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A guide to the men you'll meet in the wild



With the global population consisting of 3.5 billion men, it can take time to sort out the good guys from the self-appointed 'good guys'. And when too many men (but not all) are quick to separate themselves from the Genuinely Sexist Monsters That Only Constitute One Per Cent  Of The Male Species™, the process just becomes exhausting. How can you quickly tell if someone's alright or alt-right?

Chris Johnson shows a mother, her daughter and two sons walking past three groups of leering men. One group are covering their eyes, one their mouths, one their ears. The mother and daughter are perturbed, the boys look curious. To save you some time, here's a handy guide to identifying the stale males in your life that are probably definitely worth ignoring — from the overtly creepy to the covertly misogynistic.

Barry the Keyboard Warrior: Barry thinks being called out on his sexist behaviour is an attack on his freedom of speech because 'everyone is entitled to their own opinions'. All opinions are equal, except for the ones belonging to the leftie snowflakes who get bent out of shape and play the victim when they're confronted with the truth. Barry's not easily 'triggered' like the aforementioned snowflakes, but his emotional strength was challenged after he saw the Gillette ad.

Dylan the Topic Changer: Dylan is the kind of guy who consistently points out that 'men have it worse' when a report on female victims of sexual assault or domestic violence is released. His concern for male domestic violence victims seems to reveal itself only on International Women's Day. Ever the sceptic, Dylan also believes that misogyny doesn't exist anymore because women have the right to vote. This didn't stop Dylan from Googling 'prejudice against men' to find out if there was anything in life that was holding him back.

Harry the Boomer: Usually middle-aged, Harry is one of your dad's best friends or your best friend's dad. He's the kind of guy who thinks it's 'political correctness gone mad' when told that catcalling is harassment. It's just insane that 'oi sweetheart' and the odd pat on the bum is considered sexual harassment. You just can't talk to women anymore! They don't know how to take a compliment! To be fair, it takes time for people like Harry to adapt to new ideas. It took him two weeks to learn how to send a text message. Give him a decade and he might comprehend bodily autonomy.

Peter the Minister For Women: Let's be clear about one thing: Peter definitely respects women. He has lots of female friends (Beth from Work and Lizzie the Housemate) and he likes his mum. Sure, Peter might use the word 'slutty' to describe a short skirt and he might find it difficult to name more than one female comedian or scientist, but his respect for women is completely unwavering. And to further prove that he'd never objectify a woman, he even has a 'ball and chain' (Kiara the Girlfriend).

Brian the Optimist: Much like Dylan, Brian is the kind of guy who tries to change the topic in the hope that you'll see the brighter side of everyday sexism. Sure, women have been killed for rejecting a man's advances, but at least you're not a child bride or in one of those countries where women are forced to wear burqas! For Brian, it's all about perspective. If you realised that you really do live in the lucky country (where at least 20 women have been murdered this year), maybe you wouldn't complain so much about the creep who leered at you on the bus. Look on the bright side of life.

Kyle the Action Man: While he understands that it's horrible that women get raped and killed, it's just overkill to assume that men need to take action towards preventing sexual violence. It should be the other way round, women taking preventative action. Yes, it's horrible that women's drinks are at risk of being spiked, but did you know there's a nail polish which can detect that? You might be a little unsafe walking home alone at night, but have you thought of getting a rape whistle? Kyle would rather know that you're wearing roofie-testing nail polish than make any effort to stop drinks from getting spiked at all.


"You can find Kevin patiently waiting for his gold medal in Basic Human Decency."


Lancelot the Chivalrous: Lancelot sees the baffling world of independent women as an affront to his honour and existence. Men like to feel necessary, he believes, men need to feel appreciated! He's a noble hero, determined to open doors for the fairer sex, but breaking the glass ceiling isn't on the agenda. The idea that his chivalrous nature would be better spent dismantling the patriarchy is laughable.

Martin the Incel: Martin believes that he is entitled to sex and intimacy, but there's a 99 per cent chance that he's done very little to make himself appealing to the 'shallow bitches' that overlook the kind heart beneath the forehead grease and monobrow. Martin believes that women owe him sex, that women should constantly be available for sex and be incapable of saying 'no', that women should be punished for refusing to have sex with him. And that's the tip of the incel iceberg. Men like Martin have committed acts of extreme violence because of their warped understanding of the world. Martin sees how men like him have enacted these violent thoughts and he exalts their 'heroism'. So hopefully you can see why guys like Martin are to be avoided at all costs.

Sean the Nice Guy: One of the things you NEED to understand about Sean is that he's a nice guy. It's easy to assume that he is. The lack of obnoxious, overtly sexist behaviour is a mechanism employed to lull you into a false sense of trust. You're not like other girls, he says, you're smart. You're not like other girls, you're prettier. Not all guys are as nice as me, not all guys would appreciate how unique you are. And not all guys misconstrue your gestures of friendliness by seeing it as 'flirting'. Bear in mind that once you dismiss the affections from guys like Sean, he'll be very quick to point out that you are JUST LIKE OTHER GIRLS.

Shane the Woke Bloke: At first glance, Shane appears to be 'woke'. He watches the ABC and he'd buy a beer for Egg Boy. While eager to affirm his progressive beliefs, Shane frequently excuses the casual sexist behaviour of his mates and hopes that you will too. They don't actually believe you should make them a sandwich, it's just banter. Duncan's just being funny. He doesn't actually care if your 'carpet matches the drapes', you know what boys are like. No, I can't call them out on rape jokes, I don't want to dog the boys. Men just like to make jokes, alright?  

Lucifer The Advocate: Emerging from the shadows every time something bad happens to a woman, Lucifer will lick his lips before he utters his catchphrase. 'May I play devil's advocate?' is the precursor to a 'well-known fact' that will completely dismantle feminism as we know it: Women can be violent too! And men get killed more than women! Sometimes he's right. Women can indeed be violent and/or murderous. Lucifer just likes to forget that men remain superior to us in this aspect.

Kevin the Good Guy: In this matriarchal world where you can now get in trouble for drawing a phallus near a memorial, it's every man for himself, and Kevin is the first person to separate himself from the men out there who kill one woman or tell one sexist joke and make guys like him look bad. But I haven't killed anyone! I don't abuse my wife! I do my fair share of the housework! Don't look at me, I've never cat-called a woman! You can find Kevin patiently waiting for his gold medal in Basic Human Decency.

Mitch the Mate: You can't blame him for thinking that feminism is irrelevant. Mitch doesn't know anyone that's sexist, so sexism, therefore, doesn't exist. His mates have never harassed anyone (to his knowledge) and his dad wouldn't hurt a fly (unless it voted for the Greens). And if Johnno, Baz and Davo haven't groped a woman or murdered her, then sexism is surely not as common as people say it is. Mitch is 100 per cent confident that all of his friends have never done anything wrong, as though their conversations would have ever gone from football to Davo admitting that he sexually assaulted someone.  

Steve the Mediator: Steve is all for women having their opinions, provided they mind their tone and be respectful of people who might hold different opinions. Women should stop swearing when they're angry, don't they have any self-respect? Nodding politely and not getting hot-headed, even in the face of blatant bigotry, is what will get you allies in your fight for equality. Sometimes you need to respect opinions that you might not agree with. And you should also bear in mind that some things can't be changed. Steve thinks a 'disrespectful tone' makes you lose credibility, and that's entirely why he's hesitant to believe that toxic masculinity is real.



Vivienne CowburnVivienne Coburn is an eclectic writer and ardent coffee snob from Brisbane. Her work has been featured in Junkee, Ibis House, PASTEL Magazine and on her mum's fridge. She is also the host of 'Spookzzz' on 4ZZZ (102.1 FM). You can follow her on Twitter @pearandivy

Topic tags: Vivienne Cowburn, feminism, sexism, alt-right



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Existing comments

It's difficult to define my feelings about so much choice in the male arena! And tempting as it may be, not to want to excise these paragons of language facilitation from my genteel company (purr). Nevertheless, we must acknowledge, as Vivienne has, that there are 3.5 billion men in the world. I propose we (women of the world) lead them gently to a recognition of their present total inadequacy. Perhaps compulsory reading of the entire works of Jane Austen would be a suitable corrective.

Pam | 21 June 2019  

An enjoyable, titillatingly perspicacious read. It has the quality of an illustrative cartoon writ in prose rather than in coloured sketches with passing commentary.

john frawley | 22 June 2019  

Wow - powerful, funny and edgy ... Kudos

Barry the lefty keyboard warrior | 22 June 2019  

What on earth is the point of this?

David | 22 June 2019  

David. Perhaps there is no point to it! Maybe it is simply an imaginative, exaggerated commentary like any other cartoon.

john frawley | 24 June 2019  

Barry the lefty keyboard warrior is right about this article being powerful, funny and edgy. And John Frawley's comments are typically thoughtful. So, there are hopeful signs. My favourite Jane Austen book is "Emma". I especially like the blurb on the back cover of my copy: "Of course we like Emma Woodhouse, and for reasons that are perfectly obvious; Emma is vain, snobbish, cruel, selfish - and fun".

Pam | 25 June 2019  

Well done Vivienne. Of course I have never met any of these men and certainly am not one myself. Just ask anyone. A very insightful article and so spot on.

Tom Kingston | 27 June 2019  

Hey - I’ve met all these blokes at one time or another. I feel tired.

Marg | 27 June 2019  

Such fun to read, and sadly so accurate. Thanks, Vivienne. Looking forward to reading more of your articles in Eureka Street.

Maureen Helen | 27 June 2019  

Brilliant. thanks

JD | 30 June 2019  

This reads a wee bit like Maurice Sendak's 'Where the Wild Things are'. I have the same reaction to both.

Edward Fido | 30 June 2019  

I don’t know why people think it’s a good idea to enemise males like this.

Alex B. | 01 July 2019  

Au contraire, Alex B! This is frenemy territory. Try researching police records to access the ghastly truth behind Vivienne's sharp survivability humour.

Michael Furtado | 12 July 2019  

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