New Comment Policy (Or, Where Is Frank?)

RHE Comment Policy

Rachel Held Evans‘s comment policy.

I haven’t banned Frank. Not yet. But after all that’s gone down over the last couple weeks, it’s time to revisit the commenting and moderating policies here at Theoblogy.

Back in 2008, I posted my “Blogging Rules“: [Read more...]

Being Liked Is Overrated: Advice from a Feminist

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:

Jessica Valenti

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.

HT: Joy In This Journey

See You Tomorrow

I am writing this on Thursday night and scheduling it to post on Friday morning. I need a day away from this blog. I will respond to this week’s QTHC tomorrow, on Saturday.

So many of you have written supportive text messages, phone calls, emails, tweets, and Facebook posts. It’s been great.

No one likes being called an asshole, dick, arrogant, stupid, etc. There’s a whole Facebook page full of people who apparently despise me. Yes, that has sucked over the past couple days. But I’m not a martyr. I don’t feel sorry for myself, and neither should anyone else.

I am very, very fortunate, as I have written before, to be surrounded by family and friends. This weekend, I’ll coach my son’s Mite hockey team and pick up our Christmas tree and go to a spinning class and sit in a hot tub with Rachel and Ratchet and Carla and Jim and watch a couple episodes of Downton Abbey. And, of course, Courtney will be at all those things, and will be next to me in bed each night.

Also, I have Templeton Rye.

So all is well.

I asked a question, an honest question. And I got answers, lots of them. No blogger could hope for anything more.

I’ve read the responses, and I will continue to. But I won’t let them consume me.

See you tomorrow.

An Open Letter to Women Readers

Dear Friends,

Yesterday was a challenging and inspiring day for me. I had no idea that the question I posted would elicit such a passionate response. I’m glad it did. My primary feeling this morning is gratitude that so many of you responded with such heartfelt passion.

Some of your answers were hurtful. I was told that I am reminiscent of an abuser; my intellect was challenged; I was psychoanalyzed; and I was repeatedly called defensive. I don’t begrudge your right to post what you think of me. In fact, I am happy that you felt that you could be honest. If nothing else, I hope this blog is a place of honesty, both from me and from readers.

Other answers were affirming — women who read every day but don’t comment took the post as an opportunity to speak up about why they don’t. I am glad that post provided a space for your voices. And I hope those will be the first of many comments from you.

Almost all of the comments were helpful to me. I have read and re-read them (and they continue to come in today — in fact, I hope that you will keep commenting there). In fact, last night, Courtney helped me unplug for a couple hours. She had read all of the comments, too, and we spent some time talking about the post and the responses.

Several of you have corresponded with me privately — including women who wrote challenging comments — in support. I deeply appreciate that.

I think it would be premature for me list the ways that I will change my blogging as a result of your comments. But I think that I cannot help but change.

Among the themes that are emerging, one is that many women find my tone overly aggressive. This, of course, is not news to me. For the past 15 years, my “brand” has been about provocation and theological and cultural argumentation. If and how I should ameliorate my tone in order to welcome more readers without forsaking my current readers is something that I will consider — and continue to talk to Courtney about.

Another theme was, I hope, heard loud and clear by many of the men who regularly comment here: when a comment thread devolves into a pissing match, many women lose interest. We all want the conversation to be robust, but we also need to be aware of our pitch as we go forward.

Thanks again for all your comments. I will continue to read them and to consider them.

Your Friend,


P.S., I hope that some of you will contribute to the latest #progGOD Challenge. I tend to think that women’s voices are particularly important when considering the doctrine of the incarnation.