Life is weird. I’ve received many compliments in my life and for the most part, I always appreciate them, since someone has taken the time to actually say something to make me feel good and happy. I also love to give a good compliment out, because everyone deserves to feel amazing.
Where it gets weird is when someone gives you what seems like a compliment, but feels like an insult. Like the first part of the sentence makes you feel happy, and then the second part just crushes you.
One that I’ve heard loads is – “you’re pretty for a Somali”. Now, there was a time before Maya Jama came and snatched our edges, and in this dark time, Somali’s were not seen as a standard of beauty. I’m personally happy those dark times are over, but in these times it was rare for me to even receive any form of compliment and if I did it was the ‘you’re pretty for..’. Which is honestly a disgusting thing to say.
Firstly, if you’ve ever said this, you’re not only insulting a whole race of women (who are beautiful by the way), but you’re also enforcing a race divide when it comes to beauty. Now, I grew up with South Asians and a lot of their standards of beauty come with being fair, which is inherently very eurocentric.
Thanks to our colonial history we have a lot of pressure to adopt eurocentric features, and in a lot of cases, this can get dangerous. Let’s take skin bleaching for example, not only is it unnecessary, but it’s literally poison.
So I know for a lot of you reading this you’re probably thinking ‘is it that deep though’, to which I answer, yes, yes it is.
It’s always important to remember, you can like what you like, that’s not my problem. My main problem is if you need to insult a whole race of people to compliment someone else, then you need to sit down and ponder on those words.
Another really awful one is – “you’re not like other girls”,I hope you’re seeing a trend here because a lot of backhanded compliments follow it. Essentially this goes back to insulting a whole group of people to compliment someone. In this case, it’s a whole gender.
This one is ridiculous for so many reasons, firstly if you need to insult half the world to compliment me, it’s not a compliment. Secondly, what’s wrong with other girls, other girls are great, you should take the time to get to know them. Lastly, it perpetuates the idea that women as a whole aren’t desirable and this is usually linked to the stereotypes that we’re too emotional, annoying, disloyal etc.
In all honesty, compliments should just be wholesome and focus on the receiver. Don’t take the time to insult others when doing it, it becomes a less sincere act and to be perfectly honest anyone saying this seems like a douche.
Also if you witness this in action, please take the time to call someone out. It doesn’t even have to be aggressive just ask them to elaborate on what they’ve said and watch them sqirm.