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Is "ladies first" sexist?

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/10/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,339 times Debate No: 43723
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)




I would like to debate someone who thinks "ladies first" is not sexist.

Round 1 is for acceptance.

1. Proper grammar and spelling must be used.
2. All sources, if any, must be cited.
3. Arguments must be intelligent.

I look forward to debating this topic.


I accept the terms of this debate.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank Con for accepting this debate, as I hope it turns out well.

I will first begin by stating my points.

1. Women are humans too.
Why are women considered to be inferior to men? They may be weaker in upper body strength, but not mentally. I have met plenty of females that were stronger than most males. I am not saying I would hit a women. I respect them and I would let them go before me, but I do the same to men. They are both humans and I will treat them as such. Here is a line from a site that I found:

""Ladies First" implies that women are entitled to "better" treatment simply because of they"re women? No different than
implying that men are entitled to "better" treatment because of their genitals. Or white people because of their skin color."[1]

It's true. Women are just as capable of waiting in line as men are. "Ladies first" is allowing females to be lazy.

2. Why not manners first?[1]
Like I said in the last point, "[t]hey are both humans and I will treat them as such." Why don't we say "people first" or "manners first" instead of "ladies first"? As humans, we must learn to treat all humans the same way. We must all use good manners instead if segregation and sexism.

3. Sexism resembles racism
"If you replace gender with race there would be a public outcry; for example "White people first!"."[2] They are very similar. They are both saying that one side is inferior to the other. We know that black people are equal to white people; We even know that women are equal to men...So who do we act like they aren't?

I have more points, but I choose to leave it at this for now.



I believe that as a whole, you are looking at the saying "ladies first" wrong.

In society, we stress the character trait of respect. It is a big deal in everyday life, and it is polite to do things for people that you do know, and people that you don't know. If you are about to use a door, and there is a person behind you, it is obviously polite to wait and hold the door for them.

I contend that "ladies first" is an extension of open politeness and common courtesy.

I don't believe that the fact that women are sometimes given the right of way in situations can be attributed to sexism. Letting someone pass through a doorway first is not necessarily like saying that the other person is inferior, more so that you have respect for them and you are affording them the opportunity to pass through before you.

I also believe that saying that it is "allowing females to be lazy" is a little bit drastic of a statement. It's just letting a woman through a doorway first, or in line first. It's very little in essence. (1)

I understand that it is also polite to hold doors for men. I would do so in any situation, as I'm sure countless others would do too. When you refer to a woman when you say "ladies first," you are not attaching any negative connotations to it. You are simply recognizing them as a woman.

The reason people do not say manners first and people first is because the person approaching them is not a manner or a people. The word lady is used to identify the person coming, and it is just common courtesy. I believe that when "ladies first" is said, it is used to show respect to women.

Tupac once said "A woman brought you into this world, so you have no right to disrespect one."
I think this is a very prevalent theme in this situation. A woman carried you in her body for nine months. A woman suffered so you could live. Women, in our culture, are often seen as very strong too. I'm saying that when someone lets a woman go first, it is saying "you are a woman, and I respect the suffering that you have gone through, or that you might have to go through in the future."

I realize that this is a little theoretical, but I definitely would see it that way when if I were to use the statement "ladies first."

In response to your last point, I would once again say that when you afford a person the opportunity to go first, it is a sign of respect for them. I know that people would feel a little touchy about saying "white people first" and similar statements, but I contend that that is just because something like that has never been a saying.
Yes, it could be received as racist if I held the door open and said "black people first!"
But you cannot disagree that saying "black people first" would most certainly sound more hateful than "ladies first."

Remember, the only reason that this is a problem is because of the person on the receiving end, and what they think of the statement.
If you say "ladies first" light heartedly in a way that it seems like you have only the utmost respect for them, the person should receive it as such. They would believe it was respectful, and they would be thankful.

Conversely, I think many African Americans (and other ethnicities that have also been subjected to harsh racism in the past,) would not see it that way. That is not a comment so much on my generalizations about the non-white community so much as it is a fact.
White people enslaved black people. White people lynched black people. (Not all white people in the past, but many) were AWFUL to the black community. Absolutely awful. Evil even.

It would be prudent to note that there are also more hate crimes against the black community and there is more racism than there is sexism.
One in every THREE black males can expect to go to prison in their lifetime, whereas one in every 17 white males can expect to go to prison. (2)
I understand that sexism is awful, and that everything needs to be fixed (the income gap and more,) but that statistic is frightening.
So yes, I would say racism is more of an issue than sexism right now.
And just so you know, women (yes this is the UK, but it is similar in political structure to the US) make up 5% of the prison population. (3)

But, bringing it back to the original statement, because racism is worse than sexism right now, it would be easier for a black person to receive that statement as racist than for a women to receive "ladies first" as sexist.

So like I have said, it is a sign of respect, not trying to point out a weakness in the woman.

Additionally, "ladies first" is nearly ALWAYS used in light hearted situations. I have never heard it used condescendingly like you contend.

I used the "(1)" up there so I would easily be able to refer back to it right now.
Like I stated in that sentence, holding a door open or letting someone pass you in line is a little thing. But, as I'm sure you've heard before, it is often the little things that can brighten a person's day. If I can brighten a woman's day, young or old, by holding a door for them and saying "ladies first," I'm going to do it.

Debate Round No. 2


jamccartney forfeited this round.


I do hope you return for the rest of this debate. All of my arguments from the last round still stand.
Debate Round No. 3


I apologize. I am incapable of completing this debate. I have many important things on my calendar that prevent me from having much free time. Maybe we can debate this again another time. Again, I apologize.
- Jamccartney


That's a shame. Maybe we can debate this at another time.

Vote con.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Anakin 4 years ago
Its sexiest because it directed towards a particular sex , regardless if it light hearted or sincere, the fact that its directed towards women will in fact make it sexist. Not all sexist behavior is bad behavior, its behavior or idea projected at a sex.
Posted by jamccartney 4 years ago
It is sexist towards women because they are not treated equally to men. For example, they are told to go first and are treated at inferior.
Posted by michaelperry13 4 years ago
Can you first clarify what you mean by saying it is sexist?
Like, for example, it is sexist against women because ___________

I honestly just don't understand who it is sexist towards.

2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by STALIN 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Cheetah 4 years ago
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