This is a guest column by Sex + Cookies 2.0, whose advisers include Feministe contributor Echo Zen and students who’ve been pushing sex-positivity since before Tumblr made it cool. We’re honoured to be Feministe’s first relationship vloggers. :-)
Welcome to Sex + Cookies, an advice column where we answer questions on sexual health and relationships, whilst looking at dessert porn and mocking Republican rape philosophers (sometimes). Actually, let’s just dive into our first episode…
Of course, here’s a transcript…
Sex + Cookies 2.0 | Episode: “Nice Guys”
Okay, someone emailed us recently with this question…
“My friend complains that nobody wants to go out with him because he’s too nice. Women only see him as friend material, he says. But after hearing this all the time, I’m starting to wonder if women think he’s being nice because he wants to date them, and that turns them off. Am I being harsh on my friend?”
Well, we don’t know the specifics of your situation. But all things being equal, your friend does sound like a member of the Nice Guy™ crowd.
We’re not talking about lowercase nice guys (like Ryan Gosling), who’re nice to people because it’s basic human politeness. Nice Guys™ act nice because they believe if they’re nice to women, then women are obligated to be interested in them.
If you think about it, it’s an antiquated way of thinking that hearkens back to the era of fairy tales. The prince rescues the girl, and the girl is obligated to love him for helping her out, even if she barely knows him. Under this mindset, women are objects to be won, rather than people entitled to their own preferences and choices.
In a way, Nice Guys™ think of women as vending machines, almost. Rack up enough points for kindness, and eventually women are supposed to dispense dates, or sex or something.
But if a Nice Guy™ thinks of women as objects, how is that nice? That’s a rhetorical question, because there’s nothing nice about thinking of women as prizes to be won.
In fact, there’s a word for folks who think of women as objects. We call them misogynist trolls, much like politicians who fly into a rage because university “coeds” use birth control without their permission.
Anyway, this demystifies the notion that women refuse to date your friend because he’s too nice. Ultimately, despite how women are portrayed on TV, women really aren’t stupid. If they sense that a bloke is being nice to them so he can get into their pants, he’s not going to get very far.
If your friend wants women to go out with him, we’d advise him to first acknowledge that he can’t force women to like him. Instead, he should cultivate himself into someone engaging enough (like Ryan Gosling) to attract others.
Of course he might say **** it and dispense with consent entirely, but we’ll talk rape culture in a future episode.
Now that we have a chance to catch our breaths, you might be wondering, “What was that about?!”
Okay, some background. We’ve been teaching sex education in dorms for years, focusing less on biology and more on culture – slut-shaming, hypermasculinity, etc. As often occurs in advocacy, the demand from dorms for educators always outstrips supply. So we began experimenting with reaching more students by migrating part of the conversation to social media.
We attempted four prototypes before finally arriving at what you saw above – this included a pilot where some blokes play “Portal” whilst arguing over sexual health myths. (To preserve the dignity of parties involved, we won’t link to these awkward experiments.) This last pilot was distributed to several hundred within our private uni network, where it was received decently. That’s when it occurred to us that maybe we could help out more than just students, by extending the idea into a relationship vlog here.
What do we hope to accomplish by making this a public vlog, not just a uni project? Yes, we want to apply our overpriced educations to something useful, but not because readers here need sex education (we hope). Rather we want the series to be… a tool. When you see friends posting gender myths too infuriating to debunk personally, and you just want slap a video on their walls to school them on how friendzones promote rape culture or whatever… that’s what this vlog is for.
But what matters is your feedback. We won’t stay static, like the Republican platform. We intend to improve based on what you think. Are we concise enough or too concise? Should we do longer episodes? Would more sarcasm appeal to you but perhaps alienate non-feminists we want to reach? We don’t know. So your feedback is vital.
Let us know what you think, and feel free to submit questions through our Tumblr. We’ll try to put out new episodes ever couple weeks. Can’t wait to see what becomes of this first attempt at a Feministe vlog!
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