For anyone who has ever heard from a Nice Guy(TM) about how he is such a great guy that it has ruined his life, but whose conduct is gross, exploitative, entitled, and misogynist, there is a tumblr called Nice Guys of OKCupid. See the things Nice Guys say about themselves right next to the shit they claim and/or demand that they don’t think conflicts with their high estimation of their own nobility, and either laugh, cry, or scream as suits you.
This tumblr has attracted some controversy from people who really just wish that instead of mocking these guys, we spend time trying to be understanding (as though we don’t understand them) and nurturing them to be better people (because enabling their sense of entitlement to our attention is a great way to break them of the habit).
First off, Allan G. Johnson summarized one major problem with this attitude, and to save energy I will just reproduce his comment here. “Too often men react to women’s anger by calling on women to take care of them, and in this way recreate the male-centered principle of the very gender order that women, feminist and otherwise, are angry about.”
That. Thank you, Allan.
Moving on, though, this is about more than kicking boys when they’re down (because obviously, telling someone their behavior is inappropriate and creating social consequences for misogyny is exactly like bullying children to suicide). This is about making it clear just how often we’re hit with misogyny that flies under the radar of people who don’t think they’re affected by it. What feminist needs to “look for things to get angry about” when things like this will come right to our literal and metaphorical inboxes demanding pussy and affirmation and affirmation-pussy?
It is my opinion that anybody who thinks that men shouldn’t be publicly shamed for believing that they’re being denied what’s rightfully theirs anytime a woman exercises her right to deny consent, I really want to know exactly how far they’d have to take this attitude before we stop pretending that his need to be sheltered from the impact of his own behavior is a serious and pressing thing we should all be willing to accommodate even at the cost of our own dignity, sanity, and safety.
No One is Entitled to Sex: Why We Should Mock the Nice Guys of OkCupid by Hugo Schwyzer*.
What’s on offer isn’t just an opportunity to snort derisively at the socially awkward; it’s a chance to talk about the very real problem of male sexual entitlement. The great unifying theme of the curated profiles is indignation. (…)
Besides the near-universal sense that they’ve been unjustly defrauded, the great commonality among these Nice Guys is their contempt for women’s non-sexual friendship. They rage about being “friendzoned,” and complain about the hours spent listening to women without being given so much as a hand job in return for their investment.
If you are going to come to this thread to let me know that there’s anything a man can do that makes him even slightly entitled to any degree of sexual access to me, check to make sure you don’t have your address posted on your profile or anywhere else on the internet where I can find it because I might mail you things that smell bad. I’m not fucking around with this; you have no idea what this attitude has put me through.
I’ll close with more goodness from the essay and a list of links.
So how should we respond, when, as Penny writes, “sexist dickwaddery puts photos on the internet and asks to be loved?” The short answer is that a lonely dickwad is still a dickwad; the fact that these guys are in genuine pain makes them more rather than less likely to mistreat the women they encounter. A rage rooted in anguish is no less dangerous because it comes from the Great Big Sad Place.
Nice Guy Syndrome: What it is and why you should kill it with fire has too much goodness to quote.
Genuinely nice guys have nothing to worry about. Genuinely nice guys already have plenty of female friends, both platonic and romantic, because treating women (or men) kindly and respectfully pretty much guarantees companionship. But genuinely nice guys are not the ones complaining. The ones being all concerned about why women make these choices—and how they can change their silly womanish ways—are the Nice Guys. Nice Guys can’t understand why their anger, criticism and sense of entitlement fail to attract women, or only attract women they deem “beneath them.” They also don’t see that their need to dictate women’s behavior so that we can better attract them is belittling, douche-y, and classic abuser mode.
When using the phrase ‘Nice Guys’ with a capital NG, I don’t mean a man who happens to be a genuinely kind person. Hooray for kind, caring, conscientious people! I mean the sort of Guy who has declared himself to be Nice, and thus deserving of positive (usually sexual) attention from the female of his choice, upon whom he has often projected an elaborate fantasy of perfection and willingness that rarely has anything to do with the subject’s actual feelings or desires. When a Nice Guy is romantically rejected by a woman he wants, he lashes out at her, wondering why that dumb cunt won’t go out with him. After all, he has been Nice!
Slacktivist’s No More Mister Nice Guy
I used to be a Nice Guy ™. Not a nice guy, not by any means; I mean I was one of those guys who tried to make friends with women I found attractive, solely because I found them attractive, in the hopes of manipulating them or tricking them or guilting them into sleeping with me.
I am very glad I never succeeded. I don’t think I possibly could have, but either way I’m glad I didn’t. I’d like to say I don’t know what I was thinking, but that would be a lie. I know exactly what I was thinking, better now than I did at the time.
“Slut” is how we vilify a woman for exercising her right to say “yes”. “Friendzone” is how we vilify a woman for exercising her right to say “no”
There are any number of geek guys running around out there without the love and companionship that many people and all golden retrievers deserve. Sometimes these guys sit down and try to figure out why they’re living a life devoid of love, romance, sex and discussions about whose hair it is in the shower drain.
They undertake a deep self-assessment, questioning all their long-cherished beliefs about themselves, and this is what they conclude: They’re too nice. And that’s hilarious!
Guys, you’re not “too nice.” That’s like saying you can’t get seated at an L.A. restaurant because you’re too famous.
Divalion’s No More Mr. Nice Guy
The guys I have met and known who could legitimately be called Nice Guys were, for one thing, almost invariably bitter. Either they have never gotten over being picked on in junior high/rejected by the popular girls in school, or they haven’t gotten laid in a long time, or they’ve gotten dumped sometime in the last few years and are still licking their wounds. Whatever it is, they have a huge chip on their shoulders about it, and in their eyes the women of the world owe them for it. They don’t usually verbalize it, but oh how the resentment seethes.
They tend to befriend women in order to date them. Nice Guys don’t usually just ask a woman out and at least make a pretext of friendship to use as a springboard. This is where they can get confused with actual nice guys, who tend to also befriend women before dating them, but the difference is that the genuine nice guy appreciates women as human beings and enters into friendships mostly for their own sake rather than working them as an angle. The Nice Guy, on the other hand, sees women mostly in sexual terms (although he will deny it or call it “romantic terms”) but doesn’t have a lot of success with the direct approach, so instead he puts on a charming, harmless face in order to befriend women with the expectation that she will reward his niceness and friendship with sex.
Every time I’ve written about Nice Guys®, I’ve picked up at least one man who makes a permanent enemy out of me, proving often how “nice” he is by sending me a bunch of nasty emails or blog comments about how I understand how his niceness keeps him from getting laid and women are all shallow bitches that like to be abused. Indeed, the “niceness” I’ve experienced at the hands of self-proclaimed Nice Guys® has done little to convince me that they’re actually nice guys who’ve been edged out of the sexual market by women’s inconstancy and evilness, and has instead convinced me they strike out a lot because their entitlement issues make them irritating to be around.
Underlying feminist criticisms is the position that no one is owed love or sex, not for being a nice person, not for being a feminist, not for any other reason.
Loneliness and unfulfilled desires are tragic and painful but feminists argue that consent is the only ethical relationship underpinning, and that requiring mutual consent for relationships and for sex will mean that some people do not get their romantic or sexual desires fulfilled at any given time.
Additionally, Heartless Bitches International has an entire series on this very topic. Enjoy!
*It’s been pointed out to me that Hugo Schwyzer has a really scary history (along with a deeply problematic present), and I wanted to give any readers of mine that same information. It’d be dishonest to use his writings without at least mentioning that being a fan of Schwyzer would be pretty inappropriate.
Check out Hugo Schwyzer is Still Doing Harm, which does a pretty good job from what I can see of explaining what the big deal is and why it matters.
To date, the controversy has centered on Schwyzer’s history of gross personal misconduct and on the content of his writing. (Schwyzer’s disclosure last year of a 1998 attempt to kill his girlfriend and himself sparked the current clamor, drawing new scrutiny to his earlier admissions of sexual activity with his students and to various troubling statements he’d made.)
In his defense, Schwyzer and his supporters regularly contrast his reckless past with his sober present, couching their arguments in the language of forgiveness and redemption. Schwyzer’s bad acts are behind him, they say, and the controversies over his current writings are properly understood as debates within feminism, debates among friends and allies.
To fully understand why so many remain so hostile to Schwyzer, though, we need to look beyond his past misdeeds and his problematic writing, and examine the ethics of his recent public acts.