Opening doors

pic by Klearchos Kapoutsis on flickr
For some reason, when I raise discussion about my identity as a feminist, someone mentions opening doors. If it’s a man, it’s because he wants to stress that "feminism only goes so far" and that this business of women opening their own doors somehow wages war on chivalry.  If it’s a woman, it’s usually mentioned as a dialogue opportunity or some way to challenge someone’s assumptions. To some, identifying as a feminist means opening your own door, even at a coffee shop. This is a strange cultural behavior indeed, this argument over who gets to open doors.

Notably no one carries on such arguments about gender roles or gender freedom when it comes to taking out the garbage; perhaps most solve that with an egalitarian round of rock, paper, scissors? ((I have no qualms about telling my partner it’s his job. I usually cook, after all, and so far my ability to feed myself and others has not undermined my right to vote.))

Clearly, the door is not just a door. So putting away all fishes, bicycles and cigars, I now look at this from my Wiccan perspective wherein all symbols are actual tools. Social change happens through social cooperation. Historically men had to not just concede to, but to support women’s right to vote. The men behind the suffragist movement were in awe of their wives, respected them as partners and equals and were proud to step up and invite them into society – by metaphorically opening the door for them with their own votes to allow a vote.

Early career advancements for women happened usually because of a male coworker for sponsor. Some of those guys could see the professional potential that went beyond what was under the skirt. Yes, a lot of stuff that happened surrounding it was still pretty messed up – while Mad Men is not historical record, it captures something of the time that rings very, very true.

Wiccans may not own their own mythos but they do like the myths of other cultures. Those myths are full of doors, entrances and portals. Sometimes heroes muddle right through them. But often enough, someone must give them a password to open the door. In Underworld myths in particular, even getting to the door is quite a difficult journey. It seems to me that a man opening a door for a woman – or a woman opening a door for a man, woman, person with variable gender identity – is in fact its own act of magic. When we’re physically used to opening doors, our subconscious becomes symbolically adjusted to do so. And that means metaphorical door openings, like promotions, become no big deal.

That’s my theory, in any case. I realize it doesn’t work absolutely, but it seems to me it has possibility.