Sunday July 5th, 2020
By: Farah Amr Desouky
Story time alert: I’m a twenty-year-old girl, and throughout my life I have been lucky to meet guys who are friends and colleagues that are protective of me, overprotective even at times. They’re the guys who ask me to share my Uber ride’s tracker to make sure I got home safe after an outing. The guys who make me walk next to the pavement on the street while they shield me from potential harassers. The guys who ask and make sure the other guy talking to me is respectful. Doesn’t that sound amazing, having good men in your life, men who aren’t abusive or problematic, right?
The thing is, those same guy friends are the ones rolling their eyes when, we, feminists speak up. They scoff and mutter under their breathes claiming not everything is a feminist issue. They’ve called us killjoys and accused us of being dramatic overreaching feminazis. How is it that the nice guy friends taking part in our lives as marginalized women, making an effort to be our literal shields on the streets, refuse to be feminists. We have collectively normalized the role of the men in our lives as protectors, but we fail to acknowledge that our need for protection is a problem in itself. They tell us to loosen up and chill, and if any other evil man dares to approach us or violate us in any way, they’d put on their superhero costume and fly to the rescue. But we don’t need that, or at least not only that. We need vocal guys who hold other guys accountable. We don’t need guys who only care when the victim is someone they know, because the other girl is a person too, who probably also has a couple of nice guys in her friends too but that didn’t save her.
Your silence is complicity. You turning a blind eye to the rape joke and the locker room talk is complicity. Your chivalrous behavior is not a solution. I don’t want to hand over the phone to a guy next to me so that the other guy harassing me on the phone would stop, because they heard a manly voice. Both guys are similar. You only care when the victim is your friend, mistakenly believing this is a personal matter, while it is social, political, and systematic. The nice guy syndrome is at play here, blinding men from seeing how the roles they have within patriarchal structures benefit them and prefer them over their precious vulnerable women who need them for safety. And their silence is complicity.
Their protection comes hand in hand with their silence and their failure to see the bigger picture. We don’t need saviors, we need feminists. At a time like this we need men to listen, and have an active role in dismantling rape culture.
Farah Amr Desouky is 20-year-old feminist at heart. Farah combines her passion in writing and women’s issues to advocate for her cause.
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