If you don't live under the rock, you have probably heard the old adage “nice guys finish last.” As a woman, as much as I would like to defend nice men with good intentions, I should agree. This might give you the impression that I am a horrible feminist for preaching equality, yet not standing up for men because Not All Men are terrible beings, right? Hear me out.
The problem with nice guys are not because they are nice, but because they are guys. Being a man means you will be associated with whatever other men do, whether you like it or not. Being a woman means being cautious of all men, whether you like it or not.
Speaking from experience, women have to live with the constant fear of being victims of sexual crimes. But if my experience is not valid enough as they may come from an emotional-slash-irrational place, let me give you some rational numbers instead (go on, hit up the search engine). Without dismissing the fact that sexual violence can happen to anyone, numerous statistics have shown women to be the main victims and men the prime aggressors in sexual crimes cases. This gives women logical reason to be scared of men, regardless of their genuine intention.
This is why when strangers, especially men, talk to me or ask me questions, I have every right to be scared of them. No matter what your intention is, you are a man and you terrify me. For all I know, you could be taking me home tonight, and not because I want you to. This applies to men we know, too. Even nice men. We are constantly reminded by how men will always find ways to manipulate their ways into our pants. It is no wonder our first instinct would be to stay alarmed because your kindness could be a pretext after all.
This reasoning may also serve as a basis as to why women would prefer "bad boys". For as long as we know, we've been taught that men are dangerous and women should always be wary of them. We have been conditioned to think that is simply the natural state of men, which is why, men who are actually nice are strange and even rare. Some would even perceive these nice group of men as creeps as they are deviating from what we've grown up understanding. This is sadly exacerbated by actual evil men who exploit women who still have faith in nice men to get what they want.
The normalization of bad guys is, indeed, unfortunate as it affects nice guys, but what’s more unfortunate is how this subconscious preference of bad guys caused by the heeding of warnings of the real bad guys has trapped some women in unhappy and even abusive relationships.
So, what can nice men with good intentions do to escape this unfortunate cycle? Truth be told, it all depends on the women who hold your heart. But by acknowledging that this situation stems from women’s very real fear of the omnipresent sexual crimes, you may be helping society groom men who love women as human beings like you, and women who love nice men like you. Call out your friends on their sexist behaviors, call out catcallers, and stand with us against sexual crimes, and at the end of day, we may finally be the ones calling you first.
Bad boys, you may be charming now, but charms are not going to sweep us off our feet forever. Nice guys, stay nice. We truly cherish you. We just need more time to figure that out.
Carmen Brillianwati is a lover of everything the universe has to offer. I find joy in seeking beauty, verbalizing my mind, and scrutinizing society on my Instagram @chloelovegood.