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November 29, 2022

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: No More Nice Girls

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Men love ‘nice’ girls. We laugh at their dumb jokes, we ignore their boozy hands, we smile when they say something creepy. Nice girls don’t make a big deal. Nice girls ask what they could have done differently. They blame themselves. They swallow their narrative. Nice girls don’t make trouble.

I’ve been a nice girl a million times in my life.

When I was 14 and I was speaking in the Youth of the Year contest, one of the men judging said ‘You didn’t win the speaking contest but you have the nicest legs’ I blushed and said, ‘Oh, okay, thank you.’

I felt weird that a 70-year-old man had made a comment about my body. It was the beginning of a world where men commented on my body. Like it was something that belonged to them and I was expected to be flattered, grateful even, for the attention and the unsolicited compliments. It made me feel weird.

When I was 15 and I worked in a fruit shop and the older man who ran the shop locked me in the freezer as ‘a joke’, even though I was crying. But I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t want to get him in trouble. And he thought it was so funny. Especially when I begged to get out. I never said anything to him. I just stopped going to work there.

When I was 16 I was raped by my date on a dark country road and when he dropped me home I said ‘Thank you for dinner’. After all, it was a long drive and out of his way. He could have just left me there.

When I was assaulted in a relationship I got over it because ‘he’ had a problem. When I had an unwanted pregnancy I didn’t ask for the money for a termination. I paid. I went there alone. I told myself I was being a feminist. That I was independent. But most of the time when I did this version of ‘being a feminist’, I was letting men off the hook – I was being a nice girl. A girl who doesn’t make a fuss.

I have smiled, and acquiesced for most of my adult life. I haven’t made a scene. There are so many incidents in my life that I should have amplified. That I should have blown up. But I told myself I was okay and I didn’t want the negative attention. And to be honest, sometimes I just wanted it to all go away. Because the burden of responsibility was like an anvil. Nice girls think everything is their fault.

Being a nice girl is a cancer. It’s a cancer to our agency. It’s patriarchy’s Stockholm syndrome. We’re Little Red Riding Hood being told to smile at wolves.

Did I ask my daughters to do this? I didn’t have to. Dominant culture demands it. Every young woman wants to be thought of as a nice girl. So, in this last year, when young women like Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame have raised their voice, when they have held men and the system to continuous account, I’ve watched them in awe.

They made a fuss. They would not ‘let it go’. They refused to be ‘nice’ girls. They refused to offer men an easy way out.

The world is not used to women like them. The system is not used to women who aren’t silenced by shame. Society is not used to women who tell the truth. These are the women who aren’t scared of wolves (and won’t smile for them.)

As an older woman I’m profoundly moved to see their relentless courage. To see women who are not immobilised by the usual weapons patriarchy uses to silence us; being called ‘angry’ or ‘hysterical’ or ‘rude’ or ‘fixated’ and told that we just need to move on.

So when I listened to the words of Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame at the National Press Club, I heard not just women tired of apologies and demanding structural change, I heard and saw the raw power of not being ‘nice’ – of not making it easy – and of making ‘a fuss’.

It’s time we said goodbye to the ‘nice’ girl. Because good men don’t need women who are ‘nice’.

Join us for March 4 Justice at the Mullumbimby Civic Hall on Sunday 27 February at midday for a rally followed by a march.

Let’s bury nice together. And let’s hunt wolves.


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48 COMMENTS

  1. Mandy do you know the ratio of domestic violence amongst lesbian couples its 41%
    All women must be believed right ?
    Yes i do believe these lesbian couples .
    Domestic violence against women
    Children and Men should never be condoned!! As for Brittany higgins
    Has the alleged perpetrator pleaded guilty ?
    No he has not at all , he has denied all allegations against him .. the guy is suffering from depression and the way the media and public have portrayed him guilty !! you only here Ms Higgins tell her side of the story
    Do we not ? I will only pass judgement once the law of the land has decided.. and i should know about sexual assault and it is very hard for me to ever have come to terms with it . Has nearly taken me a few times in my life .. never have i disclosed this to anyone but by doing so it is a big relief of my mind .. and it was not at the hands of a Male
    But rather a 19 year old Female was 7 years old .. during the time i was being abused this young live in lady died from a asthma attack
    In our family home in front of me ..very distressing.. !! But feel better now ..that’s my story .. 🙏

  2. Barrow, very sorry to hear of your personal experience.
    Sexual assault is despicable at any time, the taking away on one’s innocence in their youth is absolutely horrid.
    Sexual assault is a lifetime sentence, the downward spiral into depression, the ‘self medication’, the suicides are the all too often tragic result.
    You have survived, big respect to you.

    • You know Joachim it has taken such a toll
      Have fought Demons for decades
      Was it my fault , i deserved it right , asking my mum i will be okay now wont i mum ..
      After the unfortunate death of this young
      Lady ..!! Mother was confused.. how could a seven year old relate or explain this abuse
      To his Mother or Father.. i never did ..so i tried to turn this abuse into a positive and prayed to this young lady as my guardian angel as i have this past 40 odd years
      and still do in times of trouble to look after me … how i have come through
      Raising 3 adult children 26 years married
      How i managed Joachim i dont know .. !!
      My children certainly saved my life ..!
      I will speak no more of it .. had my say
      Living and certainly feel so much better for it. .
      Sadly so many don’t make it this far .. !!

  3. Here we go again!!! Having worked with Life Line I’ve heard just about
    it all. And I was raped by my husband. There are women all over with
    the same happening outcome. It appears to me Barrow that you can’t
    stay on point… first Lesbian couples -[any unwanted sex act is ‘sick’].
    You expect me to believe your encounter yet Higgins [you imply] is
    a liar. Why is that? It’s obvious. Women lie; men don’t. Your accoster
    dropped dead & you feel better.

  4. To a smart girl, men are no problem – they’re the answer. – Zsa Zsa Gabor

    Sounds like you have troubles dealing with people who work differently to you. Lots of misunderstanding listed there.
    Then you get upset when they say “you are the drama”

  5. There’s no problem here, Chris. To listen to & hopefully counsel all ages – male & female –
    & LGBTI is a gift always taken seriously. Barrow consistently [over the last 5 years] has
    tackled & sent-up any woman who has not agreed with his point of view. Mandy’s
    been a sitting-duck & I am a political-football. Higgins [it’s implied] is a liar etc etc.
    The same repetition appears when the NZ Prime Minister is being discussed. The
    pattern continues. Have a good day.

    • Then you are all falling for cognitive biases and logically fallacies.
      Stop sowing division between men and women.
      That’s what’s been creating most of the bad behavior on both sides for a very long time.

  6. Well said! That’s exactly how it is. I have huge respect for both these women who will not smile and please the patriarchy that is also still hugely supported by eg: wives of politicians, because they are expected to.

    • Do you care about all the men sent to jail on false allegations. What about the women who make provably false allegations with no reprisal for their crime.
      The skewed court systems sow division making women get ahead by playing the victim and making good men feel they are in danger regardless of how they behave.
      Be careful of the incentives your ideology creates.
      It’s been having an ironic effect for generations.

      • Hi Chris, this is the “other” Chris. I agree with all your comments but remember “there are none so blind as those who not wish to see”

  7. Do nice girls get drunk and slip away from a party with a male into an unoccupied room and expect a dance?
    I am sick of the argument being ” all men are rapists”. I have known women who hunt men, use their alluring sexuality to have sex, with men, make them leave their wives and families and then scream rape if it doesn’t work out. Lets accept that not all women are innocent, starry eyed wall flowers and that not all men are predators. Lets listen to the other side of the story of devious manipulating women who do a major disservice to their gender. And I am prepared to be that most women know of one …or two, and they have seen their sons lives destroyed.

    • Wow. The misogyny in what you have said is shocking.
      Good men don’t need to argue their value. It’s sad when women talk about patriarchy, abuse and the harm
      that men like you must claim victim space. See I didn’t say all men. Because it’s just you doing this. The men I know
      don’t need to delegitimise our experience and blame us.
      I didnt say all men are rapists. You did.

      • There you go again! “Men like you” !! you know nothing about me, my belief structure, ethics, morality, etc but because I express an ipinion contrary to yours you fight back with labelling. I am sorry but whilst I have read with interest and approval of what your “notes” say, you have just proven to me that you do not deserve to be a journalist or an article writer whilst you steadfastly hold on to your prejudices.
        Misogyny refers specifically to a hatred of women, and if you accuse me of this, then I could take a libel action against you which I would certainly win.

  8. I care for anyone who lands in jail due to something they have not done.
    I tend to care even more when brute force is used against the aged or
    a child. I can get quite angry when the ‘system’ allows itself to be bought
    off by a lying tongue & a ‘cash’ pay-off lets a robber baron free. Psych-
    liars are in abundance – still, after all, that’s an illness that can’t be fixed.
    Our politicians have a lot to answer to because they appear to attract
    those who believe they are untouchable. There’s a lot of cleaning-up to do.
    I suggest women in danger take up Marshal Arts. Just a way of evening
    things out.

    • “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” ― Robert A. Heinlein

  9. And Andrew second son of Elizabeth the 2nd just bought his way out of facing the music. Where is his public tearing down, jail sentence, public servis to make ammends??

  10. THANKS MANDY FOR YOUR ETERNAL HONESTY/COURAGE & ETHICS. I too am so proud of Brittany & Grace..they have suffered enough & had a gutful of NO support /total denial /and or legislative change from this appalling Govt. CAN’T SAY I was impressed with Rosey Battys criticism of Garce Tame, very disappointing. This PM does not deserve nor has he earned respect from any woman facing what these 2 woman have. Surely respect for our leaders MUST be earned & not given as some pathetic British antiquated social construct . This is propaganda solely aimed at woman NOT blokes.

      • “Innocent until proven guilty ”
        What chance dos the Man who has allegedly been involved in a incident
        with Ms Higgins, got for a fair Trial..
        He has denied all allegations against him.. certainly will stay accross this case
        Chris it matters little if this person
        Was found not guilty .. apparently that outcome would be a disaster.. !!

        • Joachim, are you saying I’m the problem? A Jewish guy?
          Do you really want to go down that path?
          I’m not saying western institutions haven’t been corrupted.
          Listen to some speeches at the Canberra protests. Everyone knows.

    • Brittany has been the judge and executioner of her alleged rapist. Even if the law finds him not guilty he has been condemned by public opinion and will pay the price the rest of his life. And you say she has ETHICS! Shame on you

      • President ScamMO, on the floor of Parliament, played Judge in the Brittany Higgins sexual assault case. So shame on President ScamMO as well?

  11. Mandys point is poignant.
    Historically the world over we have been in a long age of Male dominance .

    This has lead rise to certain cultural expectations that most people probably do not even question.

    The historical cultural expectation for a woman to be passive and accepting of inappropriate male behaviour is coming to an end.

    This is happening because of Women with courage and tenacity to call out abusive behaviour.

    Change will happen faster as more good Men speak out against such behaviour.

    • Feminism over the last 6000 years has always occurred at the end of Empires, usually around the time of gay rights, but before they try transgenderism. see Egypt middle kingdom (and the 17th dynasty collapse), Roman empire, Hellenic Greece (particularly Athens) etc

      It’s a faulty survival strategy that destroys the civil nation cohesion to a level beyond that required for the minimum division of labor.

      • What colorful theories you come up with Chris. Feminism hasn’t occurred sporadically over any period of time. There has always been a feminist movement. Surprisingly enough there will always be amongst any group, some individuals who will baulk at accepting the life and rules imposed on them by those around them.

  12. Well, an assumption’s just an assumption. The Queen’s son is a Brit & the Brits still
    own us. White’s got nix to do with anything being spoken about here.

    • “Bash” at woman!!?? This emotive language shows your prejudice and bias, shame on you!! Most of the male comments call for some balance, very little of which is coming from so called journalists. Very, very few men condone the use of power and aggression to gain sexual gratification. Stop putting all men into convenient little boxes. Woman aren’t perfect as a gender and some have committed unethical and devious manipulation. Lets have some balance before you start accusing men of having a “bash”

      • One woman dies in her home at the hands of a partner or ex every week.
        1 in 3 women experience rape or sexual abuse. It’s gender violence.
        And when we speak up about the culture that permits it to happen you are offended.
        To me, as a survivor of domestic violence and rape – your instant aggression is bashing.
        There is a violence in your intent. But guess what. We women are used to it. We’re conditioned to shutting up
        so we don’t become targets of angry men.
        So go for it, keep reinforcing what we need to change. You.

  13. Well Mandy with due respect….
    Iam not the only Male who feels men
    are under siege this has been ongoing
    for sometime and the ABC are at the
    Top seeds when it comes to rubbishing
    Men ..!! Latest article from our national
    Broadcaster from a little town in WA
    Where they did a story where women
    Would rather be single ..!! Thats okay
    Whatever !! But the headline was
    ” UNDERWHELMING MEN”
    Charming isn’t it ..

    • Yet they attack the MGTOW movement, which is young men finding themselves surrounded by dysfunctional young women that they have given up on dating due to their destructive feminist behavior.

      Feminist have destroyed the creation of young families. And any families that are formed are unstable due to toxic femininity.

  14. Old days & old ways still apply. Remember ‘marriage vows’ to be recited by women
    that they will ‘love & obey until death do us part.’

  15. Add on. 1975. My mother, a very ill & dying woman with – according to her specialists – had 3 months left to live. Her husband (my step father) refused to accept
    the situation & tossed most of her medication out & into the cane fields. Not pleased with that act he bashed her to death – witnessed by my 2 younger half
    brothers. He wasn’t locked up after three Court sittings. Why! Testaments from the local police regarding his continual violence meant nothing. Judgement…
    the wife (my Mother) was dying anyway. Autopsy report ignored [or missed] the broken arm & her internal bruising could perhaps have been caused by the
    heavy medication she’d been prescribed. There’s more, but that’s enough. He got away with it. The law, at times, is an ass.

  16. Add on 2 -Chris Feb17 in answer to your question. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is Queen of
    Great Britain & Northern Ireland & also titular Queen of Australia & New Zealand & Canada.

  17. Joachim, I doubt that. You may have noticed his male ‘sovereign citizens’ supporters
    would call-up a rally to prevent support for an unstoppable Mandy.

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