F*** the patriarchy.
Maybe you've heard those three words before being shouted from strong female lungs? Maybe you've seen them printed on Cara Delevingne's 2021 Met Gala look? Perhaps you've read them on Instagram and fallen down a rabbit hole that ended with you falling in love with the ultimate anti-patriarchy queen, Florence Given?
Regardless, the phrase is strong. It carried a social movement and that should be respected but this isn't about respecting the movement, instead, it is about the casualties of the patriarchy takedown. The ones who lost out.
Men are the losers in this movement. All men. Not just the ones the movement aimed to change/takedown but also the ones who were not the target.
The greatest dating columnist of all time, Dolly Alderton, once said, "The man, is different from a man." It is truly a wild concept to grasp and you'll need to read it a few times but it really does give some much-needed perspective.
When I shared it with my stepmum she more or less fell off her chair because I was finally getting what she has been lecturing me about for years.
You can fight for your rights without demonising all men.
I took Alderton's words and I listened to my stepmum and I realised that while we were busy fighting the patriarchy we may have forgotten that "the man" isn't a man. In fact, great guys are all around us.
Case and point, the "nice guy" who says all too often he's the "nice guy". His shouts are so loud, his message so repetitive for one reason only, he has been demonised by a movement that was never about him in the first place.
Of course, it can get annoying, we get it, you're nice, but behind his frantic eyes is the truth. A man who is not "the man". He is a half-decent guy who just wants to be recognised for his lack of active suppression and patriarchal involvement.
After taking a minute to see the world from a "nice guy" perspective, I've had a change of heart and instead of assuming the worst of men, I've been getting warm fuzzies about all the great guys in my life - my fantastic guy friends, work colleagues, family members and even the guys I've dated.
I've been reading my old diaries, reminiscing on the good old days, watching Snapchat memories of times I couldn't stop laughing thanks to them and I've come to understand what makes a guy great. It doesn't include whisking me off to Fiji for a vacay, sending me flowers every day or telling me how amazing I am.
A great guy isn't Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl but more of a Nick Miller from New Girl.
These cool as dudes, the nice guys, the great guys are making me laugh with dumb sentiments, they're getting me through my dramas by using Crash Bandicoot as a distraction, and sometimes they even push past their emotional blocks and tell me I'm kind of, maybe, an okay, fun-ish, person to hang out with which is obviously better than any vacay in Fiji.
I mean it. Nothing, absolutely nothing in the world, not even your boyfriend telling you he loves you for the first time, is better than your super blokey guy friend uncomfortably telling you that he enjoys being your friend.
While this column might shock my friends, who are used to my feminist rants, I want to stress that my 2022 mood is "yes, let's finally take down the patriarchy and make free sanitary products in workplace bathrooms normal", but in doing so, let's also pay homage to all the great guys in our lives who are all too often grouped into the "bad guys" team.
Because the "nice guy" doesn't deserve to lose his voice trying to be recognised as an ally.