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Feminism: chat

Be Kind

31 replies

youllneedthisfish · 31/08/2021 09:13

I am listening to The Kindness Test on Radio 4. It is very interesting and all that. I am wondering how all this fits in with the current idea running around these parts that the 'be kind' request amounts to a demand fro women to capitulate their self-worth? I wonder if they have any knowledge of this?

OP posts:

Davros · 31/08/2021 09:22

I'm listening too and wondered if there would be a thread. I fear it's not going to answer the big questions, the Prof involved is from Uni of Sussex...
There's a lot of bollocks being talked imo about it being a "muscle" that needs to be exercised. Oy


youllneedthisfish · 31/08/2021 09:33

I guess I'd be interested in comparing whether measuring if a kind act is or isn't altruistic is also done for if it has or doesn't have a personal cost. I will have to have a think about this and perhaps contact/do the survey

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Davros · 31/08/2021 09:44

They have touched on it being used to not allow difference of opinion. Also talking about the tendency to empathise with people like ourselves, our tribe, and whether it's possible to be too kind, especially women, but only mentioned in the context of work.
I think we should encourage the harpies of MN to complete the questionnaire


woopdedoodle · 31/08/2021 10:19

I was listening too, as "be kind" has got such a bad reputation round here.

But the definition was just too big for me, ranging from holding a door open to becoming an unofficial mental health worker for 2 years.


MoonlightApple · 31/08/2021 11:31

My response to ‘be kind’ is always a polite ‘after you’.

I am interested to see from the survey how kindness is separated from politeness. To me kindness requires true empathy while politeness is more about social norms and not deliberately offending people.


PikesPeaked · 31/08/2021 21:49

Surely to be kind to someone you treat them as you would wish to be treated?

Unfortunately this has been diverted into turning the other cheek.

So the person expected to Be Kind is also expected to turn the other cheek when the other person is not Kind towards them.


RayonSunrise · 31/08/2021 21:56

Completely agree, PikesPeaked.


LobsterNapkin · 31/08/2021 22:12

Thinking about what kindness really is and entails, I find it helpful to think about the people I have known who were really very kind, even radically kind.

The main thing that always strikes me is that they are incredibly grounded and there is a distinct lack of ego. They know who they are and what they think is true and good, and they are willing to do it whatever other people think. They try and do the right thing for others, but that does not mean that they will never stand up to them, or that they will always do what seems easy or what people want.

What allows them to be so kind so often, is that they don't need other people to validate them.

That isn't to say that those of us that don't meet that bar are never kind, we might be kind a lot of the time. But I don't think real kindness is usually what people mean when they blather on about being kind.


Thelnebriati · 31/08/2021 22:15

'Be kind' is as useless as 'be nice' or 'be good'.
'Do as you would be done by' is more useful imo.


SudokuZebra · 31/08/2021 22:39

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Thelnebriati · 31/08/2021 22:50

I know you feel like you've been badly treated @SudokuZebra but its poor form to carry that argument over to another persons thread.


catzwhiskas · 01/09/2021 00:31

I was infuriated by the part that asked whether I identified as a man , non binary , woman or other. Definitely not feeling kind but luckily there was a little bit where I could write about my distaste at the question. Nearly put me off doing it but the test itself was quite thought provoking. But I did quer6 the scientific nature of the study if they don’t know what sex is.


NiceGerbil · 01/09/2021 01:35

I've not heard of the prog or the test.

I have heard the be kind thing but only on here. I'm on FB but none of my friends posted anything about it. Like women on here seemed to get a lot.

I don't get it at all. It seems empty? What does it even mean?

Be kind.
To who?
Under what circs?
To what extent?
In a difficult situation where there is no good answer, what is the 'kind' thing to do?
Does this apply to everything? Some things? Which things?
How will telling people to be kind change anyone's actual behaviour in a meaningful way?
It seemed to me that it was aimed at women. Are/ were men told to 'be kind'?

Yeah don't get it.

Most people can be kind and can be callous or just turn away. And that's normal surely.


NiceGerbil · 01/09/2021 01:47

I don't even like the word. It's so vague. And sort of wishy washy.


NiceGerbil · 01/09/2021 02:26

Did the quiz.

It was obvious that what I think of as kind hardly overlaps with the survey definition at all. Which is a bit of a problem!


crispsarny · 01/09/2021 09:27

It’s been over used by all, we’re being brain washed & manipulated with the phrase, by the media/celebrities, especially brands, it’s all over clothing, especially womens & childrens (funny that) It’s used to shut down debate/boundaries, my husband says it to me as a joke & to wind me up, my response to him is fuck off!


SudokuZebra · 01/09/2021 09:43

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

midgemagneto · 01/09/2021 09:49

Could not understand why they were interested in your attitude with regard to age, disability and religion snd gender identity but not sex

To me sex is rather significant as it affects the expectations others have on you around kindness

It's a huge weakness of their research


Davros · 01/09/2021 09:50

The problem comes when it's used to shut down discussion or, horror, dissent!


whileiamhere · 01/09/2021 09:52

I found it very unkind that they ask about gender identity

Like they don't know how it's always been used to hurt women

I will not submit to gender


Kammee · 01/09/2021 09:55

I do agree with teaching children to be kind but it is difficult. I have seen sensitive children get very stressed trying to do the right “kind” thing and include someone they actually don’t really want to play with and is being a bit mean to them.

I saw a phrase the other day that I liked. “Try to make a person smile today, but remember you are also a person”


MonsignorMirth · 01/09/2021 10:10


I wouldn't imagine "kindness" would be a very popular concept in this particular board xx

I thought generalisations about groups of people sharing a common characteristic was against talk guidelines?
It's certainly, at best, not very kind, and at worst, very problematic.

MonsignorMirth · 01/09/2021 10:15

It's such an infuriatingly vague concept.
Say someone was chatting in a group and, say, used an out-of-date term like 'coloured people'.
Is it kind to correct them, or kind to let it be and not make them feel uncomfortable? So many etiquette threads on MN about this sort of thing (confronting someone politely vs keeping the peace). I'd go so far as to say questions about 'kindly' managing relationships with friends and family is the biggest topic on here.

If we can't universally agree on what being kind actually involves in terms of actions, responses and attitudes, then how can we all agree whether or not we are even being kind?


youllneedthisfish · 01/09/2021 10:48

Right I just filled it in. It's quite a narrow remit. They also only allow 150 characters for comment at the end. I tried to fit my thoughts in that! Might write to them

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MonsignorMirth · 01/09/2021 11:53

I tried to fill it in but I can't stand it when it all rests on a vague, undefined term (which might be the point, but still - it would be kind to me to define questions properly).
I couldn't decide if my last kind act was something like giving to charity (which I do monthly, but the active decision to do this was years ago?) or not telling someone that I thought they were an ignorant twat even though I think they are, or letting my kids have Snickers bars, even though that's not kind to their health.

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