Looking to Emasculate a Man? Open His Door for Him!


Congratulations, womyn! We’ve finally found the key to destroying masculinity (THE GOAL, I say. THE GOAL, you echo) and it’s so simple that I cannot believe we haven’t of it before. Turns out that all you have to do to turn a man into a frantic, insecure mess is to hold the door open for him and allow him to walk in before you. It tears them apart! PATRIARCHY DESTROYED. MATRIARCHY IMPLEMENTED. OUR WORK HERE IS DONE.

Recent research out of Purdue University suggests that many men experience lower self-esteem after having a door held open for them (particularly if the door holder is another man — sorry, ladies, I was jumping the gun before) because they either a.) feel feminized or b.) think that the door-opener is suggesting that they’re too weak to do it themselves.

From The Pacific Standard:

There is a down side to “seemingly innocuous but unexpected helping behavior that violates gender norms,” Purdue University psychologists Megan McCarty and Janice Kelly write in the journal Social Influence. Their results suggest even a simple act of kindness can convey a negative message—He thinks I’m weak!—which can lead to increased self-doubt.

For their research, McCarty and Kelly observed 196 people as they entered a building on campus. A male member of the research team accompanied each unwitting subject as they approached the door. With half the subjects, the male researcher got a few steps ahead and held open the door for the person behind him. With the other half, he would enter the adjacent door at roughly the same time, not interacting with the subject at all.

Once inside, the subjects were approached by a female researcher who asked them to complete a survey:

On a one-to-10 scale, they indicated their agreement with three statements measuring self-esteem (including “I feel that I’m a person of worth, at least on an equal plane with others”), and three measuring self-efficacy (including “I can usually achieve what I want if I work hard for it”).

For the most part, there was no notable difference between the women who had had the door held for them and the women who opened the door for themselves. Male participants who had had the door opened for them, however, reported much lower self-esteem than those who didn’t.

The findings led researchers to believe that “behaviors as fleeting and seemingly innocuous as door holding can have unforeseen negative consequences.” The findings have led me to believe that this particular male group of subjects are the biggest bunch of babies who never had a solid foundation for their masculinity to begin with. Just a theory!

Image via Shutterstock.

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