The Thin Line Between A Sexist Remark And A Compliment

Women in their everyday life come across several situations where they are objectified and humiliated. On the streets, in the office, and at the club, everywhere we go, sexist remarks, inappropriate gestures, and eve-teasing follows us.

Yes, it is omnipresent. Some men may say and think that the times have changed and no such thing exists today. Let’s face the moment of truth here and talk facts.

44% of women surveyed had been groped inappropriately in public in India according to the research study by international charity Action Aid (2016).

In Bangladesh, 84% of the women surveyed had accepted that they heard derogatory comments and sexist remarks and 50% had experienced sexual and physical abuse. In 2013, a report by UN women reported that in Egypt almost 99% women surveyed had experienced sexual harassment. As per nonprofit stop street harassment, 65% of the women in the United States had gotten sexist remarks and derogatory comments, 23% had reported having faced sexual assault. Both in the East and the West, things haven’t changed drastically for women. Yes, there has been a major change since the past decades but still, we have a long journey ahead of us.

Time to raise your voice

Every now and then, we women have to face sexist comments and remarks from our colleagues, bosses, neighbors, and even friends. They make it seem as if they are trying to compliment you and you should just take a chill pill but we all know the real intention behind that weird smirk and inappropriate comments. They expect women to shrug off the lewd comments with a quiet smile and a blush. And, if she gets offended then they label her as a neo-feminist who finds anything trivial to whinge about. At this point, women shouldn’t do what is expected of them. Be bold and speak your mind. Say it out loud if you don’t like someone’s sexist comment. They don’t have a license to belittle you just because you are women.

Line of difference

Although, we all will agree to this fact that not all men are misogynist and sexist. In every society, there are a bunch of good people and there are a bunch of bad people. So, we must not assume that all men are out there to attack you. We still have a lot of gentlemen in this world who respects women and treats them well. It shouldn’t be a taboo to compliment a woman if a man wants to do so. Due to the predominant horrific experiences that women experience in their lives, they tend to become over-protective. That’s why some men may feel hesitant in complimenting other women. Compliments are powerful, they keep each other motivated and an honest compliment should never be opposed. The difficult part is to decide whether the comment or remark was sexist or not. So, there should be a defined line between a compliment and a sexist remark which every woman should know so that they can differencing between them.

Spot the Difference

So, let’s take a look at the ways in which we can make a distinction between a nice compliment and a sexist comment.

1) Using words like darling, sweetheart, baby or honey is never a good idea unless you are dating. If someone at work or on street uses these words to say a nice compliment to you, then it is definitely sexist remark. Oppose it right there.

2) The proximity between you and the person who is complimenting you matters a lot. If they are standing in your personal space or they are inappropriately touching you then it is not a compliment.

3) Direct offensive sexual remarks for a reward or incentive is offensive and you must acknowledge it immediately.

4) If someone objectifies you by complimenting you for having great legs, body, or whatever then you should tell them that the appearance shouldn’t be a reason for a compliment, the talent or actual skills should be the reason behind it.

Finally, trust your gut and intuition. If it doesn’t feel right, then usually it isn’t right. Have more to add to this light or an experience to share? Please write it in comments below


Image credits: Channel4

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