Accusations of sexism erupted on the Jeremy Vine Show this morning, when a debate around chivalry turned heated. Jeremy Vine asked his guests whether chivalry was sexist, prompting poet and writer Salma El-Wardany to jump. She branded chivalry “incredible nonsense that reinforces a gender power structure”.
El-Wardany said: “I think there is something to be said for everyone being well-mannered and polite to their fellow humans.
“But this notion of chivalry as holding the door open, and walking on the road-side of the street so if a car hits us it will take me first, that is just incredible nonsense and reinforces a gender power structure.
“Men have come up to me and said, ‘If a car comes it will hit me first and I’ll take the brunt of the impact’.
“Why would you give your life for a woman, I’ve just met you!”
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Former rugby union player James Haskell, who became embroiled in a sexism row during his stint on last year’s I’m A Celebrity, fired back.
He said: “Would you say the same thing if we were on the Titanic and they said women and children first and I barged past you?
“Everyone has a bright idea until they say women and children first.“
El-Wardany responded: “But there are so many instances, including a man I dated, when I am holding the door open and men will come and grab the door and say no, no, no, you go first. I’m holding it, just go! Men do that because they have to live and die by chivalry.”