People are quick to comment on one’s looks, without giving extra thought to how the receiving end might feel, and think something that is not a compliment, might be.
When you receive a good score on an exam, and a friend mentions that they “did not know how you did it” or “you look surprisingly beautiful”, it may seem that way, but that is not a compliment.
A backhanded compliment
is, a compliment, that is not a compliment at all.
As an acne sufferer, I too have experienced comments as such. My skin has good days, and it has bad days. I usually try not to pay mind to my acne, since I believe I have so much more to give than just what I look like- but I always hear comments such as “Oh, your skin looks better than usual today” or “You look so clear today” Implying, that most days, I don’t have nice skin? Or what???
Backhanded comments, perhaps unknowingly, could do more harm than good.
Sheds light onto this subject, in her article “It’s Time to Retire ‘You’re Not Fat, You’re Beautiful!’
By telling someone “you’re not fat, you’re beautiful” it is putting a superficial mask over their appearance. It connotes that they are not allowed to be both.
Saying “You are not ___, you are beautiful” implies that they do not have great depth with what message they are trying to get across.
Gordon states in her article that “Fundamentally, the act of correcting someone when they name their own body sends a simple, powerful message: The language you’re using makes me uncomfortable, and my comfort matters more than your autonomy.”
Again, by stating this, the receiver is made to feel invisible. That someone is not validating them the way they are. They are just beautiful. Nothing else. Do they not realize, you could be beautiful in hundreds of different ways? So what do they even mean by that comment? Just adding some fluff into a conversation?
I wish the world had less superficial comments.
It’s funny.. I wonder how society would be if we were just souls walking around, body less. No cover to hide in, just the inside, promoting your true representation.
Oh how different the world would be.