The Shouty Woman

January 5, 2007

Play Nicely

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 11:06 am

What upsets me about the eternal feminist blog-wars isn’t so much the points of view expressed – after all, a debate wouldn’t be much of a debate without differences of opinion. No, what really gets to me is the sheer nastiness of some of the participants. Time and time again we see newcomers politely attempting to join a discussion and being hounded out by people unwilling to acknowledge dissent. Women whose beliefs differ from the  accepted standard- however slightly – are attacked, belittled and dismissed as ‘trolls’. It’s not surprising that many feminist bloggers and commenters have simply decided to give up.

At the risk of sounding trite, niceness doesn’t cost anything. You may disagree violently with someone; you may feel strongly that their beliefs, or lifestyle, or interpretation of feminism, or whatever are misguided and wrong, but that does not give you the right to treat them like shit. Unless someone has blatantly come to your blog to troll, they deserve a fair hearing. ‘Mean feminism’ is fine in a vaccuum, but most of us live in the real world, with other people, where meanness isn’t a very productive strategy. 

It’s because I’m so hung up on ‘niceness’ that I try only to comment on blogs where I know I’ll feel welcome. I disagree with Belldame, Amber and Antiprincess on certain things (I think my opinion on the dreaded p-words, for example, is pretty different from theirs), but they are always polite, civil and willing to engage in debates rather than slanging matches. I’ve learned from them and in some cases have actually changed my own views as a result.

Feminism will only move forward if we can move past our differences. Let’s be honest; we will never reach a consensus on porn and prostitution, but there are so many things we do agree on, and so much we could achieve together. So, be nice, and listen to other women. You may even learn something.

On a happier note, it’s my 25th birthday today. Party for nice feminists at my house!



  1. Happy birthday, Lucy! Hope you have a fabulous day. Thank you for the kind words, btw.

    Cheers. 🙂

    Comment by Amber — January 5, 2007 @ 2:51 pm |Reply

  2. HBD!! and thanks for the props.

    i dunno as i’m particularly nice, tbh, but i do try to at least engage with people who are willing to meet me at least a fraction of the way.

    Comment by belledame222 — January 5, 2007 @ 5:53 pm |Reply

  3. Happy Birthday!

    Comment by Veronica — January 5, 2007 @ 8:00 pm |Reply

  4. Happy birthday to you!

    I know exactly what you mean with this post, btw. Bravo!

    Comment by Andrea — January 5, 2007 @ 8:51 pm |Reply

  5. Happy Birthday Lucy – sorry I missed it! Hope you had a fab day 🙂

    Comment by Liz — January 6, 2007 @ 2:49 am |Reply

  6. And yes, I know what you mean. I try to stay out of any ‘blogwar’ type things or totally miss them (because it can be hard to keep up sometimes).

    Comment by Liz — January 6, 2007 @ 2:50 am |Reply

  7. (delurking)

    Well said, and happy b-day.

    Comment by RenegadeEvolution — January 6, 2007 @ 4:01 am |Reply

  8. Thanks everybody.

    Hi Ren, good to see you! I love your blog.

    Comment by Lucy — January 6, 2007 @ 10:55 am |Reply

  9. see, now I am gonna have to blog roll ya… be forewarned, I am considered “dodgy company” 😉

    Comment by RenegadeEvolution — January 7, 2007 @ 4:25 am |Reply

  10. Happy birthday Lucy! 🙂

    Comment by Laurelin — January 7, 2007 @ 5:49 pm |Reply

  11. Thanks Laurelin! 🙂

    Ren – I’ll blogroll you too if that’s OK. I like a bit of dodgy company occasionally! 😉

    Comment by Lucy — January 7, 2007 @ 9:08 pm |Reply

  12. happy birthday!
    did people give you cool presents?

    Comment by antiprincess — January 7, 2007 @ 11:28 pm |Reply

  13. Happy Birthday! May a nice non-feminist (who never throws rocks or anything else) sit in the corner and watch?

    Comment by Rootietoot — January 8, 2007 @ 12:00 am |Reply

  14. roll away, and cheers to “dodgy”

    Comment by RenegadeEvolution — January 8, 2007 @ 2:26 am |Reply

  15. Antip – thanks. Yes, I got many cool presents, including ‘unfeminist’ sparkly jewellery. Yay!

    Rootie – welcome! Feel free to lurk or comment as you like.

    Ren – frankly after some of the shit that’s been going on lately (think bumblebees…) I’d rather have a million of you on my blogroll than one person like Stormcloud. If people like her think you’re dodgy, you’re alright with me!

    Comment by Lucy — January 8, 2007 @ 5:44 pm |Reply

  16. Belated happy birthday wishes my dear! And I’m sure you can see why my latest reply to stormy was rather more mean and less restrained than earlier ones – sometimes you just gotta let it out! Hope you had a great day anyway xxxx

    Comment by laura — January 8, 2007 @ 7:41 pm |Reply

  17. Thanks Laura 🙂

    And this post in no way applies to you – you were definitely provoked and I think I’d have reacted the same way! xx

    Comment by Lucy — January 8, 2007 @ 8:19 pm |Reply

  18. Happy very belated birthday – just found your blog via BelleDame.
    It is indeed nice to know that some of us still remember the rules for playing with the other kids.

    Comment by BritGirlSF — February 15, 2007 @ 2:58 am |Reply


    Comment by alex — March 8, 2007 @ 2:46 pm |Reply

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