Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Bye Vile!

This is a hard post to write.

Thanks to a friend on Facebook, I read this site. It's a depressing compilation of men being rude to women who have expressed a lack of interest in their sexual attention. 

As a man who calls himself a feminist, it upsets me to see this sort of behaviour. I wish that I could look at this stuff and say 'I'm not like that.'

In my defence, I haven't called anyone a bitch or a cunt. Or sent pictures of my dinkle, unsolicited. That is because if I want to make someone laugh, I try a joke rather than my rather unimpressive genitalia. 

However... my thoughts in break-up situations are not the kind of cool, generous and respectful acceptance that I might hope. I identify with the anger and upset that drives these men to defend their esteem with a nasty reply. 

The good thing, for me, about reading these posts is that it allows me to reflect on my attitude. I can't read all the insults from my lofty position as a 'nice guy who gets it.' Just because I manage to control my behaviour doesn't mean I have  good attitude. 

So, Bye Felipe is a chance to consider my privilege. I think that the belief that allows men to behave like this is the same belief that stops women doing the same: entitlement. I'm not saying the world would be better if women felt happy to be rude and all, just that this reflects the security men have in... well, carrying on like thugs.

Of course, the insults are covering for a bruised self-esteem. But this isn't about being a 'white knight' and condemning them. It's about examining my behaviour. 

There's a quotation from King Critic Kenneth Tynan, in which he says that a negative review of a play is like a letter from a rejected lover. That's very clever, but here is what a rejected lover does: insults, rants and takes it personally. 

While I am not keen on objectivity, the subjectivity of the rejected lover is not a great look. Now and again I have slipped into it. I am not proud of it. 

I'm not big on 'checking my privilege' - it's more complicated than that, but I am reflecting on how I react to setbacks. Am I heading into a default mode, one that says 'masculinity can be angry'? One that allows me to be childish, because social structures let me?

Usually when I say 'I'm a dick,' my friends tell me that I am not. That's kind of them, but I know what I have done to be a dick (hey, there is nothing really bad, just stuff where I fell short - or sinned as they called it in the old days). I'm just lucky that the bar is set so low for my behaviour, mainly because the kind of guys on Bye Felipe have made it look like not screaming my head off is being 'a nice guy'. 

Speaking of being a dick, I'm more interested in how this attitude is expressed in my criticism. Seriously, who cares about my soul-searching? I'm just abusing my platform to parade my woes... let's get back to the reviewing. 

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