Jessica Valenti used to respond to every commenter on her blog, no matter how nasty they were. She doesn’t anymore, because she realized that being liked isn’t that important:
One of the questions I get asked most often from young women who are just discovering feminism is how they can maintain relationships when the people in their lives see feminism as so confrontational. How can they talk about the issues that matter to them when they are constantly seen as the bossy bitch at the family dinner table? How will they ever have a boyfriend if they object to the sexist movie he wants to go see on Saturday night? How can they get their roommate to stop telling jokes about man-hating and Birkenstocks? What they’re really asking is how is it possible that they will be understood, liked and loved when the world is telling them that they’re actually a huge pain in the ass.
My answer generally consists of tips on how to strategically talk with people without putting them on the defensive—ask them their stories, meet them where they’re at, find entry points in a conversation that will resonate. I still believe this advice is helpful, but I wonder if I’ve been doing these young women a disservice by not telling them the full story. Because if I had to choose between being likable or being successful, I’d choose the latter every time.
Yes, the more successful you are—or the stronger, the more opinionated—the less you will be generally liked. All of a sudden people will think you’re too “braggy,” too loud, too something. But the trade off is undoubtedly worth it. Power and authenticity are worth it.
And in a world where women are told to be anxious about everything—that we can’t “have it all” but will forever be searching for it—saying that ambition and success are actually pretty great can be a radical message.
Besides, being liked is overrated. Wanting to be liked means tempering your thoughts as to not offend. Wanting to be liked means not arguing vociferously with a female peer—something that could improve and add to your ideas—for fear that they’ll be insulted or that they won’t want to be friends. Wanting to be liked means agonizing over every negative comment in an online thread, even if they’re coming from people you don’t care about and don’t think much of.
Read the rest: She Who Dies With the Most ‘Likes’ Wins? | The Nation.