Complement that Compliment

| October 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

Let me tell you something, I have gorgeous girlfriends. They are the kind that not only photograph well, but also radiate beauty in their speech, their thoughts, and their values. I am sure some of you feel the same way. In fact, I am sure someone feels the same way about some of you. You did not believe that last sentence, did you? Some of these same friends have tried to convince you at least five times that you are beautiful, have they not?

For many reasons, I have noticed that getting women to accept compliments is one of the hardest things to do. A “You are so smart” is always replied to with a “No, no I got really lucky” and a “You are gorgeous” is quickly followed by a “Pfft. I am not.” These phrases will be followed by an eye roll and/or a giggle, each of you living with some variation of that truth.

When a friend compliments me, I react the same way. The few times any of us finally say “Thank you!” instead of a negation, it takes everyone aback – first of all, why did you not fight for your compliment? Second of all, if you have accepted it, what comes next in this template where I am supposed to assure you at least two more times?

Why are we like this?

Women have been conditioned to constantly give, but hesitate when being given something in return. In the politics of womanhood, modesty is not equated to humility; modesty is equated to denying greatness. Almost all of us are guilty of this – we are guilty of it when we misconstrue a woman’s confidence as cockiness and when we expect women to reject our compliments. We are guilty of it when we deny our own greatness, too.

The worrying part about this culture is that it keeps a lot of women from knowing their true self-worth. This is most worrying when denying a compliment is not part of this (not) fun back and forth, but becomes part of a genuine belief that we are not good enough, smart enough, or any enough:

photo credit: Glamour Shot via photopin (license)

photo credit: Glamour Shot via photopin (license)


“Pretty is that white woman on the cover of a magazine, pretty cannot be me.
Smart is Marie Curie, smart cannot be me.
Good is my best friend, good cannot be me.”

You are wrong.

We need to stop our culture of thinking that only one woman can reign over an adjective. Women are pitted against women often enough that we do not always realize that more than one of us is excellent. Women are underrepresented enough for us to standardize what a woman worthy of a compliment should look like – what a woman should look like.

If I see you tomorrow, I will compliment you. Please say “Thank you!” I promise I will do the same.

featured photo credit: d_t_vos Hockey Girls via photopin (license)

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Category: featured, Reflections, The (Sex)es

Hansika Ramchandani

About the Author ()

Hansika Ramchandani is a Junior double majoring in History and International Relations. She loves it when you laugh at all of her [not] funny jokes and accept the fact that she needs yet another cup of coffee.

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