Welcome to Ms. Opinionated, our weekly advice column dealing with questions of life, love, feminism, and pop culture. This week, Nicole Georges takes on a question we’ve all had: How do you deal with an intolerable dude who constantly applauds how enlightened he is?
I have a guy who is in my circle of friends who is quite loud an opinionated. He’s your typical white, middle class, privileged male who knows everything. He can be fun in small doses, but he’s also a racist, homophobic misogynist—and makes excuses like he hates everyone equally or is only kidding.
He talks it up about how feminist he is but then continually posts things about women being rapists too, how false rape accusations ruin boy’s lives, and how “strong independent women don’t like him because he always calls them out on their bullshit.”
He’s a MRA in a feminist suit. I have tried to gently educate him and been met with such nastiness I’ve given up. But he’s just announced he’s going to start writing a feminist blog.
What do I do? How do I keep myself safe but also stay true to myself? Thanks for your help!
What a delightful fellow. I can’t believe your friend group has been hoarding him all to yourselves this long. Do you think you could give him my phone number so I could get some unsolicited advice on how to live life?
Actually, he is not so rare. Do I know people like this? Yes I do. Do I run (not walk) in the opposite direction when they arrive? At every possible turn.
You are in charge of your own reality.
You are not in charge of him, or how stupid he is, you are only in charge of how often you are near him, and whether or not you let his foolishness take up any of your time or mental energy.
You do not need to be his teacher, debate coach, or reader.
Those are noble pursuits, but they are not worth your time.
You will serve the planet more as a whole, mentally sound, calm and intelligent feminist woman than you will as a frazzled, anxious, hoarse-from-arguing person who just spent all their time trying to fix a dude or protect the world from him. We could spend all day reading Dov Charney’s defense of Woody Allen and pulling out our eyelashes in a rageful fit as we scan the comments section, but that wouldn’t serve anyone.
In practical terms, I am telling you to avoid him. We, the world, can fend for ourselves.
I recommend you duck out of events early when he shows up, or bring along an ally to act as a buffer and witness. If this feels like it is impacting your social life, I recommend you take extra steps to hang out with your friends one-on-one so that you can control your surroundings and not get a surprise guest in this loud-mouthed fellow.
But you should also tell your friends how you feel. Tell them in calm, certain terms, that you can’t hear tragi-comic second-hand stories about “Bob McGillicutty being a jerk” anymore. It’s just too stressful. They will understand. I’m serious!
And for god’s sake, hide his posts on Facebook, and never ever read his terrible blog.
If you are worried that he is a detriment to feminist society, balance it out by making yourself an even more nourished, balanced, productive member of the universe. Feed yourself.
For every stupid thing you imagine him posting online, turn off your computer and draw an amazing picture or take a nap or read a book or tell a friend that you appreciate her.
Walk outside and say hello to an old woman. Pet a dog or write an article about your favorite feminist artist and send it to your friends.
The last note I will write about this dude:
You know what’s nice about life? I find that if I have an experience with someone—a feeling that they’re annoying or manipulative or an asshole—I generally feel alone in the moment when everyone else is being silent. But eventually discover that I was never alone.
If you see this in him, other people do too, I GUARANTEE IT. If you can see that he is an enemy to women, other people can too.
I look forward to seeing or feeling the positive vibes you put out into universe that have nothing, NOTHING to do with this joker, and everything to do with you being a feminist ruler.