The gentleman is dead, long live the gentle person

I tried opening the door for a woman one day, and she pushed me and scolded me for being chauvinist. This felt very confusing for me. Most people don’t complain when I’m being kind, but some women do. Discourses and roles clashing. Not very good for the certainty of one’s identity.

I’ve thought up a solution, that should cater to everyone’s needs, atleast from an ethical perspective. It’s about negative and positive freedom. Positive freedom is about behavior that increases one’s personal freedom on the account of others. Examples could be taking more food for yourself so that there’s not enough for everyone else, cutting in lines, or speaking in a manner that mutes others. Negative freedom on the other hand, is about behavior that increases one’s personal freedom without decreasing others. Examples could be taking more food for yourself while thinking about how much you leave for everyone else, standing in line so you get served while others also gets their turn, or speaking in a manner that allows you to voice your opinion while others also gets to speak.

That’s basically it, but just to be clear; Opening the door for someone else doesn’t take anything from someone else’s freedom. It’s not gender-biased, it’s something that any person could do. If a woman opens the door for me, that doesn’t stop me from walking through the door. It’s something that any gentle person could do. It’s virtuous, and maybe even righteous.

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About RobinOberg

M.Sc. Social Anthropology M.A. Applied Cultural Analysis
This entry was posted in freedom, individuallism, symbolic anthropology. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The gentleman is dead, long live the gentle person

  1. Sara the Cow says:

    YOU are absolutely right! If someone did that to me, with the doorincident, I would problably start laughing of shock! People are so weird…. well well.. hope you´re not afraid of being polite nowadays.. 😉

    • yidaki says:

      I try to just be myself, because there is not really much else I can do. But now there’s always this thought of whether I’m doing the right thing or not. I’m being polite to show consideration, not to make people upset. But I guess you can’t please everyone 🙂

  2. I always try to live my life by ‘What you give out, you get back…’

    Keep offering kind gestures, people can choose to receive or to ignore. Either way, it has to be unconditional and without expectation of thank you or reaction.

    The Universe will reward you!

    All the best,

    David
    DSP

    • yidaki says:

      Well, I guess I can interpret a woman pushing me as a reward from the Universe. Or I can just laugh. It’s never wrong to laugh (and people who say it’s wrong to laugh, they are…well, wrong :))

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