Why are so many NYC doormen men?

Random observation of the day. But I do teach employment law, so I am wondering.

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7 Responses

  1. Jason Mazzone says:

    I don’t know but on my summer reading list is Peter Bearman, “Doormen (Fieldwork Encounters and Discoveries” (2005). Bearman is a sociologist at Columbia; the book is based on his “fieldwork” in Manhattan.

  2. Common sense says:

    Probably the long night hours.

  3. Daniel Millstone says:

    Good question. We should perhaps ask their union Local 32B/J of the SEIU.

  4. Meredith R. Miller says:

    My guess: chivalry isn’t dead. Many men still make a point of opening doors for women and letting them on and off the elevator first, etc. I think this explains the gender make up of doormen. Doormen are expected to open the door for residents and assist in carrying packages. These are chivalrous actions traditionally reserved for men — I suspect that many (but, of course, not all) male residents in these buildings would experience daily emasculation if a female doorman (doorwoman?) opened the door for them and carried their groceries to the elevator. It could also explain why many women wouldn’t apply to be doormen.

  5. Manhattan Resident says:

    In addition to the good points above, I would add that people might feel safer when there’s a man guarding their door than they would if there were an unarmed woman there. Most bouncers are men as well.

    Of course, this belief may well be silly, for lots of reasons (for example, I would bet women are perfectly able to do whatever protecting needs to be done). But doormen are probably there in large part to make people *feel* a certain way.

  6. Eh Nonymous says:

    I wouldn’t have guessed Meredith’s suggestion as my first (or even second) guess. Manhattan resident’s comment about safety seems more relevant to the perceived need for door “security” as opposed to a function that can be satisfied by an electronic eye.

    For that matter, I guess I always assumed that the safety was not so much about having an eye on the door, as providing a visible (often uniformed) male presence to dissuade would-be burglars or rapists.

    If it was just an eye on the door, a camera could do it. If it was just having the door held for you, a weight-sensitive floor mechanism would do.

    It’s about having Someone there.

  7. D says:

    If men answer the need for additional safety and security, I wonder if the property value is lower for the buildings that hire doorwomen.