5 Tips for Writing a Great Dissenting Comment
The other day a commenter dropped by Fashion bloggers and nudity…how far is too far? and left me this immature little rant:
“You know what is the most disgusting part of this post? They way you end with, “I’m not passing judgment,” when this entire post is riddled with judgment. If you have a problem with the content of blogs and you’re “probably not going to be dropping by much” because of that content, then don’t fucking drop by. And don’t get all sanctimonious on your blog about how being covered is so much better than being naked. Heaven for-fucking-bid any girl out there wants to love and accept her body and display it in a manner she chooses in her own space. I mean, obviously the true answer to feminism is to get all 19th century and make sure everything from our neck to our ankles is completely covered. Because it is so clearly impossible for any woman to be serious, be a feminist, and also be comfortable showing her body. Especially when we have our futures to worry about with those men we might want to marry and how our lives might affect their jobs. *gasp* WHAT IS A GIRL TO DO?
Obviously, according to this super judgy post, we should cover the fuck up and make sure we don’t offend your little eyes with our flagrant disregard for propriety.
Of course, the other option is for you to stop following blogs that don’t interest you and not use your public space to shame those women who choose to show their body in their own spaces.”
You know what I did?
I deleted her rant, and you can bet I blocked her IP address.
You know why?
Because leaving a dissenting opinion in the form of an emotional, expletive-filled tirade is not something I can even begin to take seriously, and I am not obligated to publish an emotional, expletive-filled, tirade on my blog. Why should I waste my time on a commenter who is irate and negative, when I have other commenters and comments who actually deserve my space and time?
It’s not constructive and it’s not how I run things. But to make it constructive and turn a negative into a positive, I’m going to use it as an example in this post.
“Well, I’m sure you know how I feel about this.
I welcome all kinds of content, may it be for me or not. When I decided to wear (or rather lack thereof) on my blog post, it was an awakening for me of self-love. I brought in a very intimate photographer into my space to share a moment that took years to build up to. I shared my body, I shared my thoughts, I shared my acceptance. Now, I’m not too sure if that’s really the best thing to do professionally. But I ultimately am not worried of what companies will find when they search me as I’ll back every piece of content I’ve posted as there is always a reason for such.
With posting a sexually suggested image of myself on a bed, per-say, can seem like I’m asking for attention. And honestly, I was. I’m looking for my readership to see I’m normal and that I’m not looking to fit a standard to be on status. I’ve got normal skin, normal body, normal flaws, normal. I loved that I was able to share, while accepting, such beautifully executed images by Emma [who is FANTASTIC, by the way.]
I get your point – I understand where it’s coming from. In a society where we are constantly sexualized, I understand that modesty should be valued. I agree with this 100%. I hate showing my own cleavage and find that men don’t focus, obviously, when I wear looks that expose. But posts like mine and others, are about acceptance and me sharing that with people.
I, as well as others, posted about my body because there isn’t enough out there about acceptance. At least, not to my liking. I’d love to see more of it actually. It takes major guts to do what I and others have done. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat if I knew that, like last time, I changed someone’s mind about their own body.
How to Successfully Offer a Dissenting Opinion in Comments
I’ve stirred plenty of debate here on G&G, and I am certainly not afraid to publish dissenting opinions in my comments. You are all entitled to your opinions, just as I’m entitled to mine. But there is a way to debate and dissent that earns attention and respect. So if you want to share a dissenting opinion that has some credibility and can be taken seriously, here are some tips:
1. Don’t comment when you are hot under the collar.
Walk away, wait a little bit. Cool off. Come back after you’ve cleared your head and the adrenaline has stopped coursing through your body. Then after writing your comment, read it in its entirety before you hit the submit button.
2. Don’t use swear words.
If you want to be taken seriously, don’t drop the f-bomb all over your comment. It just makes you look immature and unhinged. A good dissent is crafted calmly, using language that helps construct a solid argument. I mean, can you imagine a defense attorney slinging “effs” around a courtroom to make her point? She’d lose all her credibility. And so will you if you can’t string an opinion together without curse words.
3. Don’t attack the writer.
Personal attacks are just ridiculous. Most sane, adult people can agree to disagree. Insulting or attacking the writer just makes YOU look bad.
4. Don’t overreact.
In the comment I had deleted above, the commenter wrote: “…obviously the true answer to feminism is to get all 19th century and make sure everything from our neck to our ankles is completely covered.” Uh, no, sweetheart. That is not what I wrote, and not what I implied either. Making grand, overreactive statements just makes you look like you completely missed the point.
5. Do explain why you feel the way you do.
If I like X and you like Y, don’t just hate on me for liking X. Tell me why you like Y, in a way that prompts me to thoughtfully consider it.
Christina did a super job of this when she wrote:
“I get your point – I understand where it’s coming from. In a society where we are constantly sexualized, I understand that modesty should be valued. I agree with this 100%…I, as well as others, posted about my body because there isn’t enough out there about acceptance.”
And Steph’s comment lead-in was compelling, too:
“This is such a great post V, and I totally understand where you’re coming from — but at the same time, I respect bloggers who aren’t ashamed to expose their bodies. However, it has to be in the right context… the age of the blogger, the subject of the post, the vibe of the blog, the reason for exposing one’s body in the first place, etc. If it doesn’t make sense, it’s definitely a turn-off.”
A well-crafted dissent not only earns YOU credibility, it makes ME re-evaluate what I’ve written. That is a successful debate, people! Even if we remain on our respective sides, we respect each other for it, continue on in our relationship, and others learn from our example.