Saturday, April 29, 2006

Why Feminism? (Part 12)

But He was Such a Nice Boy...

This comment at Twisty's reminded me that I still had a few more chapters in my Why Feminism? bit, so here goes.

Guys like freeman can proclaim they are "feminist" and “nice guys” all they want. I know exactly what nice guys are capable of. I know what even wonderful, loving, amazing guys are capable of. I know that hiding behind the “nice guy” label is just that – hiding. I know that the only truly nice guys are the ones that understand that we are all flawed, we are all human, and that being "nice" may be the default fucking setting, but it is also not only a daily choice, but often a daily struggle in this fucked up world of ours. I know that actual nice guys don't feel the need to proclaim this and they don't mistakenly presume that the "nice guy' label excuses their actual conduct.

Not so very long ago my brother and I were driving somewhere and we were talking about calling guys out on homosociality. Not in those words, but that was the gist of the conversation. He was saying that I just didn’t understand how hard it is to be that guy, the guy that calls everyone else on their shit. That I was expecting too much. I think about that whenever anyone says that women who “cry sexism” (or minorities who “cry racism”) are just “playing the victim.” I think about it when certain vocal figures, in the blogosphere and the public sphere, call themselves champions of the people. I wonder if they know how hard it is to be the person whose choices are not to go along with bullies or be bullied, but to be bullied in silence or be bullied worse because you dared to say “NO!” I wonder if he still doesn’t understand how hard it can be to simply say “no” sometimes, even to the people you should be able to trust.

I understand that people make mistakes and I understand that getting things done means making compromises. I’m not judging people simply for making compromises. I just can’t help but cry “bullshit” when people claim to be heroes – heroic underdogs even - and then make excuses for not standing up to bullies, or expect gold stars for simply being a decent human being. I understand being scared, because I am too, but a word of advice: like everything else, it gets easier with practice. The more you put it off, the harder it will be.

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