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We all know a self-proclaimed nice guy: in fact, a name probably popped up in your mind as soon as you read the title of this article. The most interesting thing about this guy is that he never misses an opportunity to remind you that he is a nice guy or at the very least, different from the other guys. These self-proclaimed nice guys see themselves as the shiny needle in a haystack; they believe they’re different from other men and will remind you every minute they get. However, the self-proclaimed nice guy may not exactly be nice and here are 5 reasons why
He Avoids Holding Himself And Other Men Accountable
Between being a nice guy and telling everyone about how nice he is, this man simply has no time to hold himself or other men accountable. Take the gender-based violence crisis in Nigeria for example – 30% of Nigerian women and girls, between the ages of 15 – 49 have experienced sexual abuse and their abusers are often men. When conversations with these numbers come up, the nice guy’s first concern is that you forgot to indicate that it is some men, after all, don’t you know that not all men are abusers?
The truth is, you know that not all men are abusers and that there is a good chance that Mr Nice guy is not an abuser himself. However, his demand that you specify that only ‘some guys’ are abusers reflects his need to separate himself completely from the damage that men cause in society. While at first glance, this might seem harmless, it is an attempt to absolve himself of any responsibility including the responsibility of holding the actual bad guys accountable.
The reality is that men are complicit in the harm that some men do. While all men may not be intentionally misogynist, rapists, abusers, etc, the bad men thrive in a society that cuddles them – one that all men are a part of. And even if by some miracle, this nice guy is not complicit in any way and has only just emerged from a cave to rightfully remind you that not all men are bad, at that moment, he is asking you to prioritize his ego over actual damage on women and that is proof that he is just not that nice!
He Uses Niceness As A Currency
No one believes in the trade by barter system more than the nice guy. He saved you from the guy at the bar, now you owe him your number. He approached you very politely, you should at least show him a smile. He didn’t take advantage of you when you were drunk but now that you’re sober, you should seriously consider sleeping with him. With this guy, his niceness is a currency offered in expectation of something in return and when you refuse to participate in these transactions, he tells everyone who cares to listen that “women don’t want the nice guys”, a statement that reeks of manipulation with a tinge of infantilization of women.
The problem with this system is that it expects you to reward a person for treating you with decency. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with giving a guy your number after he saved you from the other guys at the club, but that should only be because you want to and not because you have to. If women have to give their time, body or other resources to men simply because they were treated with decency, then that is not freedom; it is slavery with a touch of benevolence.
He Thinks He Holds A Monopoly On Good And Bad
Nobody died and made Mr Nice Guy the king of anything but the joke’s on you if you think that that would stop him nor his audacity from calling the shots. He calls the shots regardless of who asked or did not ask him to. He needs to continue to have the power to make the call on who’s naughty and who’s nice. He wants to be the one to draw the lines between good and bad. Unsurprisingly, he adjusts the line when necessary to ensure that he never crosses it. He’s good, every other man is bad; he’s the judge, the jury but never the convict. On social media, he preaches that No means No and spares no mercy for anyone who thinks otherwise but in the bedroom, he tells you to stop being so childish and selfish when you say no. He thinks verbal sexual harassment is terrible but when he comments on a random girls butt, he expects her to “relax and take a joke”. In a world where you can be anything, this guy chooses to be a hypocrite.
His Niceness Depends On Your Desirability
With the nice guy, the treatment women get is based on how desirable he finds them and since we do not get to decide how desirable anyone finds us, we are constantly at his mercy. Yes he treats his girlfriend with utmost respect and is vocal about women’s rights, but how does he treat the random woman whom he finds unattractive? How does he treat the woman that disagrees with him? Every man has the capacity to treat all women with respect and dignity, regardless of how we look and when a man only affords basic decency to the women he likes, it is because he chose to be that way. The self proclaimed nice guy chooses which woman gets his respect and which doesn’t, based on factors beyond our control and that simply cannot be a measure of progressiveness.
Equality Is Not About Niceness
This is what it all boils down to and something that the self proclaimed nice guys don’t seem to understand. Equality is not about niceness, girls just wanna have rights. We want to enjoy the same economic, political and social rights that men enjoy. We want to have full autonomy over our bodies and not be denied opportunities just because we are women. We should not have to be exceptional or anything else to get these rights and we do not need to spend our lives in eternal gratitude to society for giving us crumbs of these basic human rights. It is a good thing to be nice, but you do not need to be nice to us, just as we do not need to be nice to you for us to have our rights. Currently, gender equality still seems like a dream and while we fight with our blood and sweat for our freedom from centuries of oppression, there is just not enough time or patience to coddle the feelings of our oppressors.
Being an ally of women’s rights advocacy requires a lot of listening, self awareness and accountability – qualities that are not very common with the self proclaimed nice guy. If you really want to be nice, start by talking less about how nice you are and doing more of holding yourself and other men responsible.