Continuing the topic of NICE, being taught to be a nice girl, to not be a nice guy… If you are male and reading this you might be thinking, “but, hey, I *am* a nice guy!”
Maybe so. And maybe… Let me introduce you to a term well-known in feminist circles, maybe not-so-much elsewhere: NICE GUYS™.
Here’s one definition from Finally, a Feminism 101 Blog:
Nice Guys™: The “™” marks the difference between men who are genuinely nice people and men with entitlement issues who wail “but I’m a nice guy!”. There are two types, which often overlap in one individual:
- a guy who believes that the simple act of being decent means that the universe owes him a girlfriend [more from Jeff Fecke at Shakesville]
- men who are looking to date a woman with the appearance of a supermodel, and yet they continually whine about how “women don’t like nice guys – they only want good-looking assholes
And there’s an entire rant (and response) repository on HeartlessBitches.com. It’s great, read it when you have time to get sucked in… Here’s how they introduce the topic:
All too often we hear self-professed “Nice Guys” complaining about why they can’t get a date, and whining that women just want to date jerks, etc. etc. The truth of the matter is that there are genuinely caring, compassionate, decent, fun guys out there who have NO TROUBLE meeting people, getting dates, and having relationships.
Unfortunately, many of the guys who DO have trouble, insist that women don’t want them because they are “too Nice”. These people who call themselves “Nice Guys” can’t see that THEIR OWN behavior is the problem. …. acting in a manipulative, patronizing or obsequious fashion, these guys sabotage themselves and often blame “all women” for their misfortunes.
To me, the key is the “manipulative, patronizing, or obsequious” part.
What does this really mean?
It means that there are a LOT of guys out there who are “nice” to women, but aren’t really treating women as persons. Rather, they treat women as sexual objects, something to be conquered, the PRIZE for being A NICE GUY. This is simply not genuine. And not really NICE.
These are the guys that comment on your Facebook post, start a conversation with you that actually seems to be intellectual, but within a short time, will shift to trying to pick you up. NOT because there was mutual interest percolating – of course that can happen (but let’s be honest, it doesn’t happen every other day!) – but because they would make that type of offer to any woman they have a dialogue with. With the hope that eventually one will say yes. There may be a modicum of real interest in the original topic, but eventually objectification rears its ugly head.
These are the guys who befriend you, maybe even after asking you out and being rejected, who eventually try for “comfort” sex after you break up with the guy you are dating, or go for pity sex, or FWB status (notice how many times that happens when you’re feeling vulnerable). These guys may spend a really long time being your friend – even years! – but in the end, if they feel anything like “I listened to her, I was nice to her, I did this and that for her, tried to give her what she wanted… but it didn’t WORK!” Whoa – didn’t work? This means at some fundamental level, even if at times they really acted as friend, at the base of it was a desire/expectation that they would GET YOU. Which again, reduces you to a thing. To be gotten.
These are the guys who ask you out nicely, but when you say “no”, they try to convince you (Why not? Do you have a boyfriend? What do you have to lose? ) which in its most benign form is disrespectful of your stated desire, and in its more malignant forms turns into actual manipulations, trying to make you feel guilty, or even worse – preying on your insecurities. If they are good at being NICE GUYS™, they will do all of that very “nicely”. But then there are the ones who then respond with anger – all women are really bitches, women *say* they want a nice guy but they really only like assholes, etc. Think about the ENTITLEMENT reeking from this – if I’m a nice guy, I deserve to HAVE YOU. The corollary to this is, you really don’t have the basic right to refuse them.
There are the guys who think they are being NICE to you because they are complimenting you on your looks. Nope, no objectification THERE.
As an aside (well not really an aside, more like an extreme result of the above that deserves its own post), when manipulation of the types described above does “work” and leads to sex, the woman involved often feels extremely violated. There is a lot of discussion of whether this qualifies as rape, and it’s a worthy topic, just not the one I’m discussing today. So I will avoid definition of this behavior as rape in any criminal-code sense of the word, but will say this: if a woman FEELS raped (used, abused, violated… pick your negative term) after being with you, how NICE does that really make you? Hmmm, not so nice.
If you read any of the threads I’ve cited, you will see many, MANY examples of nice guys™ responding. It’s amazing how easy they are to spot once you know what you’re looking for. For example, they are patronizing, and they lack the ability to take responsibility. They come into the discussion oozing sympathy, (look what a nice guy I am!!), but inevitably turn it (whatever the issue is) on the women. Like a guy who responded to a thread on women saying NO (yes, another future topic), who started out being sympathetic to women feeling harassed, but eventually made statements like women who say no angrily probably do that because of prior trauma (like that’s the only reason they might get mad at YOU) or having in the past “failed to set adequate boundaries” (yup, it’s THEIR fault they got harassed!).
Or the one who complained that nice guys like him spend years listening/being the shoulder to cry on/helping move house… And the girls “never respond in kind, physically”. Eww.
Et cetera, et cetera.
So there we have it. Another example of that pesky word that gives me such a creepy feeling