Updated: Nov 13, 2020
I always considered it right and natural to help a struggling woman with her luggage at a station or with a baby carriage in the city. I used to consider it just as natural to help my female colleagues with physical and other difficult tasks on the job, like replacing the water bottle, carrying various heavy objects, or helping them with various computer/software problems, which often required a slightly deeper understanding of IT than some of them had. Basically, I carried out many duties for them, duties which should have been shared equally at any job. I used to do these things almost automatically, never giving it a second thought.
Unfortunately, they seemed to accept the favors and the goodwill as things they were entitled to and didn't return the favor in any way. I began to notice that my female colleagues made tea and coffee for each other on daily basis, but never offered any to me or asked me if I wanted some. I suppose they considered it their right to get help from a man, but making tea or coffee for him as something demeaning or oppressive to women. I thought that was strange, if not rude, considering that I did many difficult tasks for them almost automatically, without thinking. In other words, they took all of my help for granted. The more I thought about that, the more I began to realize that it was fundamentally wrong. My female colleagues believed it was basically my duty or my job to do hard tasks for them, because I was a gentleman and that's what gentlemen are expected to do. Well, perhaps that is true in everyday life, but certainly not on the job, and especially not if the favors granted to them were not appreciated nor reciprocated in any way. It also occurred to me that this situation was not only unfair to male workers, but it logically and fundamentally undermined the cohesion, the efficiency and health of any company.
Once, when I was shopping at home improvement store, I wanted to look at a small piece of furniture that was on an upper shelf. I asked a nearby employee, who happened to be female, if I could take a look at it. Instead of taking the ladder and bringing the object down by herself, she just asked the nearest male colleague to do it for her. At first, I didn't pay much attention to it, but later on I thought about it and realized that it was the same behavior reflecting the same attitude of entitlement that I had experienced at my company. At that point, I realized that the female sense of privilege is endemic at any western company, that women expect men to help them whenever they need it, but rarely return the favor. I thought that the female attitude I had observed created an unfair burden on male workers and that all tasks should be shared equally among employees. It also occurred to me that companies would be more efficient that way. After witnessing similar situations in many companies, I came to the conclusion that female workers are only 'equal' to their male counterparts due to men's gentlemanly help, perks and intentional overlooking of their deficiencies and weaknesses. I am not saying this applies to all places of employment, but it does apply to most. This same logic also applies to sports. Female players are demanding equal pay. Fair enough, but is their performance equal to men's? Everyone knows male soccer is far more dynamic and exciting than female soccer. That's why it generates a lot more revenue. Take tennis, for example. Not only is the men's game more powerful, exciting and dynamic, it is also a lot longer, for two main reasons. First, men are required to play an extra set. Second, men contest each point with far more determination, tenacity and stamina than women do. This almost always results in men playing their matches a lot longer than women. Often their matches are more than twice as long as women's matches. Despite that, men and women are paid equally in almost all major tennis tournaments. While female players applaud this as 'equal pay', in fact, male players are made to work harder for their prize money than women. Just like me at my office, hauling heavy objects instead of my female colleagues, just like the guy at the furniture shop doing the lifting for his female co-worker, sports men are doing harder work than women, all for equal pay. You may think that is acceptable, especially if you are a woman, but most men can see that they are expected to or being made to work harder than women, for the same pay, in many venues of the professional world. Why? Simply to be considered gentlemen. Obviously, the gentleman doctrine was created in the Victorian era for everyday life situations, on the assumption women were weaker and less capable than men. That's why the niceties and perks were accorded to them. Clearly, it was never meant for, and has no place in the professional world. And it is about time for men to realize this and speak out against it. The Gentleman Doctrine is the first example of political correctness in the modern era and all other types of political correctness are derived from it or inspired by it. Its original aim was to distort reality by covering up women's weaknesses and shortcomings vs. men, so as not to hurt their feelings. That may be nice but this type of culture can only affect a company or any institution in the professional world negatively, by pretending that a less capable employee is in fact performing equally well.
This article has been contributed by Martin Caplan, the author of 'The Silence of the Gentlemen'. This article is a part of the same book, and it can be purchased here.