Is White Knighting a Type of Poisonous Masculinity?

HBO’s “The White Lotus” is about privilege and energy — who has it, who does not, and who’s afraid of it being taken away. Whereas the primary season of the hit present tackled class, within the second season, the social satire has taken goal at gender politics.

As is typical for “The White Lotus,” not one of the characters get off simple. Each particular person highlights simply one other ugly fact concerning the state of the world right this moment — even those who’re initially put forth as heroes or, a minimum of, not-so-bad individuals. Such is the case with Albie Di Grasso (performed by Adam DiMarco), who’s portrayed in sharp distinction to the opposite males, a self-proclaimed “good man.”

In comparison with his father, Dominic (Michael Imperioli), and grandfather, Bert (F. Murray Abraham), Albie, the Gen Z consultant, does appear good — at first. However the newest episode, the fifth of the season, started to disclose a darker risk: Albie could really feel simply as entitled to ladies’s need, consideration, and our bodies as his grandfather and father. And whereas Bert and Dominic present their poisonous masculinity extra overtly, Albie’s isn’t any much less damaging.


#stitch with @jazmelodyy #greenscreen and entitlement! And dont get me began on the theo james of all of it #whitelotus

♬ Renaissance (Main Title Theme) [from “The White Lotus: Season 2”] – Cristobal Tapia De Veer

One TikTok user breaks down the generational transformation of misogyny, as portrayed within the present: Bert’s unapologetic and apparent harassment to Dominic’s behind-closed-doors exploitation to Albie’s specific model of entitlement, through which he hides his poisonous masculinity not simply from a romantic associate however from himself. “Subsequent era goes ‘no each of these issues are evil. We’ll study third wave feminism and browse every little thing and we’ll perceive ladies, that approach they’re going to HAVE to sleep with us as a result of I get it. I completely perceive’,” TikTok person @ethanforyou says in his video, earlier than summing it up: “They’re all unhealthy.”

Some viewers on Twitter are rooting for Albie and Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) to get collectively, regardless of his most up-to-date fumble. Others be aware that he is allowed to be dissatisfied (which is true), and that Portia strung him alongside till she met somebody new (as if she is not a single lady on an Italian resort trip) — that none of this implies he is a nasty man.

However for a lot of others, numerous indicators — his “fairly wounded hen” remark, his self-identification as a pleasant man, his slowness to simply accept that Portia simply . . . wasn’t that into him, amongst different issues — are pointing to the truth that Albie could possibly be a “white knight.”

White knighting has a casual definition, nevertheless it’s usually used to confer with somebody who tries to insert themselves because the knight in shining armor that nobody requested for, all with a not-so-sneaky ulterior motive — to realize social foreign money or reciprocated need, for instance.

In a Reddit thread defining the time period, one person provided up this one: “Males who soar to a [woman’s defense] in any argument, even when the girl might be the one within the mistaken.” (Folks of any gender generally is a white knight, although.) This calls to thoughts a second in episode 5 when Albie discusses intercourse employees Mia (Beatrice Grannò) and Lucia (Simona Tabasco) together with his father and grandfather. “They most likely do not wanna be escorts. They’re simply poor and victims of a fucked-up system,” he says over breakfast. To which Bert responds, “Girls aren’t all saints, Albie. They’re similar to us.” Whereas it is terribly ironic that this line comes from the male chauvinist, the sentiment is predicated in fairness. Being positioned on a pedestal merely because of one’s gender might be dehumanizing.

In the identical Reddit thread, one other person added this nuance: “The darkish facet to the white knight is that some are simply attempting to get laid. They’re like good guys, male feminists who’re simply attempting to realize ladies’s belief. They stand in reverse to unhealthy boys.” That juxtaposition is fairly evident when Portia falls for the Essex fuckboi launched in episode 4, as a substitute of “candy Albie.”

In the event you pay attention quietly, you may hear feedback being typed up in incel communities throughout the web: “Good guys end final.” However DiMarco himself stated, in an interview with Vanity Fair, that taking part in up Albie’s candy facet was purposeful, stating: “By way of like being a pleasant man, I do not know if there may be such a factor on the planet.” And whereas it is true that Portia is postpone by Albie’s lack of gumption, his response to the romance truly fizzling out signifies that his habits could not have been as harmless because it first appeared.

“Actually we should always query why our loyalties lie with him simply because he is meek,” Anna Silverman writes for Grazia. Whereas Albie is aware of the definition of consent, he is superb at guilting Portia into spending time with him and his household, pushing for grasp outs and strolling her again to her room when she clearly desires to remain by the pool. Certain, Albie’s clearly believes that he is higher than his dad. However what’s a white knight with out his excessive horse?

Time will inform whether or not Albie is a “good man,” or is definitely good. However studying feminist literature in the end means nothing if you happen to nonetheless cannot acknowledge that girls, like some other gender, are advanced human beings with particular person wants and needs, and that sexual need is not earned via “good habits.” In 2022, we would hope that will have been a lesson Albie discovered lengthy earlier than his first gender research class at Stanford.

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