When a compliment isn’t

Each time one woman starts a compliment to another woman with the phrase, “I wish I were more like you,” a tiny feminist fairy dies, tangled among the weeds of self-deprecation in the ever-growing forest of patriarchy.

OH, YEAH.

This is that kind of blog post.

For real though. Ladies, hear me out. I’m sure at one point or another we have noticed an attribute of a fellow femme and uttered the words: “I wish I were more like you and [insert perceived compliment here].”

In most cases, the “I wish I were more like you” compliment (IWIWMLYC) is a backhanded way to point out a negative quality in someone while simultaneously pointing out a positive quality in yourself.

“I wish I were more like you and could just say whatever I wanted, no filter. But I care too much about what other people think.”

Translation: “you’re really loud and a lot of people find you annoying. I’m not like that.” Not cool. Negative feminist points. Plus, if you’re gonna attack someone, grow some ovaries and do it directly.

On the other hand, sometimes the IWIWMLYC is actually meant as a compliment.

Yes. Believe it or not, there have been several recorded instances of women genuinely complimenting one another. Usually this is done in private so as not to appear weak in front of the pack. It is a rare and cherished moment in the female jungle.

“I wish I were more like you, you’re so skinny! I could never pull off a crop top.”

In that instance, it’s not that the complimenter is out of line, it’s that she is putting herself down to make someone else feel good. Not only does that make it hard for the complimented to receive said compliment (what do you say to that? Fish much?), but it washes out the intended gesture in a sea of self-loathing.

So it’s like this. The IWIWMLYC is either a non-so-subtle jab, or a self-shaming friend booster. Both instances show a lack of confidence and ownership.

So stop it.

If you want to tell a woman she looks great in that dress, or you’re impressed by how fast she ate that cheeseburger, or how she understands the nuances of Anna Karenina better than anyone else you know, just freakin tell her. It’s really not that complicated. She’s not going to think you’re hitting on her, don’t worry.

Likewise, if you’re proud of certain qualities you’ve got, own it. So you’re a quiet woman who only speaks when she has something to say. That’s great. That’s you. Don’t put down the loud girl in the middle of the room. She knows she’s loud. She’s 28. She gets it, okay. Okay?

Peace, Love & Stop the IWIWMLYC

 

 

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2 thoughts on “When a compliment isn’t

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