Why should we be unfriendly to confrontation

Why women should be less nice

A bright orange poster with black letters hangs in a frame on the wall of a Zurich friend: "Note to self: Be kind be kind be kind". An art print, very powerful. You can order it online; i decided to buy it.

Being nice has not had such a good reputation in the past few decades, especially with men. Nice men were reviled as softies, as sit pissers and poolside swimmers. And as an understanding of women, as if that were something bad. The sentence "The sister of shit is nice!" I heard from Anke Engelke for the first time sometime in the noughties, and then for sure a million times. He further ruined the reputation of being nice. The nice ones were the stupid ones, the weak ones. So if they were men. Being nice was okay with women. For women it was practically part of the factory setting.

Don't be nice and nice anymore

I very much appreciate the fact that women now less and less want to be nice. No longer dear, no longer smiling. No longer being the prettiest and dearest, as my generation was taught, but better: the smartest, the strongest. It is no coincidence that the fitness training programs that are currently most popular with young women are no longer those that make you as thin as possible, but rather strength training programs that develop, strengthen, and strengthen muscles.

A woman told me how she recently struck when she thought the situation required it, and how incredibly satisfying it was not to withdraw humiliated but to give it back properly.

I don't want to glorify violence here, the world is violent enough as it is. However, most of the violence is perpetrated by men and the majority of cases are directed against women. 41 of the 70 people killed in Austria in 2018 were women, "most of the perpetrators were men" (according to the police). And most of them had a family relationship with the victims or had known each other beforehand.

"Just smile"

Another reason women live with men who later kill them is because they are not taught enough not to be nice. To react unnaturally immediately when they notice that something is not good for them, to refuse unnaturally, to leave unnaturally. For far too long women have been taught to smile, be nice, be pretty. "Have a smile" is one of the most popular sayings men use to harass women on the street; no coincidence.

In this society women need courage, strength and determination in order not to be nice, in order to say resolutely no when they don't want something, when something is not good for them, and that's what girls should learn from an early age, that's how we should them encourage: Be strong, be stubborn, be unkind. While boys should learn that they don't always have to be strong, that it's okay to be nice, attentive, understanding.

I didn't buy the orange "Be kind" poster. Fits better in a man's apartment. (Doris Knecht, September 21, 2019)

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How I tried to eat less meat

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Doris Knecht lets her meadow sprawl

How I tried not to fly

Doris Knecht acts on Marie Kondo: You have to be a virgin

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Procrastination: I'll do it tomorrow!

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DORIS KNECHT is a writer and columnist in Vienna. Her novel "weg" was published in spring 2019.