Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sitting-In For Not Standing Up

Women need to stop complaining about men not giving up their seats for them on public transportation, namely trains and buses.

First of all, it's not a rule. The rule states that able-bodied adults are to give up their seats for the handicapped, the elderly, and expectant mothers. And for the most part, I do see men do just that. However, it is rare when I see a woman give up her seat for a senior citizen. I ride the Trixie Trolley (#156 LaSalle) everyday, and always sit in the back of the bus in the elevated section. There have been puh-lenty of times I have given up my seat in the back of the bus to a senior citizen who has had to make his/her way through the crowd, past all the seated young women in order to get to my location. Not standing for a woman is showing equality; not standing for an elderly person is just shameful and disrespectful.

And since I mentioned it, I guess I don't understand the concept of a woman - especially a young woman - demanding a man give up his seat or hold a door open for her. I don't argue that it is a polite gesture that men need to be taught while still young in order for it to be ingrained into who they are as adults. But I don't think these gestures should be expected or even demanded. I'm happy to give up my seat to a woman who I am certain is in the latter stages of her pregnancy (key words there are "I am certain"; at times, it is difficult to tell). But I'm not about to stand up for a 26-year old woman just so she can sit down to read.

I've heard all the arguments before, the biggest being shoes. Here's a tip: here's what I do when wearing a pair of shoes all day that hurt my feet. I throw them away. Or, I don't wear them. I'm sorry women feel the pressure of society to wear body altering clothing, but it is ultimately a choice they've made. Just as there is no law that says I have to show a woman any courtesy, there is no law that says she has to dress the way she does.

I am 42 years-old. By all accounts, I look perfectly healthy. But no stranger on a bus or train has any idea what my health problems are, just like I have no idea about anyone else. Unless your health situation is obvious (which even mine are not), I'm not going out of my way to make you more comfortable when I have no relationship to you - or worse, just because you are a woman. I would think you would find that more insulting than flattering. And if you don't, you should.