I’m Not Nice, and I’m Not Sorry

Let’s get one thing straight, right now: I am not, truly, a nice person, and I am more than okay with that. I don’t have anything against nice people; I like them well enough and realize that the world needs them to continue spinning. I, however, am not one of them.

When the term “nice” is applied to someone, it can mean a whole lot of things — and many of them are anything but nice. “Nice” is used as a generic compliment, as a way to say that someone is perfectly pleasant but not all that interesting. “Nice” can mean “safe”. But more often, when the word “nice” is applied to a person of the female persuasion, there are a buttload of ugly connotations attached.

Because “nice” girls don’t talk back. They aren’t rude, or inconsiderate, or attention-seeking or unladylike. “Nice” girls help and support and play nice with others. “Nice” girls keep quiet and don’t get involved. “Nice” girls don’t stay where they’re not wanted.

Fuck that noise.

If there is something bothering me, you will hear about it because I’m not going to go and stew in my own juices until I’m pickled sour. If there is something legitimately wrong with a situation, you can bet your last fucking donut that I will stand up and say something. And I’ve been lots of places where I’m not wanted. I won’t say that it doesn’t bother me in the slightest — because knowing that no one wants you there sucks, period — but as sure as I stand and breathe I will not let that force me out. If I want to be here, nothing short of God His Own Self appearing to drag me out is going to keep me from being here. Those who don’t like it can blow me.

I am not nice. That doesn’t mean that I’m not capable of being compassionate. That I cannot or do not commit random acts of kindness. That I will not help someone who needs it. What it means, instead, is that I pick and choose who, how, and when I will help someone. It means that I question myself and my motives when I find I’ve done a random act of kindness. I save my compassion and my empathy for the people that matter most to me, because my emotional resources are finite and because when I decide to be there for someone, I don’t do it halfway. And I have been frequently called a bitch.

I don’t believe in being “nice”. I believe in being honest. I believe in being competent. I believe in working hard and putting your best effort forth because anything worth doing is worth nothing less. And I believe with every fibre of my being that until women like me are more common — women who will stand up and speak their mind without giving a second thought to who might hear them — that we have a problem. Because as it stands right now, everybody wants “nice” girls. They’re easy to deal with. They’re not a problem, and even when they are, they go away when told.

The sad fact is that we live in a culture that throws so much shit at us from the time we’re born until the time we die that everyone inevitably ends up swallowing some. I know I have. Every other person I know has. And some of the shit being spewed seems more pervasive than others, more widespread. This notion about “nice girls” is one of them. Did you know that women in positions of corporate power often contribute little to discussions because they don’t want to be seen as controlling? The same behaviour in a man would be labelled timidity or weakness, a flaw. In women, it’s supposedly a virtue. Until we appreciate values equally among the sexes — like confidence and assertiveness, nurturing and empathy — we’re all swallowing too much of the bullshit being thrown our way.

So, I repeat: I am not nice, and I am not sorry.

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

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