Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Nice Guys Finish First, But Feel Kinda Bad About It After

So, earlier I was reminded of The Good Men Project by the fact that their spamtacular Twitter account unfollowed me on Twitter so they could spam-follow someone else. So I went to check out their site. The rant which follows has almost nothing to do with the fact they unfollowed me on Twitter, although that does clearly mark them out to be wrong'uns right from the get-go.

The Good Men Project is a seemingly well-intentioned group of cuddly men's rights activists. They're ostensibly not the outwardly sexist 'Why isn't there an International Men's Day, bitches?' whiners invading feminist blog comment sections and dribbling their entitled slobber all over the place. These are the guys who just think that, hey, us totally non-creepy guys who've never even hit a woman - even when she really deserved it - need a voice too. And so I come to In Praise of Small-Breasted Women, by the "writer and singer/songwriter" Mark 'No, not THAT Mark Radcliffe' Radcliffe.

Radcliffe uses this article to position himself as a pretty sensitive, rounded kinda guy. The kind of guy who would really get you, and who you ladies need to get to know. Sexually, yes. But he'll probably talk to you afterwards. He's just that nice of a guy. He begins by singling out the small-titted among you for some of his...special attention.
Despite the typical male preoccupation with breast size, there are some of us who wouldn’t want you any other way, who see sublime perfection where others see absence.

Maybe we’re just not as vocal as some.

We’re not the guys working construction who whistle chauvinistically from across the street three stories above you as you walk to work.
I mean, come on, girls! Any sexism I may exhibit would be way more sophisticated than hollering at you in the street! When I perv on you, I'm perving on you on a whole other, much deeper level, baby.

So, you know how some people will try and make small-breasted women feel less marginalised by saying that women of all shapes and sizes are just fine? Well fuck that shit. Radcliffe is here to deliver the message that he actually gets off on your small boobs and thinks the way you look makes you super-fuckable.
Maybe we’re the ones quietly taking you in from five tables away. Listening to your voice. Your perspective. Your sense of humor. The witty way you referenced an F. Scott Fitzgerald line in the middle of ordering your drink.

And yes, don’t worry, we snuck a good, long look at your body.

But maybe it’s not a giant rack we’re looking for.
I mean, hey, you don't have a big rack, right, so you're probably intelligent. Not like those stupid big-boob women, and the gross dudes who like them. Do you see now how most men are terrible and you should totally suck off this one guy? Check it; he knows F. Scott Fitzgerald. He's maybe got Met-Art in his bookmarks and not regular porn. He probably even fancies Audrey Tautou more than he fancies Christina Hendricks. That's some deep shit. Observe;
Some of us grew up as athletes, amongst thin, athletic, small-breasted women and grew to like different physical traits than most guys. Like the tight calves of a runner. Or the strong thighs of a skier. Or the muscular stomach of a volleyball player. Maybe we know that having an athletic woman at your side means being more likely to live an adventurous and daring life. (Not just in the outdoors, but in the bedroom, too…)

So hey girl, don't worry about not packing some pendulous swingers under your top. As long as you've got a flat stomach, incredible legs and an ass that won't quit, Captain Sensitive here has got a sympathetic boner for you. I think my favourite part of this whole grubby  affair is this bit:
Guys like me, like the fact that you’re used to having to win people over with your mind and personality, not what was peeking through your blouse.

For me, an A-cup puts you on the A-list, every time.
See, Nice Guys are not just interested in your tits. They're not shallow. But FYI, your small tits are HOT, and actually totally work for some guys, guys who aren't solely interested in your tits but can still get off on them because they don't like big tits, even though tits don't matter like I just said. You're welcome. And so, when they make sweeping judgements about you because of your tits, it's okay, because they're being kind of benevolent and complimentary. You're probably smart or something! (Radcliffe goes on to say that "Some of us have learned from experience that small-breasted women often have larger minds", making full use of his Boob Science degree from Sensitive Dudes University).

There's something super-creepy about this whole thing. It's an open love letter to a certain section of women which aims to be enlightened but just ends up sounding like a weak attempt to rebalance the Earth's perv-scales somehow. I think it's good that some guys can recognise that body fascism is a problem and that bangers aren't everything, but I don't really think the way to address that is to fetishise the opposite kind of body. It reminds me of when people try and fight against the supposed 'size zero' orthodoxy by saying they prefer 'curves' and 'real women'. It doesn't really help to say "hey girl, you don't need to look like Kate Moss, try and look like Kim Kardashian instead because tits and ass rule"; it just replaces one improbable ideal with another. Likewise, acting like you're some kind of fucking hero because of your subjective preference for dicking Natalie Portman-alikes over women who look a bit like Kelly Brook, makes you look like kind of a dick. It doesn't help the cause of inclusivity to single types of women out for compliments.

As I say, it's good that men are trying to be nicer guys, and I'm sure The Good Men Project do a lot of worthy things, but...if you have to actually declare yourself to be a nice, sensitive guy, it's probably because you're not sufficiently coming across that way with your actions. That's really the kind of stuff other people are supposed to say about you, rather than something you announce yourself.


  1. You know, I wouldn't have hated this if it had been a straight-up enconium on how much he likes small breasts. A man is entitled to a preference. But no, it's all sly suggestions that a small cupsize is a deficiency (even though this Good Man is enlightened enough to appreciate your small-boobed hotness!) and that big-breasted girls are intellectually inferior. Grim, grim, grim.

  2. I think you are wrong about the GMP being a group of 'cuddly men's rights activists'. a wide range of people write for it, myself included. and I am NOT cuddly. Or an MRA. In fact, I often find GMP TOO feminist.

    But I am editing a theme there on teenagers and young men and you and anyone else who isn't too old would be welcome to submit something:


    deadline May 12th



  3. Excellent post - I love this! I can't stand all this "don't worry about looking like this - you should look like that!" crap we're confronted with. On that subject, this is also good:

  4. I didn't realise I got to choose between Kelly Brook and Natalie Portman. Or HAD to choose between...

    God, this shit is confusing. Being around women is confusing enough without men like these Good Men confusing matters even more with their confusion.

  5. GMP are all creep and no trousers. Ugh.

    But still: 2 "hey girl"s in one blog post? Reaching, Mr Ropes, reaching... ;)

  6. @ Marina S, I was going for that Ryan Gosling meme thing. I want people to be excited when I save them from traffic.

  7. Really? You never look at a person who intrigues you from 5 tables away?

    I'm a feminist, an outspoken feminist, and while I don't think Radcliffe's piece was perfect, I want one of you who is COMPLETELY honest with yourself, to stand up and tell me you don't "take someone in" sometimes from across a room.


    1. This is perfect, Ropes.

      Whizz, thud, bullseye.

      Joanna, I don't think anyone wants to criticise sexual attraction or even sexual tastes. People are perfectly free to have a preference for any type, any body shape, any gender, whatever.

      The problem with Radcliffe's piece is not that he admits to fancying a certain type of woman, it is mainly that he positions it so that how attractive a woman may or may not be is not HIS problem but HER problem. You the wrong shape for Marky boy? You fail, you big-breasted loser. It's as if he expects women to conform to a particular body shape for his benefit. Sollipsistic, much?

      Then all the assumptions made about women's personality based on their body shape (however jokingly) is frankly unforgivable, and making additional assumptions about men based on their sexual preferences is not much better.

      Above all, as this blog says well, he does come across as a complete dick. I'm not entirely sure what he thought he was doing, and I'm less sure what on earth the GMP editors were thinking when they accepted or commissioned it.

      Oh, and running a follow up on why women with big-breasts are better doesn't make things better, it makes things a hundred times worse.

  8. anyway, more informed comment now.

    the most troubling aspect of this article for me was the continuing replacement of one body ideal with another. we had this with Christina Hendricks-mania, the idea that a curvy hourglass with small waist figure was now the best body for a woman, as opposed to supermodel thin. This guy isn't saying he likes small boobs, he's saying that a very specific body type (slim and athletic) is his body ideal and that women shouldn't worry if they don't conform to an opposing ideal because he'll fancy you if you have small tits.

    The issue here is that we are placing women's value or worth on their bodies and their ability to match an ideal. whether that ideal is monroe curves, kate moss cheekbones or supermodel skinny, we're telling women that their body is the most important thing about them and where their worth lies.

    It also places women as always the object of the male gaze - that women's self-esteem or worth is predicated on whether a man finds them attractive or not. so for this guy, he's reassuring women with small breasts that 'it's ok, i fancy you!'. As if we care! This also commonly happens on comment boards under articles about women's body weight and eating disorders - men going 'i prefer curvy girls anyway!'. It doesn't matter what you prefer because if women's worth is based on beauty ideals we'll never match up anyway. and because women shouldn't be seen in relation to whether men find them attractive, but as our own individual people.

  9. You wouldn't be judging an entire group of people by one article on a website you stumbled on and disliked would you? Just making mass generalizations from one example? No of course not....

  10. @Anonymous, which group of people would that be?

  11. I like the way this guy does the same as a phrenologist does with heads, but with bristols.

  12. You seem to get a bit confused halfway through your post and turn the members of GMP into a sub-set of 'Nice Guys' rather than the other way around. Can you confirm what you mean by nice guys? Is this men in general (all the non-rapist ones that is)?

    I read the article expecting some sexist leering rant. However what I came across was one man's personal account of his feelings on what he finds attractive. Very tame stuff. Maybe you should have remembered Heinlein's Razor - "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity"

  13. Feel I should make a well thought out & incisive comment, but can I just go Boob Science Degree hahaha?

  14. ..man.. reading these so called blogs make me conclude only one thing; life probably is a lot easier when you're emotionally retarded.

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