She’s at it again: guess what? Nice guys really are nice. Maybe they shouldn’t be so nice, but one thing they aren’t is cruel and selfish.
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*Update*: Here is a basic transcript of GWW’s presentation (although she goes off-script a few places when she reads it, we know a lot of you like having transcripts):
So, I’ve wanted to do a video about Nice Guys for a while, and I’m kind of wondering why I haven’t really gotten around to it before now. But a couple of feminist articles on the dreaded “friendzone” that were linked to on reddit recently got me interested again in why, exactly, feminists in particular, seem so hostile to Nice Guys, especially those who dare complain about being friendzoned.
One quote from the first article:
The reason the friend zone gives me such a bad taste in my mouth is women are under no obligation to return romantic feelings for a man and the existence of a “friend zone” suggests otherwise. A man claiming to be “friend zoned” by a girl suggests that the only reason he was nice to her in the first place was for the potential of sex — and once she makes it clear that she isn’t interested in having sex with him, he gets the second place trophy of her dumb friendship.
To which I can only scratch my head and wonder how on earth does the mere existence of a friendzone and a man’s annoyance at finding himself in it, suggest that men believe women are obligated to return romantic feelings? And what the hell is wrong with wanting sex and trying to convince someone to have it with you?
Men who say they were friend zoned are often the same Nice Guys who think that if they had tried harder they could have won her over. These men view women as pretty sparkly prizes with vaginas. Men can win one of their own if they are just patient and nice enough and avoid the friend zone. Becoming friends with a girl is what men get after they fail at that. It’s their consolation prize.
Huh? So having romantic feelings for a person and wanting to have a romantic relationship with that person, and feeling disappointed when all you get is platonic friendship is viewing women as pretty sparkly prizes with vaginas?
I remember the early, bumpy days of my relationship with my boyfriend, when we were thinking the age difference was something we weren’t going to be able to work around. He told me that he wanted to remain my friend. I said that wasn’t something I was prepared to put myself through–seeing him, being around him, having all the feelings, and not being able to act on them. In essence, with him, I wasn’t in it because I wanted to be his friend. I wanted the whole shebang, and wasn’t interested in having unrequited feelings dredged up constantly. I refused to be friendzoned.
Does this mean that I saw him merely as a pretty, sparkly prize with a penis? Or was it that I wanted what I wanted, I knew I wanted it with him, and not having it but being constantly reminded of that, would have been a giant fucking bummer? As in, painful every single time I might find myself in the same room with him?
I wonder how many of these feminists might have watched movies like My Best Friend’s Wedding, or Some Kind of Wonderful, or any of the myriad films where it’s women who find themselves in the friendzone and somehow don’t manage to be overjoyed and spilling with gratitude to be stuck there the way men are expected to–women who pine and long and yearn, and sometimes plot the whole way through the film. An awesome thing happens when the script gets flipped and the unrequited, star-crossed lover is the female–the audience is actually *supposed* to feel sympathy for her, not throw popcorn and scream at her to be grateful he’ll still hang out with her and berate her for feeling entitled to sex and love. If she “wins him over”, we feel elated. When she fails, we feel sorry for her. When she sacrifices her happiness for his, we admire her.
Given how people are supposed to feel about friendzoned Nice Gals, and how people for the most part actually DO feel about friendzoned Nice Gals, the feminist attitude toward Nice Guys who get bummed out by the friendzone is…well, it’s hypocrisy on an epic scale.
Because the attitude isn’t just cold or dismissive–it’s openly hostile.
I mean, here’s another one:
“The fact that the idea of a friendzone exists makes it quite apparent that people still think that a woman cannot be independent without a man. To you, she’s merely a machine to buy commodities for (dinners, gifts), to date (holding hands, extensive PDA = your possession), and to have sex with (the ultimate goal). If you were truly a nice guy, then you wouldn’t care about taking time away from your selfish needs to make someone else happy. You wouldn’t complain about wasting your time on a girl because she didn’t return the same romantic feelings back. Friendship is a wonderful gift, and the fact that men expect to, basically, get pity-sex in return for their oh-so affectionate feeling is just gross.”
As an aside, I just want to say she sounds like a really great friend.
“The truth is, women are allowed to say no. If your feelings aren’t returned and your heart happens to be hanging around in your large intestine, I’m a little sorry (that you were a jerk). I hope you’re going to change your ways and that you’ll be able to treat the next girl you meet with respect, but the next time I see you complain about getting friendzoned, I hope she rips out something other than your heart.”
Wow. I wish she’d come out and tell us how she *really* feels…
Do these women think that if they just use proper grammar and snappy language when they make an assertion about men’s feelings and experiences, no one’s going to notice that not only are the conclusions they draw logically inconsistent, but they’re also completely lacking in compassion?
I remember a young man (we’ll call him Scott) and a young woman (let’s call her Jane) I worked with, not too long ago. Everyone knew this guy was sweet on her, despite the fact that she was in a LTR with someone else. She absolutely knew it, too. Scott was in the friendzone, but there’s a strange thing about people in the friendzone. They don’t behave like friends. They behave like super-friends with blatant and highly exploitable aspects of significant other. Scott treated me like he did his guy friends and he treated the other female staff he liked a little more gently, but still, just friends.
But Jane? He jumped to help her lift heavy things or get the lid off the jar of pickles, used his pull in the kitchen to get her extras when she ordered her staff meals, went out of his way to be sweet (which was a stretch for him), spent entire evenings as her emotional tampon when she was fighting with her boyfriend, white knighted for her with staff and customers, and even did a lot of her work for her (which he never did for ME, thankyouverymuch). All in the hope that she’d realize her boyfriend was a jerk (he was), and dump him in favor of Scott.
And then one day, as he was busy filling up stuff that it was her job to fill, she leaned over to me and said, not quite quietly enough, “Scott’s doing my work for me–he’s totally my bitch.”
There are no words to describe how much shit hit the fan when she came up to him the next day and asked him to help her with something. I believe the word “cunt” made several appearances.
Did Scott feel entitled to sex or romantic feelings from Jane? Well, the last time I checked, when people feel *entitled* to something, they don’t generally go about trying to get it by tripping over themselves being of service or going to the ends of the earth to impress someone, prove themselves to them, or even be noticed by them. When you feel entitled to things, you don’t jump through hoops–you expect those things to be handed to you for little to no effort, just for wanting them. Kind of the way Jane felt entitled to Scott’s help, support and doting behavior…
So what was Scott entitled to from Jane? Well, he certainly had a right to not have his very obvious feelings exploited by her they way she did, to not be manipulated, used and then mocked for doing pretty much everything she asked of him.
I mean, who’s the bigger asshole here? The man who wanted more from a woman than friendship, did what society told him would work, and got used and humiliated instead? Or the woman who shamelessly took advantage of a man’s feelings for her–feelings she was well aware of–and then made fun of him for being so nice to her?
I mean, I can almost picture her sobbing to one of her girlfriends later that night, the exact same sentiments as one of our feminist writers expressed: “If he was truly a nice guy, then he wouldn’t care about taking time away from his selfish needs to make someone else happy. He wouldn’t complain about wasting his time on a girl because she didn’t return the same romantic feelings back. Friendship is a wonderful gift….”
Yeah, not when it’s all one-way.
I think the most frustrating thing about feminist vilification of Nice Guys who complain about the friendzone is that men can’t help how they feel about someone any more than women can. If our hearts go out to Mary Stuart Masterson’s character in Some Kind of Wonderful, why is it that feminists seem to have nothing but contempt for Nice Guys stuck in the exact same situation, and exactly as unhappy there?
I mean, in the poetic language of the past, what the Nice Guy suffers from was called “unrequited love”. And hell, even ordinary women feel sorry for John Cryer’s character in Pretty in Pink. They may find him pathetic, but at least he’s pitiable. But these days, according to feminists, the malady afflicting the Nice Guy is a malicious sense of entitlement to women’s vaginas. And that conclusion doesn’t make ANY sense at all given what these poor guys are willing to put themselves through in the hope of earning said “entitlement”, until you put it in the context of how our brains operate, and parse that with feminism’s worldview.
First off, a little primer on how we process the world around us. One thing I find really interesting about how our brains interpret the world is that it follows the standard of “age before beauty.” If the prefrontal cortex is the gorgeous and sexy pinnacle of evolution, it’s a whippersnapper compared to, say, the amygdala, hypothalamus or medulla oblongata. I mean, we’ve only had these nifty giant forebrains for a million years or two. We’ve had our reptilian brains since we were…well, reptiles.
Biologists have long come to the conclusion that evolution is not an inventor, or a designer. It’s a tinkerer. Species aren’t like lines of vehicles that get a complete redesign every few generations. Parts don’t get removed and thrown in the bin unless they’re harmful–instead, new stuff gets tacked onto the old and integrated with bypasses and workarounds.
For instance, independent finger movement. We humans have it, and it lets us do all kinds of things, from picking our noses to flipping people the bird to performing delicate surgery or playing piano concertos. When I decide to move my finger like this, I *think* my brain is telling that finger to move. But what’s really happening is an old part of my brain, that’s been there since before we evolved independent finger movement, is telling all my fingers to do this. And then about a millisecond later, a newer part of the brain that’s been duct taped on top of that older part, is telling the four fingers I’m don’t want to move to NOT move.
When you think of how inefficient that system actually is, it’s no wonder our brains are our most expensive organs, calorically speaking. But it’s what we’ve got to work with, because evolution happens in the field and not on the factory floor. The process of “oldest first, newest last” is the rule when it comes to processing the stuff that we encounter in the world around us, and what our systems do about it.
So what does this have to do with feminists’ hostility toward nice guys? Well, when a person is exposed to a specific stimulus, how he feels about it doesn’t happen in any part of the brain he recognizes or has control over. The stimulus goes in through his senses, and first shoots straight through the oldest parts of his brain, where a hardwired set of reactions gets sent to his body. Those parts of his brain will tell his endocrine system to start pumping out a cocktail of hormones like cortisol, adrenaline or dopamine. Those hormones cause changes in his body and other parts of his brain–say, his breath gets faster and more labored, or slower and more relaxed, his throat or stomach tightens up, his heart rate increases, or decreases. Action potentials get sent by those hormone surges down fixed neural pathways leading him to startle, or smile, or laugh, or scream.
At that point, the part of his brain that monitors what’s going on in his body starts gathering that information. Lets say that this part of the brain detects an increase in dopamine in his system, and that the muscles involved in smiling are in use. It’s at that point that his brain make a judgment and conclude, “Okay, I’m pretty sure I’m feeling happy. Let’s find out WHY.”
And it’s only then that that part of the brain will begin to have a back and forth with his prefrontal cortex to identify what it was that made him feel happy, and why it made him feel happy.
In other words, the conscious, thinking part of the brain is the last stop in the process of experiencing emotion and applying causality and context to it. Because it all happens so fast, we assume it’s happening simultaneously, or even that we are deciding how to feel first, and then feeling it after.
This process, how it works, and how unconscious and out of our control it is, goes a long way in explaining how conflicted and even hypocritical people can be in their implicit and explicit attitudes toward a given thing.
For example, consciously, I have no ill will toward spiders. In fact, I’m pleased they exist in the world. When I read about them, or look at pictures of them, I find them to be fascinating in their form and behavior, often beautiful, and a vital and beneficial part of the ecosystem. And when I see one in my house, my first impulse is “HULK SQUASH!!!” My second impulse is to be seriously squicked out by what is now on the bottom of my shoe or a blot in a wadded up kleenex. And it doesn’t matter what my forebrain tells me–I feel no guilt at squashing that motherfucker and flushing it…just in case, and no amount of beneficence or logic on my part can convince me that a spider in my house is a good thing once I know it’s there.
I have an explicit, conscious attitude toward spiders that is all benevolence and tolerance. My *implicit* attitude is that they’re creepy and horrible and deserve to die for daring to venture indoors and share the same air as me. And because my explicit attitude isn’t that important to me–it doesn’t form a part of my self-identity or my sense of myself as a good and decent human being–I can live with the fact that how I feel about spiders isn’t really how I feel about spiders, and rationalize offing that little fucker without a twinge of remorse. Sheesh, it’s just a spider.
But it’s my belief that this is just the type of conflict that leads many feminists to vilify and impute malicious intent on Nice Guys. Because a feminist’s explicit attitude that she likes, desires and respects men who are nice, respectful, supportive, even submissive and always agreeable with her…well, I’m betting that it frequently does not agree with her implicit and unconscious attitude that men who supplicate, beg, wait respectfully, pine and blindly serve female interests at the expense of their pride are weak, pathetic and unworthy as mates.
I’m aware that not all female feminists will have this implicit attitude, because not all women have it. Hell, it’s not even a gendered attitude–it’s common across the board to see weak, supplicating, toadying men as unsuitable for procreation, because men’s value to the community is based on similar criteria as their value to women. But as with all other hardwired or inherent traits, it is the variations, outliers and exceptions that tend to prove the general rule.
Oh sure, a feminist will keep a guy like that around, whether his name is Harry Cheadle, David Futrelle, Michael Kimmel or even Hugo Schwyzer, because he’s useful. He does a lot of heavy lifting, his shoulder is super-absorbent, he can always be counted on to back her up, and he’ll defend her to the metaphorical death from bad men who besmirch her honor by proving her wrong, or scare her by saying mean things, sometimes even when he suspects she’s only using him as a means to an end.
And an ordinary woman will often keep a man like that around, because he’ll give her rides places, and do her work for her, and sit on the phone with her for hours agreeing that the man she’s with is a jerk for forgetting her birthday, and let her lean on him incessantly, right up until the moment she announces to his coworkers that he’s her bitch. Sometimes even then.
She won’t toss him under the bus until he steps out of line and asks the wrong question, or dares to disagree, or publicly chafes under his yoke of service to her, or calls her a cunt in front of half the staff, or dares complain about being taken advantage of while stuck in the friendzone.
And if that woman is a feminist, at that moment–the moment she realizes she’s been using this poor sap who is everything she claims to desire but who leaves her drier than the mojave desert–she will have a crisis of conscience. Does she admit to herself that the explicit attitude that informs so much of her worldview as a feminist is not her real attitude? Does she admit that despite her stated, and probably passionately believed, ethic that men should be allowed to be weak without facing contempt, should be allowed to show emotion without being seen as pathetic and unfuckable, should be respectful to the point of reverence because that’s what women *really* want in a man–does she admit to herself that it’s all bullshit, that she would rather masturbate with a cheese grater than go to bed with someone like that?
What’s a good feminist to do? Well, what Jane–who was not a feminist–did was damsel like mad, disavow any wrongdoing on her part, and shift blame onto Scott for being mean to her for no good reason. She also tried–unsuccessfully–to get him fired. My boss, who’d watched the whole drama unfold for months, was fair-minded enough to refuse Jane’s request.
What a feminist does–what she MUST do–in order to convince herself that she is neither a hypocrite nor a shitty person, is find some VERY good, VERY feministy reason why all the blame for the situation can be laid at the feet of the Nice Guy. She has to convince herself, and others, that he’s not *really* nice, and project imputations of malicious intent on him to prove it.
He is NOTHING like Mary Stuart Masterson’s character in Some Kind of Wonderful. NOT AT ALL. He’s not even like John Cryer in Pretty in Pink, because at least HE knew his place and value well enough to gracefully step back and let Molly Ringwald be happy with her rich, handsome jerk.
Nope, the Nice Guy is nothing like that. In fact, he’s creepy and kind of a perv, a guy who only acts nice because he believes that being nice to a woman will entitle him to sex. He only sees her as a disembodied vagina, a prize, an object to buy things for and claim ownership of. Hell, he’s practically a rapist–he’s just chosen a different modus operandi and toolkit.
See? See how that works? Now that we all know what Nice Guys really are, it’s okay for her to hate and be disgusted by them. The malice and manipulation she projects onto him make her NOT a hypocrite, NOT a bad feminist, NOT a manipulator who takes advantage of a man’s affection to get the benefits of a boyfriend with none of the reciprocal investment, NOT a user and NOT imperfect.
Because if he was actually nice, she’d want to fuck him just like any good feminist would, but he’s not nice at all. He’s a horrible person. And hell, all the ways she took advantage of his affections are even justifiable in light of that–after all, a piece of shit like that doesn’t deserve to be treated fairly and kindly.