Let me talk to the men for a second about this whole “white knight” thing

Now, most of you guys are good people. You don’t need the “white knight” thing explained to you, and you don’t need to be told not to call some dude a white knight because he sided with some woman and called you on your sexism. I’m not trying to tell you something you already know, but I do invite you to share this with someone who doesn’t.

The rest of you, listen up. This is going to help you lose a lot less of the fights you pick with women.

Let’s say you’re on the web, and a woman says something that you think is unfair to men. It might be something about sexism, rape jokes, equal opportunity, whatever. And let’s say that instead of asking yourself why it makes you uncomfortable, or just ignoring the comment altogether, you decide to engage her on it.

Chances are, that conversation doesn’t go well. Maybe the woman gets a bit defensive, and maybe you mistake that defensiveness for proof that her argument is totally sexist and weak. She’s probably really just tired of dealing with strange dudes who want to know why she hates men, but that’s not the point. Not to you, anyway.

Things escalate, and pretty soon, one of her male friends steps in to back her up. By doing so, he’s giving you a second chance to pause and consider the argument. And it ought to be easier to accept the argument coming from him, because he’s a man.

But what do you do? You assume the only reason he’s butting in is because he wants to impress the woman so he can sleep with her, and you call him out for it. You call him a white knight.

When you look back on this argument later, focus on that last part. That’s the part where you threw in the towel and made an ass of yourself. You might as well have called everybody Hitler.

“White knight” is one of those insults that always says more about the accuser than the accused. I can’t speak for women – I’m married, after all – but I can tell you what the rest of us dudes think when someone calls us a white knight.

“Here’s a guy who doesn’t know how to relate to women,” we think, “except as people who either will or won’t sleep with him. He’s so hopeless, in fact, that when he sees a man taking a woman’s side over his, he assumes it’s just because he’s trying to get into her pants. He can’t wrap his head around any other possible motivation.”

Now, you’d never describe yourself like that. Hopefully, it’s not a fair description of you. So you need to do yourself a favour and stop throwing “white knight” around, because that’s what you’re saying about yourself when you do.

By the way, if you’re one of those third-party guys who injects himself into these arguments, keep doing so. Be respectful when you do it, of course, but speak your mind. You won’t be standing up for a woman; you’ll be standing up for the principles you share with her.

For added fun, trying making the exact same argument that the woman already made, and see if the guy says you’ve got a good point. I’ve pulled this off a few times, and it’s always hilarious. Bonus points if you repeat her argument word for word.

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2 Responses to “Let me talk to the men for a second about this whole “white knight” thing”

  1. Lyndsay says:

    So true. Sharing.

  2. Matt says:

    Thank you, Lyndsay! And thanks to everyone else who’s been sharing this. Much obliged!