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Sir-Ex 10-28-2015 10:29 PM

Sir-Ex's point-by-point response to a feminist article his University sent him in a global email

This Is Why Being a Nice Guy Just Isn’t Enough

There are a lot of really wonderful, well-intentioned men who have a difficult time understanding the difference between being nice to women and being an ally to women and women’s causes.

Not me. I understand full well that I like being nice because it feels good, and it has nothing to do with whatever cause the writer of this article would like me to ally with.


Then there are other men who pretend to be nice in order to validate their manipulation of women for sex and romance. These are the people who I like to refer to as Nice Guys™.

While this article is dedicated to helping nice men become better feminist allies, I want to take a second to clarify the difference between an authentically nice guy and a Nice Guy™.

I agree that manipulating people isn't a good thing to do. Trademarking a hook-term makes it very hard to take you particularly seriously, but go on.


Nice Guys™, as many of you know, have become the object of much loathing in feminist circles and among women and girls in general.

Online, this is the guy who posts hashtags like #NotAllMen and #ReverseSexism, whenever we publish articles about street harassment, rape culture, and male privilege.

He is the exaggeratedly faux timid (read: passive aggressive) dude who still complains about the girls that didn’t date him in high school on message boards and in every other status update.

Though the most stereotypical incarnation of the Nice Guy™ is a fedora-clad dudebro who spends too much time on Reddit and would probably push a six-year-old girl out of the way to get his hands on My Little Pony merchandise, the more garden-variety Nice Guy™ can be more difficult to spot.

I agree that this guy sounds like a huge pain the ass little bitch. I don't know anyone like that personally but I am sure they exist.

I don't know what bronyism has to do with anything, and I feel that you're perpetuating a form of stereotyping.. in fact.. you are...


Basically, he’s anyone who regards sex as the ultimate goal of interacting with women, and in turn views the idea of a nonsexual friendship with a woman as an abysmal failure.

I would imagine that it's up to the individual what kind of relationship they want with a given man or woman. If all they want is sex.. well.. that's their prerogative isn't it?


Trademarks of a Nice Guy™ include trying to guilt trip women into having sex, claiming that sex should be the inevitable reward for basic acts of friendship, and only being interested in building a friendship until the woman in question rejects them romantically.

When he gets rejected, he cites every single time they did something nice for her, repeatedly asks her out (as in stalks her), and calls her a coldhearted bitch if she refuses to magically reciprocate his feelings within an almost instantaneous period of time.

A Nice Guy™ truly cements his status as soon as he begins to complain that “women only date assholes.”

Well yeah this guy sounds like a loser ... so on this I agree, fuck that guy.


These men all seem to share the core belief that the women they are interested in owe them sex or romance to compensate for “investing” their time and energy into making them actually believe that they were decent human beings – even if only for a brief period of time.

Needless to say, women don’t take kindly to this sort of logic.

As such, the figure of the Nice Guy™ easily becomes synonymous with misogyny and a lack of compassion for women’s issues.

Yeah totally, fuck that guy.


But what if you’re not a Nice Guy™? What if you’re just a really nice guy?

You may well be genuine and 100% sincere, but the way men are socialized around gender means that even the most goodhearted guys are susceptible to sexist slip-ups (and might accidentally, unintentionally participate in some Nice Guy™ tomfoolery).

If you grow up being taught that you aren’t allowed to express emotion or cry, that the only way to be masculine is to be macho or aggressive, and that the only way to bond with other men is through shared objectification of women, it can be extraordinarily difficult to recognize when you’re being sexist – especially if you’re well-intentioned.

I'm quite aware of my sexual bias, but we'll get to that soon...


Besides, it’s true: Paying for lunch for your female friend is a far cry from cracking kitchen jokes.

However, we need and expect more than that from the men in our lives.

We can all work together to liberate ourselves from such toxic norms, but it’s time for you to use your position of male privilege to help create a platform for women as well.

Men should feel a responsibility to defend and advocate for women in ways encompassing more than chivalry. Just because you’re not involved in tearing us down doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for helping build us up.

Hows about I focus on building up the people in my life who I respect in general? Hows about talking about female responsibilities in building men up?


Let’s discuss the driving social forces behind accidental or “benign” sexism and talk about how you can use self introspection to check your privilege and become a better male feminist ally.
Gender and Culture Often Influences Unintentional Sexism

Think about how male/female interaction and male/female friendship is portrayed in the media: Romantic implications almost immediately overshadow every dynamic. We’re not taught to envision relationships that don’t have a sexualized end goal.
I won't comment on gender portrayal in the media since I have no control over that.


But even if your relationship is not romantic or even inclined towards that possibility, it’s still probably impacted by gender and gender roles.

Because men are positioned as protective authority figures and women are allegedly fragile or in need of that guidance or protection, men are expected to play the dominant role in relationships with women.

Quite frankly, oftentimes when I do take a dominant role in relationship it's because I'm filling some kind of conscious or subconscious expectation of the other parties involved. In most cases I myself feel no particular need to be dominant, but there have been many instances where if I do not assume that role, it can in fact make the woman involved feel uncomfortable. So for the sake of a more functional (as in, shi gets done better) dynamic, I take on that role.


Given that dominance can be associated with aggression, nice guys are taught to be chivalrous towards women to prove that they’re gentlemen. You’re supposed to hold open doors, pull out chairs, and so on.

Though there are many problems with this dynamic, the primary concern is that Nice Guys™ expect this behavior to be immediately rewarded. That’s male entitlement.

Nice guys, however, operate more under the assumption that they should be chivalrous towards all women because that’s just how you’re supposed to act.

That’s less male entitlement and more male obligation.

Ultimately, you are still treating women differently specifically because they’re women. What you see as a sign of respect or kindness, she might see as a sign that you perceive her to be inferior or incapable of taking care of herself.

Unintentional sexism is still sexism.

Nope. I do it because women are beautiful and I just seeing them smile when I get the door for them. It's my preference. Maybe it's sexism, but men and women are just NOT the same thing, so how could I possibly have the exact same relationship with both? That's irrational.


Don’t treat your friend well because she’s a woman, treat her well because you like her as a person.

You know how men are always told to respect a woman because she’s someone’s wife/mother/sister? That tagline pretty much encapsulates everything that’s wrong with gender relations in our culture.

You should respect all women because they’re human beings first and foremost. A woman’s humanity and individuality always supersedes her gender. Let her tell you how she wants to be treated. If you’re unclear, ask questions rather than make generalized assumptions.

Do you really expect me to ask every woman I get the door for whether or not she would prefer I get the door for her?

Also, why is gender and humanity considered distinct things? Aren't they intertwined?


Make it clear that you support the women in your life as peers and equals.
It’s True That Nice Guys Only Get So Far – If Your Sole Goal For Interacting with Women Is Sex or Romance

I know, I made a pun on the whole “nice guys finish last” mantra. Forgive me.

I want to remind you that I’m not out to accuse you of purposefully feeding into patriarchy every time you open a car door for a girl. I don’t think you conduct your relationships with malice intent.

I just want you to understand the wider, potentially corrosive social implications of such interaction.

Yeah I agree that it's important to treat each other as equals.


However, it’s important to note that men are very quick to absolve themselves of responsibility for sexism. As soon as they’ve successfully proven they’re not part of the problem, the problem isn’t a problem anymore.

It is not just a male phenomenon. I think we all do it from time to time. Someone presents us with an issue and we feel uncomfortable so we pay attention long enough to reassure ourselves that we’re not directly responsible for it. Once we reach that point, we breathe a sigh of relief and go back to pretending the issue doesn’t exist.

Or at least we’re much less inclined to take the issue as seriously.

Admit it – at the beginning of this article, you were probably patting yourself on the back because you’re not a Nice Guy™. But, you have to agree that simply not being a gross dudebro is a pretty low bar in terms of battling sexism. It is, however, a good entry point.

Be the change you want to see. I'm not gonna spew my ethos at anyone. Learn by my awesome example :D


We all have a tendency to self congratulate for baby steps and then wash our hands of the bigger picture. The same applies to sexism.

Passivity is still complicity.
Well I definitely agree with that.


Just because you’re not actively or intentionally sexist or misogynistic doesn’t mean that you aren’t involved in creating an environment that perpetuates those forces.

I want you to turn off the impulse that tells you to tune out. Your friends need your support for women’s issues much more than they need you to buy them a coffee.

In the long run, a higher degree of social literacy and awareness of feminist issues will reflect much more highly on your character than any amount of chivalry ever could.

I guess that's in part why I'm making this thread.. or something.


You need to go beyond being a nice guy.
It’s Possible to Become a Better Male Ally – And This Is How to Do It!

Now it’s time to talk about what it means to be a – gasp – male feminist.

Pro tip: If you want help, don't use patronizing language patterns towards those you're seeking help from.


Men and women alike are taught that even uttering the word feminist should be avoided like the plague. And while they usually react to feminism the way vampires react to garlic, some Nice Guys™ claim to be feminists in hopes of getting into a girl’s pants.

I’m assuming you already know that feminism is neither kryptonite for your sex life, nor should it be used as a tool to get brownie points with women. The connotations of the word have been blown way out of proportion.

When everything boils down, the benefits of feminism are easy to grasp. Everyone should be equal! Nice Guys™ hurt everyone! Gender roles hurt everyone! Patriarchy oppresses women, but it also hurts men in the process by stunting their emotions and limiting their self-expression!

That's awesome! Everyone should be equal!

So why have I never received an official email from my University talking about stereotypical female personalities and their detriment to the self-esteem of men???



You might still be a little wary, and that’s understandable. Feminism can be difficult for even the most well-intentioned of men to navigate.

Seriously.. shooting yourself in the foot with the patronizing language patterns.. this statement implies that women are more capable of navigating the concept of feminism than men..


Whenever you have someone from the privileged majority attempting to ally themselves with a marginalized group, toes can be stepped on, however unintentionally. Occasionally allies will monopolize the conversation.

This is so very ironic.


Trying to integrate men into the feminist movement can be challenging. It’s important to remember that as a man, you’re accustomed to always having your opinions validated. As an ally, you have a duty to not only listen, but to support and respect women’s experiences.

The bolded statement is insanely sexist. And pisses me off a little bit.


You’re going to enter feminist discussions with the knowledge that you’re not going to be the most well-informed person at the table. Approach the exploration of your privilege as a learning opportunity.

It's kind of obvious that someone uninitiated in a new school of thought isn't going to to be the most well-informed.. but go ahead and point that out.


Another crucial thing to keep in mind is that you’re an ally for women, not their spokesperson.

If you start speaking for women instead of on their behalf, feminist dialogues become men telling other men how to treat women, which—well—feels a lot like patriarchy.

And women telling men how to do stuff feels a lot like a matriarchy. Would be prudent to bear that in mind.


For example, men can and should tell other men not to rape women.

That’s an important message, but if you speak over women who are advocating for themselves in the process, it continues to reinforce the idea that men have to speak on women’s issues to make them relevant and legitimate, which completely undermines the point of feminism.

I agree that this is an important distinction to make in either case.


To avoid this, be aware of your responsibilities and limitations as a male ally. Teach other men about feminism. Know when to sit back and be quiet. Never go seeking out brownie points.

Remember that it’s not your decision to determine whether or not you’re an ally. That’s up to women!
A Critical Part of Being an Ally Is Talking to Your Female Friends About How You Treat Them

Absorbing all of this information at once may be overwhelming, so start out by implementing it on an every day level.

Open up a dialogue with the women in your life. Talk to them about their experiences and think about ways that you can support them. If you have been treating them differently because of their gender, be open about it and ask how it impacts them.

I am seriously gonna do this. For lols. I don't know a huge breadth of women, but the ones I do know are secure enough in themselves to be selective of their friends.


Nice guys are important because they have the potential to be excellent male allies. You care about women and even though you may have stumbled with unintentional sexism, that’s also a great jumping off point for unpacking the intricacies of how gender impacts your relationships.

You need to be more than nice guys, but that doesn’t make you inadequate. Inexperience with social issues is not the same as willful ignorance.

You have great potential. Working together, we can accomplish a lot.

Today’s nice guys can be tomorrow’s feminists.

When feminism is presented by authors like yourself, it makes me NOT WANT TO BE ONE.

You make some good points, but undermine yourself through contradiction.


Sir-Ex 10-28-2015 10:30 PM

(also could a mod change the title to 'point-by-point response' ? forgot to write response)

turmaline 10-29-2015 06:17 AM

I can't get into this article too much like you did but I would have to say that it's got it's good points and its meh points.

It's all perception.. The article is that persons perception.

I myself come from a family of women who are strong willed and speak their minds.. There men "do what they're told":lol: kinda thing so I have to disagree with a lot of it.
I also don't agree with the above.. This in turn as I have observed in my family causes for a lot of conflict but for some reason balances itself out. The men bitch about the women and the women bitch about the men..

I just stay the fuck clear of that.

We all bleed blood treat everyone the way you want to be treated.

I'll hold a door open for a man anyway and wouldn't feel slighted if he held one for me.

I also like the manipulation part.. Recently had a male trying the vulnerability "woe is me" card on me..

Don't do this.. Made me disrespect and hate seeing his face even more.
If a woman doesn't want to see you it may have nothing to do with you it may be just because she wants to be alone.

I used to use this type of maipulation when I was in relationships..unkno wingly..
As in "why am I fucked in the head?"
Or maybe I wasn't manipulating for attention.. I actually was pretty messed up.
Part of the fucked in the head aspect of our "perception" of things.

Awareness of your own behaviours is key to everything.. Even sexism.. It's hard to remember on a daily basis..

Could drive a person mad.

Remember this is only my "perception".

Terry 10-29-2015 09:33 AM

I'm not reading this autistic drivel, cmon Sir-Ex.


turmaline 10-29-2015 09:38 AM

I don't remember what I said tldr

Sir-Ex 10-29-2015 09:55 AM


Originally Posted by Terry (Post 52281431)
I'm not reading this autistic drivel, cmon Sir-Ex.


lol thanks for that

Sir-Ex 10-29-2015 10:13 AM

But no really it's pretty likely I have some low-grade form of autism.

moketweed 10-29-2015 02:14 PM

I'd bet a pinch of downs syndrome too...

Grieves 10-29-2015 02:54 PM

Geeno 10-29-2015 03:44 PM

what if everything was circumstantial and every dealing with another person was a series of negotiations.

what if.

what fucking if.

Grieves 10-29-2015 03:56 PM


Originally Posted by Geeno (Post 52281450)
what if everything was circumstantial and every dealing with another person was a series of negotiations.

what if.

what fucking if.

Most of these folks that are raising the stink are shut-in's who lack the diverse life experience needed to develop a sense of tact and ability to not act in a hyper emotional way to situations they are not directly involved in.

Bad shit happens, you can either use that shit and become a superhero or you can fall apart and become a villain.

Geeno 10-29-2015 04:32 PM

So this is basically all a battle of male and female NEETS?

good perspective.

fenderbender 10-29-2015 05:16 PM

I hold doors open for everybody.

Sir-Ex 10-29-2015 05:17 PM


Canuck Wisdom 10-29-2015 06:16 PM


Originally Posted by sirex
So why have I never received an official email from my University talking about stereotypical female personalities and their detriment to the self-esteem of men???

Email from the university on a serious issue that sounds like it was written by a sub par student posting on reddit.

DrChronic 10-30-2015 06:18 AM

i. hate. this. fucking. shit.

i'm going to strive to do the right thing by me and everyone else i interact with, i'm going to fuck up sometimes. i'm going to notice some of those fuck ups, at which point i am going to think about them and try and address them / change my behavior in the future.

i will listen to and consider anyone's input on how I...ME.... am acting, i am not going to listen to rants that generalize genders, religions, races, ANYTHING ELSE or sub-groups thereof.

I'm going to try and forgive people when they fuck up and part of that act of forgiveness is trying to understand where said person was coming from.

anyone who wants to put together an essay / open letter / viral video / whatever telling me how i should be thinking and acting can fuck off in the extreme

Sage Tree 10-31-2015 04:48 AM

Sir-Ex, One of your quote brackets wasn't closed and the quote didn't appear appropriately, so I put the closing bracket on the end. Just letting you know.

Sage Tree 10-31-2015 04:54 AM


Originally Posted by Canuck Wisdom (Post 52281468)
Email from the university on a serious issue that sounds like it was written by a sub par student posting on reddit.


As a person who finds the topic important and relevant, and tries to foster a dialog about femanism..... this article, while not completely errant on knowing some key points, certainly isn't speaking to them well.

reverie 10-31-2015 09:18 AM

I read this article when it was published and didn't particularly enjoy it much either. I'm surprised that the school would send it in a mass email. However, I do know that many schools, like York U out this way, have severe problems with sexual assault on campus and people are working hard to combat this problem.

I think that terming a phrase, and making it a phenomenon is risky because it enters the realm of identity politics, basically leaving people to fight on behalf of their own worth. "Nice guy," title shouldnt be exclusively viewed as problematic, so much as some of the ideologies that stem from it, which is what I believe the article was attempting to penetrate.

As a woman I've had experiences with this type of ideology. Too many times to count actually, and even much more often when I was young and went out more frequently.
One instance is when I gave a guy my phone number when I just moved to Toronto, thinking we could be friends. When I didnt respond right away he started messaging me with messages such as "Oh you're one of THOSE girls, who gives their numbers out and doesnt respond to text messages." He then went on to scold me on how he was a 'good guy' and that 'women like me' can't see that stuff.

Unfortunately some people do think this way as a product of misogyny (the thousands of years of men consciously/unconsciously feeling entitled to womens' space) . Now that doesn't mean that all men think this way, it simply means it exists. It's important to be of sober enough thought to see the nuances within people and specific situations, which is why I think we should leave the term "Nice guy" as a general term, and not claim it as a phenomenon under 'feminism'. But everyone has different ideas of what progress is, so that's what makes any movement so difficult and complex.

The Rev 10-31-2015 09:59 AM

I like to keep this fight local. REALLY local. I'm only trying to change myself, IOW.

In that, I feel the best thing I can do is listen to what the women in my life have to say, and make an effort to understand. I think if I can see where they are coming from, then how I behave toward them, and with them, takes care of itself. It's about accepting that I have more questions than answers.


The Rev

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