Utsav Chakraborty, Aziz Ansari, and your good friend whose behaviour sometimes leaves you puzzled; these are precedents and anecdotes liberal folks weren’t expecting. Sensitive men who didn’t fit the archetype of a strong normative privileged male, these men were well-read, they wore their skinny jeans and brogues and didn’t ascribe to the popular fandom associated with male dominated sports. These men were your breather from the ones you encountered in the world, and arguably, probably your safe space. But then they began explaining the nature of men to you, they started asking you to be careful, ‘find a guy who cares’, they wanted to tell you there were men who were sensitive and who could take care of women, they were men who let women hold the TV Remote, drive the car, do the job. But hey – why were these men letting the women do anything to be begin with? By that we mean – who were these men to ‘let’ women do something as opposed to women doing something on their own volition.
Consent is always a two way street, regardless of how many girls can enjoy jokes about sexuality and gender – power balances. Even if you are the most perfect soul on the planet who consumes the ‘right’ pop culture, reading Joan Didion and Vikram Seth; watching movies with Rajkummar Rao and Vicky Kaushal; realising the rape-culture pertinent in heavyweight industries, you cannot use any of the above things to be unsolicited in your sexual advances. You cannot use your signature self-deprecating, manufactured nerdiness to come unscathed from something as repugnant as this.
Why did the guy you went with all your boy-problems to turn around to be a mansplaining jerk who hinted at you shouldering some of the blame at least? Why did he accuse the girl he liked but couldn’t make it with as a tease, someone who led him on, and someone ultimately he was ‘friendzoned’ by? If these questions are putting you in a dilemma, that’s simply because your feminist male friend is actually a raging closet misogynist and we tell you how to identify him and call him out on his behaviour!
1. His way of being open with sexuality is a great way to make him come across as non conservative, but it doesn’t mean he can send unsolicited dick pics.
2. His self-deprecating nature is his way of dealing with anxiety, but does he expect you to oblige him with affection because of that?
3. He is woke because he lets the girls around him do anything without question. But, dude, who are you to let them do anything?
4. He micromanages his girlfriend’s / girl friends’ lifestyle patterns under the cloak of being concerned and protective
5. They argue fervently on being members of #NotAllMen, but get them drunk, and you see #AllMen coming out from under the veneer.
6. They secretly will always think that your success is somewhat directly proportional to your people’s skills and your looks.
7. They will rarely watch movies that deal with female protagonist, read books by female authors (no God of Small Things isn’t enough), or actively partake in feminist literature.
8. He surrounds himself with ambitious women, but expects his girlfriend to do traditionally domestic roles.
9. He is a feminist ally until the women in his cohort talk about wage-gaps, age-gaps, and perception gaps
10. He believes that he is above other men, however his actions hint towards a similar behavioural pattern. He wishes girls would pay attention to him because he is sensitive, but ultimately even he feels girls are obliged to give him that attention!