket when they are cold, and call women ‘love’ or ‘dear.’

Well, not that I make a habit of calling women love or dear, but I know just as many women who use that terminology as I do men…so, are they benevolent sexists, too?

Before we go any further, let’s refer back to the original definition of sexism, shall we? You may recall it includes words such as discrimination, devaluation, and hatred of women. So far, I see precisely zero grounds to support any of these claims in the examples given for benevolent sexism…perhaps, sexism isn’t the right word to use here.


Articles and studies such as this are chewing away at the moral fiber of men. We are literally being told that acts of kindness towards women are bad, and that just because a woman is physically able of doing something herself, means that if we offer to help it is devaluing her, or showing a hatred against her.

I’m sorry, I just can’t with this.

Do you know why I offer my jacket to my girlfriend when she is cold? Because I weigh twice as much as she does and I have more insulation than she does, and she is shivering when I am not. Do you know why I hold the door open for her? Because I was taught it was good manners and I hold the door open for everyone. Do you know why I want to protect her? Because I love and care about her.

Now, can someone please tell me how a line can be drawn between devaluation and hatred of women, and the acts of kindness and generosity the study claims to be warning signs of it? There is no man I have ever spoken to who has told me he holds doors open for women because he doesn’t think she is physically capable of doing it herself. That, would just be ridiculous. [Most] men are not that stupid.

I wonder, though…if the professor who conducted the study was faced with a large, heavy door that she was unable to open because she was not physically strong enough – if a large weightlifting man opened it for her so she could walk through, what kind of sexism would that be?

We have a big problem with men who beat women. Domestic violence. Emotional abuse. Toxic relationships. We have real problems put forth by men who are actually evil, and there are funds being put into studies trying to defend the idea that performing acts of kindness towards women is a sign of hatred towards her? Talk about a profound misuse of human energy.

This is exactly why chivalry is dying. It is why manners are so rare. It is why people are no longer connecting on deeper, emotional levels. Men are terrified of doing what they were taught kindhearted people do, because someone is going to be offended by it and lash out.


By vilifying this kind behavior, we are strangling the morality of society. We are telling our fellow humans not to watch out for each other, not to protect each other, not to be polite to each other. Well, unless they happen to be the same sex as you, because then it would be okay (maybe).

It is absolutely true that a woman can do all of these things by herself – but I will never stop fighting for the idea that a good man will always be there to help her, anyway.


If you want to read the drivel that inspired this article, you can check it out here.


Click here to get my new e-book, The Modern Man’s Guide To Chivalry And Courtship!



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  1. MeAndDating on March 12, 2015 at 10:07 am

    It’s a sad state of affairs in the world when men confuse attention for attraction and women think manners is manipulation. Manners don’t cost anything, but are worth a lot. I open doors for women, pull out chairs not just in restaurants but at home, not because I’m trying to impress onlookers or trying to seduce a woman, but because it’s my way of showing a woman respect and hinting that I can and want to take care of her.

    We’ve devolved to where men and women are behaving in public like neanderthals in a cave, whereas being charming is more fun and shows a touch of class. It saddens me to have dated women who occasionally have said, “I don’t know how much more chivalry I can take”. Guess what? I never saw them again because their not valuing consideration tells me that they won’t reciprocate.

  2. Meg on March 12, 2015 at 10:44 am

    As a woman, I think the study mentioned is ridiculous. I’ve had men speed up walking just so they could open the door for me, and I’ve had men rush in the door ahead of me letting the door slam shut in my face. To me, it’s a matter of manners. Some people have them and some don’t. Maybe it’s because I’m from the south, but I’m used to men being chivalrous and using good manners. When they don’t, it’s rude. Also, it’s not just for men. I have opened plenty of doors for others (elderly, kids, men, women) to go ahead of me. It all comes down to having good manners whether you are male or female. While I am perfectly capable of opening a door, etc., I am also capable of accepting a chivalrous act and appreciating it.

    • Ginger Snaps Barlow on March 12, 2015 at 11:17 am

      Right there with you Meg… I grew up down south and it was just a given that a lady was going to be treated with respect and care.

    • Thor on August 8, 2016 at 1:37 am

      I’m much more likely to open door for a fellow man since they don’t carry around a bunch baggage and you don’t have to wonder if the next one is a landmine.
      I remember watching a man nicely offer a women a seat on a subway (who was pregnant) and she responded by yelling at him that he was being sexist.

      Women have no one but themselves to blame.

  3. Ginger Snaps Barlow on March 12, 2015 at 11:15 am

    What a stupid conclusion for a study (not your conclusions, theirs). I love when a man opens a door for me… I see it as a sign of respect or kindness. I never think “Oh, he thinks I’m weak…” And when my man carries my bags for me (practically anything I’m carrying except my purse) I don’t consider it as demeaning or offensive. He loves me and he likes to make things easy for me and yeah, he’s stronger than me, too. It’s a fact, not a stereotype.

    I just had a conversation this week in my office with a woman who complained when a guy walking into the building with us held the door for us. She lit into him saying she could open the door herself and doesn’t need a man to do that. I smiled at him and said thank you, like I always do. In work situations, I won’t stand there and wait for a man to open the door first — if I get there first, I open it and usually hold it for him. With men who I have a personal connection to (like my man, my sons), I’ll stand back and wait and expect it from them. They can show me they value me by doing that and I show appreciation in return.

  4. Nancy Cokinda on March 12, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Kindness is indeed being bred out of the American culture. Kindness shows respect and care. I open doors for other people, give my seat to an elderly person or a pregnant woman, and treat those around me with kindness. And I am a 63 year old lady. When another person shows me kindness, I respond with a pleasant thank you. It’s called civility. Why are today’s American women being programmed to behave like snarling dogs in a dog fight? In the world of canines, this would be called a “fear biter.” And therein probably lies the problem. American women today are confused, have misapplied concepts, and just seem to be lashing out in anger at anybody or anyone—-even a small child who opens a door—- who they misconstrue as “attacking” their personal sense of being capable. This is really out of whack! Most human behaviors is not intended to be one extreme or the other. There is a concept called “degrees”—and it takes mature, intelligent human judgement to gauge another’s intention, and gauge our own responses. Best to err on the side of low-key, kindness, and giving others the benefit of the doubt. That is a demonstration of true power— not angry, shrill hostility, or fear biting. I don’t think Jackie Kennedy ever slapped someone for opening a door for her.

  5. Nick on March 12, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    A couple of weeks ago I read James’s articles on the New Chivalry movement and felt like I was getting to a good place with my chivalry.

    Then yesterday that sexism and chivalry study was published and I was really thrown off by it.

    Sometimes it feels like we men are under attack. We are thrown into one big bucket … “men” … and it feels like we are all bad, all rapists, all violent and all misogynistic. I sometimes feel ashamed to be a man! I get “penis shame”!

    Anyways, I decided to take action and I forwarded the study to a number of women in my life. Ranging in age from twenties up to sixties, all very strong women (some formidable even!),

    My response rate was almost 100% and NOT ONE woman agreed with the article! They all like to be treated kindly!

    Here are some excerpts from replies I received:


    “I read the article I think these researchers had too much time on their hands lol. I have always taught Chris and always remind Chang to be gentleman . Not to do everything but at least get off the couch to help and all do it together. Ladies I know around my age and including myself like a bit of old school chivalry and it will form a good first impression. ”

    “Chivalry is quite an interesting thing, thanks for asking me. I can understand that people who think it comes from a place of thinking women are more feeble but that’s not a feeling I share. If a man open a door for me I think of him as being polite, not sexist”

    “Don’t worry about definitions of chivalry, feel what is there for you in your embodiment of love.”

    “I’m a liberal conservative and love to be treated chivalrously”


    My informal survey matches my life experience.

    So what the F*CK IS GOING ON?

    I think I’ve worked it out!!

    I’m learning to differentiate feminists from misandrists.
    – A feminist wants equality, I am a feminist.
    – A misandrist hates men, they want a society where women rule men, they make sweeping generalisations about men and throw us all into the “man bucket”.

    I’m learning to see the misandrists and ignore them. Unfortunately they are very prevalent in academia, government and media.

    So, finally, back to chivalry. This is the way I approach it:
    – Examine my attitudes to women. Am I being chivalrous because I see them as lesser than? Feeble? Or am I being chivalrous because I love and respect women?
    – Examine my sexual motives. Am I chivalrous only to women I think I have a chance of sleeping with?
    – Examine my attitudes to kindness. Am I being chivalrous because I am just a kind person who looks after people?
    – Ask the woman I’m with how she feels. Some women insist on paying half, some don’t like car doors being opened. I have a dialog, I listen to what she wants and I modify my behaviour.

    If I’m coming from the right attitude and listening to my woman, then I’m going to be chivalrous and the misandrists can go and get stuffed!!!

  6. Joe on March 12, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Here’s the conclusion that SHOULD be drawn from the study. Sociology is an obsolete, dying academic filled with old researchers struggling to stay relevant. The only way to make money in that field is to publish something that turns heads & ruffles feathers, which is the reason such studies become viral. People pass it around “Can you BELIEVE what they said here?” Publicity. I personally laugh it off & ignore it. Maybe that’s the best thing to do – could put this tired field to rest.
    JAMES, I’ve been going over a question in my head (totally unrelated to this) on which I’d love to hear your take. Where should I send it? Facebook? Do you have a work Email?

    • Nick on March 12, 2015 at 10:43 pm

      Joe, the study was done by psychologists, not sociologists.

  7. arrowlynx on March 13, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Well, well……… women bear resposibility in science but obviously only for their own gender. They bear responsibility in politics but obviously only for their own gender. They bear responsibility in social media but obviously only for their own gender and I could continue….. police, worker’s councils, lawyers……
    They believe if they bear a child they have shown that they have done their feminin part and then they can treat men like shit…….. yes I know not all women perhaps only a few, but ones who are in public and they produce a rough climate. And you ask why men dont want to commit…… You never know when this brainwashing reaches a woman….. after 2 years marriage…. after 10 years? oh no…….
    Every now and then a one night stand and otherwise everybody goes his… sorry her own way. I think that would be a good solution……

    • Christina on April 19, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      Don’t let misandry or your own personal feelings about the women in your life cloud your mind. You sound like you’re carrying some personal baggage, and from your perspective it may be justified, but let me re-assure you that society isn’t as hard or conspiratorial as you may think it is.

      I aspire to become a writer and I want to write for all people about all people, not just about women or for women. In fact, I have always found myself more interested in war novels, comedies and so-called “macho” writers (like Hemingway) than in more subdued social stories (like those of Dickens) or romances. Despite my own negative experiences with men, which are enough to turn most women into misandrists (I may have been one myself when I was a depressed and bullied teenager, but thankfully I realized the stupidity of any kind of sexism), I have learned that every gender has a heavy load to bear, because every human has to bear a load. One of the heaviest loads is war, which is very male-dominant.

      At the same time I raise awareness for injustices of all kinds. People ask me if I’m a social warrior or a socialist or a feminist — I tell them I’m a humanist. I like humanity, what more can I say? I have faith in it, come what may. That’s because a lot of people much wiser than me had faith in humanity, people like Einstein, Mark Twain, Gandhi, Helen Keller. I think it’s reasonable to follow their lead.

      You are right in saying that a minority of women are manipulated into shaming men. I am convinced that any kind of bias in today’s society is done for monetary reasons. Capitalists, or businessmen rather, realize that they can underpay women if they promote misogyny on one hand; on the other hand they use feminism to encourage women to work hard or even dangerous jobs. I know a lot of women who are tricked into studying biochemistry and chemistry and eventually end up working jobs where the fumes alone sterilize them for life. A lot of false information is given to us about the male and female anatomy in schools, or a lot of information is left out, so we’re left thinking that women and men have fundamentally the same bodies, the same nervous systems, the same brains. Not only is every individual human being different, but men and women have general differences, due to different biological wiring. There are some jobs out there that are more dangerous to women than to men, while there are other jobs that are easier for women than for men. Instead of embracing diversity for the benefits of humanity and creating equality by respecting everybody for what they bring to society (well, within reason — there are some felons out there I find hard to find respect for), myths like benevolent sexism and outrageously absurd statistics of crime against women (if news outlets were to be believed, every third American male is a potential rapist or wife-beater, apparently) are perpetuated in order to divide society and pit communities against each other, all for the purpose of underpaying one community and than another. The capitalist wields the dual blade of misandry/misogyny in order to underpay women for hard work, and then he’ll do the same with racism/reverse-racism to underpay foreigners, and before you know it everybody, including white men because the capitalist looks upon as equally potential wage-slave labor, are underpaid and overworked.

      Should we give up on love then and resort to one-night-stands, as you propose? No, the worst thing we could do is become cynical or forget how to love. Love, respect and friendship don’t occur on their own, involuntarily. They have to be learned and taught, and there’s always the danger of letting a stray crime, rejection or temptation of money phase us.
      As an aspiring writer I’ve come across a lot of rejection and criticism. If I would let that phase me, I wouldn’t call myself an aspiring writer anymore. I don’t stop my search for Mr Right just because I’ve found a couple Mr Wrongs, in love as well as in life and in my career. To me, the most important things society should focus on is stop wars, cure the sick, house the homeless and feed the hungry. Hard work and sympathy for the needy will bring us the mutual respect we are in such dire need of.

  8. ddupre315 on March 14, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    I’ve yet to see or hear anyone be chastised for holding a door open for someone else other than on studies people report on. Are there actually women out there who are bitchy enough to be outright offended by such an act? I think it is very possible that that woman is a big minority in America and it is VERY possible people reporting, doing studies on this and offering their pro opinions on the matter are the real problem and I agree that these types of studies are a huge misuse of funds and energy.

    By the way, if I ever see a woman berate a man for opening a door or pulling out a chair for her I hope I have the balls to step up and thank him for continuing to be a real man.

  9. Jordache Dailey on March 16, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    am i the only one pissed off about ‘hatred against women’ as a definition for sexism?! which basically means only someone who hates women is a sexist?!

  10. Jaxon on March 16, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Interesting… when I was in college (30+ years ago), one would read exactly the same kind of article or study discussing male sexism and attempts to subjugate women through “perfectly innocent acts of kindness”. This is just a rehash posing as original thought. College guys are easy targets because they really don’t know what’s going on but they sure can look good as if they do!

    When someone opens the door for me, I appreciate it and say “thank you”. I was raised that when approaching a door, hold it open for the person you’re with (male or female), as an act of courtesy & kindness. Nothing more. If when I enter a building and there’s people close behind me, I’ll enter and hold the door for them.

    Never had anyone give me a hard time for being polite and more often than not, they simply said “thank you”.

    You’re welcome.

  11. Burnttoast on March 16, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Finally someone I agree with. In face this is why I do not do any electrical work for women anymore. It is beneath them to really think they need a “mans help” me working for women only perpetuates this form of sexism. A women has a flat tire, hell no, would not dare to insult her to offer help. In fact any of the traditional “man stuff” should only be done by women now as anything less is coddling and clinging to our patriarchal sexist memory! OK men all blue collar men, let us own our sexism, refuse to do anything for women, open a door cut down a tree, fix her car, plumbing anything using tools or strength, to no longer offer help in any way and in fact ask them for help for all the thing we used to wrongly feel we had to do for them out of some egocentric chivalry !!! OK Women I need some big trees moved and cut up, here I am empowering you, anyone ready to jump in?

    • Christina on April 19, 2016 at 3:54 pm

      That’s exactly what these false-feminists /want/ you to think. First they call themselves feminists when they’re actually misandrists, and then they scare women into loathing men and men into loathing women. They want to discourage men from doing nice things to women.

      The meaning of being a true Samaritan is to stick by your principles regardless what opposition you face. If you were raised to treat women and men equally or to show your respect to women, then continue to do so, even if you come across a few or even a lot of women who come across as believers of benevolent sexism. Because if you don’t, then you are actually showing contempt for all women, including those who, like myself, appreciate any help we get and hate the idea of benevolent sexism as much as you do.

      The worst thing that can happen to society is being further divided. This isn’t a time to be divided. We should cooperate and fix the ills in this world.

      If a guy breaks into somebody’s house, does that mean all men are robbers? No!
      If a woman kills a guy, does that mean all women are murderers? No!

      A criminal, whether it’s a robber, a murder or a plain socially and morally repugnant person who uses social justice as a cover to discriminate others (like the believers of “benevolent sexism” do), is a criminal devoid of gender and culture. It’s an individual, not a gender or a nationality.

      So don’t point your finger at all women when you mean a small group of trouble-makers, just like I don’t point my finger at all men or at all women if I come across a hate-group.

      A year has passed, and if you get to read this (which I hope you will), I’m curious to know if you’re stance or your situation has changed. Have you come across more believers of benevolent sexism or misandrists, and how do other blue-collar workers like yourself cope with them? Just curious, sorry if I seem too inquisitive

  12. noemievallieres on March 16, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Hi! Great post! I really enjoyed your article. I totally agree with you. People have forgotten that little sacrifices for others that gentlemen do , such as having manners, being polite, offering your seat to elders, holding the doors to others, saying good morning to people, can make a huge impact around us. Chivalry seemed to have lost its true meaning due to a rise of individualistic values. I feel we have lost chivalry for the benefit of gender equality. However, even though I am an empowered and independent women, I like to be taken care of and I should not be ashamed of that. In no way does chivalry implies sexism. I am an old fashioned person as well and I often gets criticized for that. Gallantry and gentleman are not outdated, they signifies respect, politeness and confidence. Once again good job! You should check out my article on Chivalry 2.0 at I would greatly appreciate feedback from you. Take care xo

    • Nick on March 16, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      The link is asking for a user name and password to wordpress

  13. noemievallieres on March 16, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Sorry Nick for the inconvenience, here is a new link

  14. Mango on March 16, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Shoutout to other women who hold doors open for other women! I can assure you I am not doing it because they are getting my special attention–it’s called being polite..

    • Bellaisa on March 17, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      Yep! I always hold the door open for everyone, young/old, male/female. To be honest, I get annoyed when men and women don’t hold the door open for me, especially when I am right there and the door slams into me as I reopen it. It’s just rude.

      And, call me crazy, but I find a man who holds the door open and lets me go through first respectful and, in a way, it puts me on a pedestal. I don’t see him thinking that I am the lesser person. I see him thinking that he respects me enough to let me go first.

  15. Susan on March 21, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Guys are put in an awful position in our society by feminists. They cannot be either kind nor unkind. It’s like the only option they have is to not exist. Take heart, though; all women are not feminists. In fact, I think there are really on a very vocal few who believe this kind of claptrap. Heck, I am a woman and *I* open doors for women (or men, for that matter) when their hands are full or they are juggling a stroller or whatever. If I can help someone in some small way, I do. So yeah, I smile and open doors for people. Obviously I am a self-loathing misogynist pig.

    • Kerri on April 10, 2016 at 10:55 am

      I agree with your post. I do think at times men are put in an awful position. I have never felt insulted if a man held a door open for me, (or if a woman held a door open for me). I hold doors open for men or women. It’s never seemed like a big issue except one time, and I was the one holding open the door. Once I was holding a door open for a man who was carrying a very small baby and he refused to go in, until a man came and held the door open. Not kidding! I felt like he was saying that my gesture wasn’t good enough. Very rude!

  16. Christina on April 19, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Another woman posting here….

    I am /so/ angry by this “benevolent sexism” balogna. In my opinion, it’s perpetuated by female misogynists and misandrists disgused as feminists. Yep, female misogynists exist. For whatever reason they believe that true gender equality means that women are treated like dirt. At the same time, they embed the horrible idea in men that women hate when they do favors for them, and in women the idiotic idea that every man who does something nice for you is a predator. Benevolent sexism is just another way to divide humanity and make two halves of humanity hate each other.
    I don’t cotton on to it, and I hope that other men and women are taken in by it either.
    Whenever a guy does something nice for me, regardless how old he is or what he looks like, I’m polite and grateful. I’m grateful for anything nice that anybody does for me. And often I do nice things for guys too — if I see anybody, man or woman, who has their hands full and are trying to get through a closed door, of course I open the door for them. And I am willing to give up my seat in public transport for elderly or invalids of any age. True equality means mutual respect between the sexes, not mutual hatred or paranoia.

    I know some girls who became militant misandrists after breaking up with their boyfriends. They have the worst opinions of men and I try to call them out on it, but they just ignore me. I point out that with their misandrist ideas and their apathetic attitudes they are not only hurting men, but they are hurting women as well, they still ignore me.

    It’s good to read an article that points out how stupid benevolent sexism is. It’s also reassuring reading the smart comments posted here.

    What bugs me most about “benevolent sexism” is that it’s passed off as feminism. There are so many false-feminists and feminist-coated misandrists out there today that it’s dangerous to identify oneself as a feminist without being attacked. So I identify myself as a humanist: I want mutual respect and equal rights for everybody of every gender and culture. It’s the 21st century, we ought to cooperating around the world to fight disease and hunger instead of writing studies about “benevolent sexism”. Sigh.

  17. Cassidy Cork on July 10, 2016 at 2:18 am

    Read this. It gives a different perspective on chivalry.

  18. Thor on August 8, 2016 at 1:30 am

    It’s actually sexist against men.. suggesting men are supposed to treat women as special snowflakes.
    I was taught by my mother and grandmother to hold doors open for women but I stopped when I realized it just made me a “bad person” for following the matriarchy.

    And then I realized it wasn’t really fair anyways.. why should I treat anyone special just because they are female.

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