Smashing the Patriarchy One Door at a Time


By Danielle Bernstein

“Oh no, you go first,” I politely say as I hold the door open with nothing but my feminine prowess. The man doesn’t know what to do! He is frozen at the threshold, his masculinity challenged by this simple act of female chivalry. After a 46-second standoff, he finally relents. Emasculated, he slowly walks past me through the door I so kindly held open for him. After a few steps, he topples over into the fetal position. I am single-handedly dismantling the patriarchy through one open door at a time. 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to absolutely obliterate the patriarchy. I don’t know if it was the wage gap, being called “bitchy” rather than “confident” or the fact that men can run so much faster than women — I mean so much faster, they’re like cheetahs. Anyway,  my whole life, I’ve tried countless ways to finally crush the patriarchy. I tried education programs teaching women how to fight sexual and relationship violence. There were too many men infiltrating the campaigns to learn how to counteract our preventative strategies that we had to start lying in meetings to confuse them. I employed peaceful protests on Wall Street to denounce the lack of female representation, but when they asked me to explain the NASDAQ, I blanked! I even tried to pull a She’s the Man but I was so disgusted by what I saw in the locker rooms that I barely lasted a day. I have seen things I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I had been looking for the ultimate tool to annihilate the privilege and domination of men, but my work and exploration thus far had been futile. 

A few months ago, the true antidote to sexism, misogyny and patriarchal privilege fell into my lap. Or, I suppose, my hands. Me and my male colleague, Shaw Vinism, were walking together into a building, and I happened to be slightly in front of him. Naturally, I opened the door and held it open for Shaw. His eyes began to pop out of their sockets and he began foaming at the mouth. “That’s my job,” Shaw sputtered as he melted to the floor. I stared at the puddle of slime, signet ring and toupee that remained where Shaw once stood. He had been emasculated to the point of liquefaction. 

I now rush to hold the door open for men. Oh, the pain that befalls them! They squirm and they scream as my politeness renders them useless. What are they without their chivalric tendencies? Who are men without opening doors, helping fragile women hoist their luggage into overhead bins (just wait until I get strong enough to do this) and refusing to injure the enemy’s horse in a duel? 

Women everywhere, heed my call. We shall smash the patriarchy together. Not a women’s empowerment milestone has matched that of opening doors for men since the 19th Amendment. It doesn’t matter if you have to race them to the door (I know they’re so fast!) or stand there for an unreasonable amount of time – my record is currently 27 minutes. If we want to fully actualize a society in which men and women are equal, the next step is through the door. 

  • December 3, 2023