So, did you ever pose a threat to the dominion of “good guys” or voiced your ideas which confront theirs? In short, did you ever feign “manliness”? If your answer is a yes, then it is highly likely that your relationship is over now. Because you have witnessed how aggressive they can get in a second.
A video was shared on the social media after this year’s Feminist Night March on March 8. In the video a feminist was saying “The loveable period of a woman lasts until she says ‘no’ to him. If you think that some guys are good, this is a matter of what you say ‘no’ to”. I have been thinking over these words for a while now. Since I heard these words, I have been running through the attitudes and behaviors of the “good guys” that I know and asking over and over again the same question to myself: who is a “good guy?”
Those “good guys” around us usually define themselves as people who do not accept the taboos imposed on different genders and support gender equality. On top of that, they claim that they are flexible and sensitive when it comes to relations between women and men. They, usually, want to make you say, “Are there any men like you in this geography?” These are mostly well-educated and intellectual men with whom you spend time and who do not give you discomfort when they are around. They are kind, loving and attentive to us; and if need be, they can be our confidants. We share some common qualities and interests that bring us together; our political view, age, education level, or sectors we work in might be similar.
When I look at my own circles, I can even add that most of them do not want to be known as “misogynist” and refrain from sexist curses. Actually, most of them think that not using sexist swear words is the touchstone of being a “good guy”. Against the kind of text that I am writing right now some guys say “Not every man is the same, these kinds of generalizations are wrong”; however, all these similarities cannot be coincidental. Particularly, those men who speak like this think that they are certainly one of the “good guys”. A good guy is progressive because he is far-sighted.
Think about this scenario: You are going to meet one of your friends whom you love very much and you think is a “good guy” and the second he sees you he tells you “You have a beautiful face, why are you wearing this much makeup?” If he were someone else, you would probably have said “Mind your own business” and move on, but he is your friend whom you think is a “good guy”! While we go through these kinds of situations, we might overly bond with the person standing just across us because “he is not like the others”. We overlook many small and insignificant behaviors, knowingly or unknowingly… Detect all these “good guys” that limit your actions and intervene immediately! This might save you the trouble of asking yourself “If even he treats me like this, who knows what others would do?”
So, did you ever pose a threat to the dominion of “good guys” or voiced your ideas which confront theirs? In short, did you ever feign “manliness”? If your answer is a yes, then it is highly likely that your relationship is over now. Because you have witnessed how aggressive they can get in a second. Think about this for a second: you are in a meeting; it might be a business meeting or a political one where ideas are being smashed. Keep in mind, these men are progressive! They speak non-stop thinking that they either save the world or destroy it. They have a pensive posture; they believe that whatever they speak about creates new horizons. If you happen to say, “In fact there is another thing”, you would probably not be responded to since they are very busy talking and highly likely you are someone who is trying to steal their time. Perhaps, in time, you gradually get isolated and quieter in those meetings. There are many men like this with whom you chitchat in breaks, mess around to put up with the workload and eat your lunch or dinner. However, when it comes to expressing your ideas in their fields of expertise, they smile and slur over saying “I am taking note of this”. For sure, in many sectors, the participation of women and men in the workforce may be equal; however, we still witness these pervasive patterns which have turned into reflexes. When I say reflex, I do not mean that these people are governed by some supernatural powers that are beyond their control.
The “good guy” camouflages himself because he thinks that we cannot think negatively about him. A “good guy” can be your partner and he can camouflage himself and thinks that this way you cannot think negatively about him. He is particularly good at controlling his anger and violence during a discussion or a dispute. However, if he is going to settle the score then he manages to do this by manipulating the situation instantly or at a later unexpected moment. For example, someone has messaged you. When a “good guy” sees this message, he utters the following sentence: “if somebody wrote me such a text, you would have overreacted”. Thus, he says that he is good and progressive without explicitly expressing it, and in another event, he does not hesitate to put forward his trump cards that he has collected in his pocket. You cannot usually break the hearts of these partners whom we call “good guys” because they made such a good impression on you that you cannot help but think, “He knows things”. For instance, on the sly he tells you negative things about a friend of yours whom he does not want you to see. He tries to ingrain this idea that this friend of yours –regardless of their gender– is not good for you and that you should be suspicious even of the slightest gesture of this friend. I think this is a textbook example of your partner’s effort to control you even in his absence. Although at first you might confront your partner who is a good guy, after all these manipulations, you may soon find yourself saying to him, “Yes, you are right, you are my best friend.” And you might even end up thanking him for making all this clear to you. Over time, all this drags you to such a point that you feel that all the problems in your relationship are caused by you and that you are the one who needs to change your behavior for the sake of your relationship. The good guy who happens to be your partner has many excuses. Even if you find a photograph or a message on his phone, he can immediately convince you by saying “It is not what you think it is, you are exaggerating, what is the point in all this now”. In fact, all the manipulations that are designed to change your behavior, keep you under control, and hide things from you are gaslighting. They are a part of his efforts to break your reality and build his own instead. Gaslighting, in particular, is the job of the “good guy” because it provides him with the nice space to maneuver and to cover all his actions and behaviors.
We can offer many more examples of “good guys” and most of these examples are based on my own experiences and what I have drawn from my female friends’ experiences. My aim here is not to say let’s do these against the “good guys”, but just to help others in identifying them. I hope my observations and evaluations here would help women respond in the way they think is necessary in their personal relationships.
Finally, I would like to thank my beloved friends Merve and Nisan, whose conversations I enjoyed very much and who are open to all kinds of information that would expand my horizon.
Translator: İpek Tabur
Proof-reader: Müge Karahan
For the original in Turkish / Yazının Türkçesi için