Okay, so picture your stereotypical nice guy. You know, the guy in every romantic comedy. He’s cute, a little dorky maybe, but a genuine guy who treats his girl right. He seems to be an all-round stand-up dude, even with his minor flaws – until we cut to the scene where he’s with his buddies leering at hot chicks on the boardwalk. He’s a perfect gentleman with his girlfriend, but seemingly all of his respect for women goes out the window when she’s not around. Nice guy? I don’t think so.
Example A: I Love You, Man. Paul Rudd’s character is sensitive, thoughtful, and intensely loyal. He’s head over heels for his fiance and seems willing to do anything for her. Enter Jason Segel’s character – a “nice guy” who’s a bit lost and without direction. Now you guys, I love Jason Segel, but I hated his character. For all of his supposed “niceness” he was an asshole 50% of the time. From anger issues to referring to women as pieces of ass, there wasn’t much that I found endearing. (I was relieved to discover that Jason didn’t write this movie.) His character says various derogatory things about women, and Paul’s character – the sweet, sensitive guy – goes right along with it.
Okay, I know it’s just a movie and it’s supposed to be funny. (And yes, most film is ruined for me because I can’t help but watch everything with a critical eye at this point. Ignorance really is bliss.) But my point is, men should know that it is not good enough to treat only your girlfriend/wife/mother/daughter respectfully. You need to treat ALL women with that same respect, because we are people. Paul Rudd’s character will make an awesome husband, but not a very good ally for women. He wasn’t willing to speak up against his friend’s misogyny (nor did he seem particularly bothered by it).
This goes beyond the big screen. You’ll see plenty of men “defending the honor” of their female loved ones. A father who won’t stand for his daughter being objectified – but this same father stands by idly while his friends look down women’s shirts. Or maybe you’re the “nice guy” in the bar who beats up the creep who is harassing your girlfriend (not an appropriate response, by the way. Violence isn’t necessary). But would you do the same for a stranger who is being harassed? Would you notice? Would you care?
It’s just not enough to respect only those women you know. Respecting women as equals should be a universal practice for every man. If you respect your girlfriend but stereotype and objectify other women, what kind of person does that make you? I have had male friends who treated me well but told me stories about girls that disgust and sadden me. I try to withhold judgment and justify their behavior by reminding myself that they’ve never disrespected me…but then I realize that there is no justification. I can’t stand for the mistreatment of any woman – it goes beyond me.
And guys, you are such an important part of this. If you hear your friends rudely remarking on a woman’s body, tell them it’s not cool. Don’t sit in silence while they talk about women as pieces of ass. This kind of casual sexism is rampant these days, especially among young men. Even if you don’t participate in the conversation, your silence does not equate dissent. If we really want to curb sexism and end harassment, loud and vocal disapproval is needed.
So if you really wanna be a nice guy, start respecting ALL women, even when there’s nothing personal to gain. The world will be better for it.
Please & thank you. ❤