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Nice Guy (also known as Nice Guy™ or the Nice Guy Syndrome) is a pejorative term referring to a social stereotype commonly associated with young adult males who view themselves as caring and emphatic gentlemen in courtship to increase their potential towards women. Not to be confused with males who are nice in general, Nice Guys have been criticized on the internet by both males and females alike for being hypocrites or even misogynists potentially being driven by an ulterior motive, mainly in anticipation of a relationship or sexual favors in return, and are often mocked as the first citizens of the friend zone.
In early 2002, the website Heartless Bitches International published several pieces on the concept of the Nice Guy. The sections delved into the common character traits of Nice Guys, what makes them undesirable to women, and tips on how they can make themselves more desirable. The sections were particularly critical towards self-professed Nice Guys whose “nice” behavior they saw as hypocrisy, emphasizing on stating that the Nice Guys themselves are the problem.
Nice Guy Phenomenon
Various studies have shown that women associate different qualities with the “nice guy” and “jerk” labels, including reports that women at times have a more positive view towards the “jerk” label than “nice guys” and may prefer the former for a relationship. Similarly, many dating advice columns and pickup artists argue that being too meek or “nice” is a common reason for why guys get in the friend zone.
Definitions and explanations for Nice Guys can be found on various websites and feminist blogs. The Geek Feminism Wikia covers a large list about Nice Guys, explaining their personality and criticising their way of thinking. An article about Nice Guy also reached the top post position on the feminist blog Matingselfishness. On TvTropes, the Nice Guy Syndrome is explained through an article titled “Entitled To Have You.” On Urban Dictionary, more than 80 definitions have been submitted for “nice guy”, with the earliest entry defining the term as “[the guy who] always finishes last,” dating back to August 3rd, 2003. The majority of the definitions appear to have been written in defense of the Nice Guy Syndrome, with some associating the phenomenon with “rejection of masculinity” and “inner beauty.”
"The whole ‘nice guy’ phenomenon really supports the idea that people primarily care about physical appearances and that shrewdness, selfishness and narcissism will always triumph over compassion, rapport and “inner beauty.”
On May 31st, 2011, YouTube celebrity Nigahiga released a music video titled “Nice Guys”, based on the cynical idiom “nice guys finish last.” The video features two males who decide to act rude and antisocial towards females on advice in an attempt to get closer to them, only to eventually discover it is better to show affectionate behavior to avoid being hated. As of January 2014, the video has gained over 51 million views and upwards of 476,000 likes.
On October 2nd, 2011, the Facebook page TheKillerTruth posted an image (shown below) of a text message sent to women from a self-professed “Good Guy” stating that women are oblivious towards the good guys in their close surroundings and instead date others. As of January 2014, the post received over 38,000 likes and upwards of 8,500 shares. The image was criticised by the feminist blog Feministing a week later.
On December 16th, 2012, the “‘Nice Guys’ of OKCupid” Tumblr was launched, exposing the hypocrisy behind some of the self-professed “nice guys” of the online dating website OKCupid by juxtaposing their profile photos with contradictory and sometimes even misogynistic statements found in their profile descriptions (shown below). From December 19th to December 21st of the same year, the blog was featured on the women’s interest blog Jezebel, feminist blogs Feministing, NY Mag, The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and relationship website The Frisky.
White Knight (also known as Internet White Knight) is a pejorative term used to describe overzealous men who defend women on the internet with the assumption that they are looking for a romantic reward in return. The term is derived from the knight-errant stock character, a medieval figure in romance literature that would perform various acts to prove his chivalry. They are often criticized in similar ways as Nice Guys.
The Friend Zone
The Friend Zone refers to an interpersonal relationship in which one member wishes to become romantically involved while the other would rather remain friends only. Escaping the friend zone has been a common topic among dating advice columnists and pickup artists, many of whom argue that friend zoned males are typically too meek or “nice.” An entry on WikiHow for “How to Escape the Friend Zone,” advises readers to break the “nice guy” stereotype by being less emotionally needy to the object of their affection. The Psychology Today blog similarly advises that those wishing to escape the friend zone should seem more aloof and less interested.
Matingselfishness – Why do feminists hate nice guys, and never mention ‘nice girls TM’?
The Huffington Post – Nice Guys of OKCupid Tumblr Proves These Dudes Are Anything But