I read a piece the other day titled something like The Field Guide To Finding Nice Guys. I know that’s not it, but it’s close enough, and I don’t really feel the need to look it up because I am not criticizing that piece specifically. Rather, I am commenting on a trend that I have noticed. Also, if I look it up it will count as more engagement and, honestly, I do not want any more credit going to the author.
As I thumbed down the page, that title jumped out at me. Good job, writer, you’ve mastered the art of piquing strangers’ interest, one I have never tried hard enough to be any good at. Before we go any further I’m gonna need some commitment from you, reader, I can’t have people dropping out half-way through over a poorly articulated point. I would ask that, should you take issue with anything I am saying, you give me feedback, comment, send me an email, look me up and send me death threats, anything is better than just taking offense and leaving the conversation. I am not saying these things to be offensive, I am genuinely making an attempt to converse on a topic that I feel is actually important. Incidentally, if you do find yourself becoming offended at anything I say here, or anywhere else, I would ask that you spend some time further examining both your position and my argument. Offense giving and taking often gets out of hand, but it can usually be used as a starting point for progress. So, with all that being said, I’ll get on with it.
So, I was aimlessly scrolling through my network, looking for a short piece to read during my morningly ablutions. I came across this title and I was curious. Despite baseless assertions that such a thing cannot exist, I am in fact a man who happens to be interested in the plight of the modern woman. There are women in my life whom I love that I want to support, and understand, and laugh with and sometimes commiserate with. I am not just interested in, but indeed very passionate about equality. There are no issues more important than the way we treat each other and ourselves, the impact we have on the world, the rights and wrongs and goods and bads and everything in between with regard to humanity.
I clicked on the bait and was very quickly let down. Within the first couple hundred words I found that this was not a good-faith piece of dating advice for the modern professional female. It was nothing more than a, dare I say it? Yes, I dare, a toxic circle jerk. I get it, bad things happen. Bad things happen to people. Bad things happen to people who happen to be women. Bad things happen to women that are caused by men. Men have long enjoyed a privileged position, one of power and control and judgement and approval. I get it. I can’t fathom how it must feel to be a woman in this disgusting culture we have created.
But, writer of this piece, can you fathom how it feels to be a man in this vitriolic culture that we’ve nurtured? I am not even going to act like those weenies in the Men’s Rights Advocacy movement are worth discussing, but I think your apparent opinion is. Men, in general, are not the problem. Men in general isn’t even a thing to be discussed. Some men are problematic, I’ll even grant that a large percentage of them are, but calling an entire category of people something, anything, based on the actions of some people who fall into that category is simply wrong. That is how we make things worse. Would you sit and read a silly humor piece about my struggle to find a woman who can drive well, or a woman who has a good sense of humor, or a black guy with a work ethic, or a tall Asian, without immediately embarking on a crusade against little old me? I doubt it. And not that I would write something so pointless and toxic anyway. Why did you?
This piece went on to caricature the modern man and stated that there are no Nice Guys to be found. I actually liked the jokes, this writer clearly has a sharp wit. I don’t usually makes jokes, but when I do, they’re irreverent. The writer, citing douchery and bro-ery and male-jingoism that I’m sure she took straight from real life, brought authenticity and made me sympathetic to her situation. I am upset that she presented the narrative that all men are aresholes, or douchebags, or whatever. All men are men, that’s just about the only thing we can say about all men, and that is pointless to say, so why even try to make blanket statements? They are either fallacious or vacuous, that’s it.
Again, writer, I am not riding my awesome, muscle-bound, steroid infused white steed to the rescue of my fellow men, I am asking you to adjust your narrative. I clicked on your profile to see if you had written anything that didn’t bother me, and I found that you have written a lot. Most of it seemed reasoned and reasonable, at a cursory glance, but there were several more pieces that seemed to promote the premise that all men everywhere, ever, are always worthless.
The systems in place around the world allow untold tragedies to happen every day. We need to spend more time thinking and talking about how to be better people, and being a better person includes how we treat each other in romantic encounters. But just calling roughly half of all the people in the world idiots isn’t going to do anything for anybody, aside from promoting insularism and perceived obstacles to equality. I happen to be a humanist, a secular humanist in fact, and I agree with many progressive movements, feminism among them. I do not, however, see how these pieces are anything but sexist tripe.
I am not writing this to insult you or call you sexist or belittle you, I am writing this in the hopes that somebody somewhere will read it and adjust their point of view. It is fun to joke about each other, I do it all the time with my friends and family. I would not, however, make statements about a person whom I have no business making statements about. Maybe it would be better if you mocked the men you’ve met, rather than all the men everywhere? Maybe you’d meet better men if you looked in better places, or adjusted your checklist, or stopped doing what you’re currently doing and try something else? Maybe you’re unaware of the impact that your words are having, but I can confidently make the assertion that speaking in generalizations does nothing but spread a lack of understanding and a desire to cling ever tighter to whatever label you’ve adopted. By the way, you do have an engaging voice and most of what you’ve written is pretty good. Maybe just stay away from tribalism moving forward.
We all know better than to make these lazy generalizations, let’s hold ourselves accountable folks, please.
Thank you for stopping in, I appreciate your time and attention. Go out and be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be!
Originally published at http://threebillionbeats.com on April 17, 2019.