The Good Cop/Bad Cop
trope is pretty well known, but throughout history, I've noticed that civil rights movements of all kinds have a certain flow to them. There is often a "good cop" movement and a "bad cop" movement. Oftentimes, the "bad cop" movement tends to start things off, and the "good cop" movement is what achieves the goals.
Lemme explain by providing a few examples.
During the racial equality movement here in the US, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. were the two biggest and most visible faces of the movement. And they were very different from each other. Malcolm X was famous for saying things like "You are better
than the white man!" and encouraging blacks to see themselves as better than whites rather than equals - he was the "bad cop". Martin Luther King Jr. was famous for saying that people should be judged "not for the color of their skin, but the content of their character" - he wanted equality, and was the "good cop".
Racist whites who laughed off King's plea for equal rights were afraid of Malcolm X - King, the moderate who simply wanted equality, was a safe haven. People who hated X's extreme views viewed King more positively. In the end, King, the "good cop" of the racial equality movement, got what he wanted and the movement was successful.
However, without Malcolm X, it likely would not have been pushed in that direction. See, just like in Good Cop/Bad Cop
, there are those who see the "good cop" as a pushover, while there are those who fear the "bad cop" and run into the arms of the more reasonable "good cop". I believe the racial equality movement would not have been successful if not for the opposing views of both
Look at the gay rights movement. The Stonewall riots were the "bad cop" of the movement - gays wanted to show the police of San Francisco that they weren't going to be indimidated and pushed around, and they fought back. It didn't create sympathy for gays, but it did reduce the harassment they received in San Francisco. The "good cop" movement is what we see now - organizations like Freedom to Marry, the coming out movement, and so on, all aimed at achieving equality and addressing people directly. The movement is paying off.
The same may be playing out with "Men's Rights Activists". There are apparently two flavors of them - there are the "alpha males" who see women as inferior and want to push rigid gender roles on society - they are the "bad cops", and they are vocal. Their anger at misandry in society, such as domestic abuse laws that are inclined to see women as always victims and men as always abusers (when there are many abused men), divorce laws that favor women (instead of being gender-neutral), etc., has led them into an extremist frenzy where rather than wanting equality, they want to take us back to the dark ages.
The "good cop" of the movement is those who simply want equality.
History teaches me that while the "bad cop" and "good cop" are both needed in order for a rights movement to be successful, it's the "good cop" who ultimately makes it succeed.
And here's the other thing - because of these opposing movements, I'd have to say that society is, assuming no collapse (e.g. economic) that makes this impossible, headed towards equality in general. Did the "bad cops" get what they wanted? No, those who wanted equality got their wish. And since no-one wants to lose their freedoms, their rights, they'll keep them. If they ever did lose them somehow, there would be hell to pay, and the Good Cop/Bad Cop
of the rights movments would flare up again.
I'd been thinking about this for a while. What do you all think?