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The Walrus Books

No More Nice Girls

Gender, Power, and Why It’s Time to Stop Playing by the Rules

Written by Lauren McKeon

Published March 03, 2020 | ISBN 9781487006440
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Feminism & Feminist Theory

Cover of No More Nice Girls

Regular price $22.95 CAD

352 pages | 8.5 in × 5.5 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

No More Nice Girls

Gender, Power, and Why It’s Time to Stop Playing by the Rules

Lauren McKeon

A groundbreaking, insightful book about women and power from award-winning journalist Lauren McKeon, which shows how women are disrupting the standard (very male) vision of power, ditching convention, and building a more equitable world for everyone.

In the age of girl bosses, Beyoncé, and Black Widow, we like to tell our little girls they can be anything they want when they grow up, except they’ll have to work twice as hard, be told to “play nice,” and face countless double standards that curb their personal, political, and economic power. Women today remain a surprisingly, depressingly long way from gender and racial equality. It’s worth asking: Why do we keep playing a game we were never meant to win?

Award-winning journalist and author of F-Bomb: Dispatches from the War on Feminism, Lauren McKeon examines the many ways in which our institutions are designed to keep women and other marginalized genders at a disadvantage. In doing so, she reveals why we need more than parity, visible diversity, and lone female CEOs to change this power game. She talks to people doing power differently in a variety of sectors and uncovers new models of power. And as the toxic, divisive, and hyper-masculine style of leadership gains ground, she underscores why it’s time to stop playing by the rules of a rigged game.

About the Author

Lauren McKeon

LAUREN MCKEON’s critically acclaimed first book, F-Bomb: Dispatches from the War on Feminism, was a finalist for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize and was selected by the Hill Times as a book of the year and by the Feminist Book Club as one of their top five feminist books ever. McKeon is the winner of several National Magazine Awards, including a Gold in the Personal Journalism category. Her writing has appeared in Hazlitt, Flare, Chatelaine, and Best Canadian Essays, on, and in the book Whatever Gets You Through: Twelve Survivors on Life After Sexual Assault. McKeon has taught long-form writing at Humber College and holds an M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction from the University of King’s College. She was the editor of This Magazine from 2011 to 2016 and the digital editor at The Walrus from 2017 to 2020, and she is currently a contributing editor at Toronto Life and the deputy editor of Reader’s Digest.

Awards and Praise


“Lauren McKeon has written a bold, searching, and ultimately hopeful book about what it would mean for women to be truly powerful in the world. Not the kind of power that requires a token change at the top, but a radical overhauling of social structures to create a more progressive and inclusive society. There is much power to be found in her wise, eye-opening book.” — Elizabeth Renzetti, author of Shrewed: A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls

“Lauren McKeon has long cemented herself as a writer whose insights are biting, effective, and necessary. And unsurprisingly, No More Nice Girls is no different. In this book, her work is meticulously researched and brilliantly argued, and she’s not afraid to confront us with information and perspectives that are as uncomfortable as they are true (see: very). That said, McKeon’s ability to engage with instead of dictatingto is powerful and unifying, specifically as she provides the type of ammunition needed for readers to abandon existing comfort zones or truths fabricated for self-preservation. She urges us to learn and listen (but actually listen). She’s patient but forceful in offering her many (many) facts. I’ve never liked the word nice, and liked the idea of aspiring to be nice even less. Thankfully, McKeon makes nice a non-word — a notion or descriptor that means nothing and does nothing. She sets us free of the rhetoric associated with niceness and exchanges the burden of playing by the rules for the data, statistics, and emphasis on intersectionality that will help us, collectively,to obliterate them.” — Anne T. Donahue, author of Nobody Cares

“Lauren McKeon looks beyond the traditional lens of male power to see what we truly need to achieve a more equitable world — not simply more women at the top of government and business, but more freedom to define and create a world that doesn’t abide by the dated rules of the patriarchy. Drawing on a variety of women’s stories and lived experiences, McKeon shows us that there are plenty of ways to live outside the lines and create change rather than wait for it.” — Gemma Hartley, author of Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward

“Lauren McKeon is one of the most important journalists writing about feminist issues in this country today. This impeccably researched and reported book is a revelation, an inspiration, a punch in the gut, and a fierce rallying cry. It’s a definite must read for anyone who cares about women’s current reality, and women’s future in this country and beyond.” — Stacey May Fowles, author of Baseball Life Advice: Loving the Game that Saved Me and co-editor of Whatever Gets You Through: Twelve Survivors on Life after Sexual Assault

“[Lauren McKeon’s] vital, keenly insightful work is a must-read.” — Booklist

“McKeon uses plain language and an army of external sources to illuminate the puppet strings of power … No More Nice Girls avoids despairing, instead positing a hopeful roadmap toward a future wherein women will not just attain power, but will topple and rebuild it in their own image.” — Foreword Reviews

“Through a wealth of examples of women and communities working to topple power structures in a variety of sectors, No More Nice Girls is a thoughtful, bold read that envisions a future in which women create new styles of leadership.” —

“Timely … [No More Nice Girls] will open your eyes to a better way of doing things.” — I’ve Read This

No More Nice Girls provides a rallying cry for feminists of any age to once again challenge the current paradigm and institutions that continue to disempower women. McKeon’s book contains a healthy amount of outrage and antidote that will leave the reader with tools to do more than just get angry — it will also create for themselves and for future generations recipes for working toward systemic change … No More Nice Girls belongs on the bookshelf alongside Susan Faludi’s Backlash, Susan Douglas’s Enlightened Sexism, Sylvia Bashevkin’s Women, Power, Politics, and Linda Trimble’s Ms. Prime Minister — all important contemporary books that lay out feminist issues. It adds to the conversation and stands upon the shoulders of these giants in terms of moving feminist thought ahead.” — Winnipeg Free Press


“However you define feminism, read this book. McKeon’s chronicle of our collective Conditions of Persistence reveals the ravages of exclusion, organized opposition, and denial. This compassionate airing of our failings clears the ways forward. Race, privilege, gender, sexuality; the work to be done, your invitation to the conversation, is here.” — Karen Walton, writer for Orphan Black

“Lauren McKeon’s F-Bomb is the antidote to feeling at a loss for examples of why intersectional feminism is so very urgently needed now. With a journalist’s attention to research and context, an activist’s drive for meaningful action and policy-change, and a memoirist’s craft, McKeon has written a necessary call to action.” — Erin Wunker, author of Notes from a Feminist Killjoy

F-Bomb is a wonderfully uncomfortable peek into the lives and perspectives of folks who need to be seen, heard, and understood for the good of the feminist movement. McKeon mixes deep introspection with a s#!tload of research to bring us a much-needed commentary that will both anger and inspire you.” — Rachel Ricketts, founder of

“In absorbing passages that evoke the seduction and subterfuge found in spy thrillers, McKeon chronicles her encounters with female leaders of men’s rights groups.” — Atlantic Books Today

“F-Bomb isn’t a typical creative non-fiction or narrative book — it’s blunt, honest, and well-researched. It’s the book to read on the current political climate.” — FLURT Magazine

“In a manner that is both personal and unpretentious, McKeon deftly critiques more palatable ‘empowerment’ and ‘choice’ narratives of feminism, and demonstrates why our feminism(s) must be intersectional, embrace difference, and begin with compassion.” — This Magazine

“McKeon’s interviews and research shed much-needed light on feminism via its most ardent critics.” — Understorey Magazine

“Now comes F-Bomb, in which Lauren McKeon ventures to interview and understand women vociferously against feminism. It gets ugly, but she handles it with aplomb.” — Straight Dope

“McKeon proves a trustworthy and entertaining guide taking us through the tangled mess of lies, deliberate misunderstandings, and sad self-centredness that characterize the groups arrayed against the progress of feminism.” — LiisBeth

“For those who are skeptical about an uptick in men’s-rights activism, McKeon’s evidence is compelling. Through a combination of personal interviews and statistical analysis, she weaves a persuasive narrative highlighting the covert and explicit attitudes to gender politics and, specifically, feminism… . Rather than merely pointing out the areas in which women are facing resistance to equality, however, the book goes to great lengths to pose solutions. McKeon calls for a new strain of feminism, where different groups advocate for their own interests but come together to fight for common goals.” — The Georgia Straight