The 18-year-old said most of the boys who criticised her felt they were owed a response and that she should be grateful for the compliment.
“If a guy messages me I usually don’t reply because most of the time they are complete strangers to me,” she told BuzzFeed News. “When they don’t get a reply out of me it usually ends up with them calling me ‘rude’ or a ‘bitch’.
So she decided to run an experiment she’d seen on Tumblr: If a boy messaged her with a compliment, she would reply with a warmer, nicer answer, agreeing with and accepting the comment.
“I’ve received an incredible amount of both support and negative responses for this, from insults to people telling me they hope I get cancer,” she told BuzzFeed.
Wow. It’s hard to see these screenshots and believe that they are real. Don’t men want women who are confident and unapologetic when it comes to their strengths? Apparently not.
I was shocked when I first came across this article, and then even more mortified when I realized why I had never noticed a response like this before before. I can’t remember a recent time when I’ve responded to a compliment by saying, “Thank you and yes, I like that feature a lot too.” Far more frequently, I negate the compliment entirely: someone else (SO): “You look great in that dress.” me:”Oh thanks, I feel like my hips look huge!” or… SO:”You’re so smart; you’ll be just fine on the test.” me: “Ugh no way, I’m a total disaster.” Why do I do this?? Have I so thoroughly internalized the idea that women are supposed to be modest?! Unfortunately, a part of me definitely has, and even more unfortunately, I am not alone. We have been socialized to downplay our strengths so as not to offend others, to act surprised when someone else compliments us with the hopes of seeming more modest, and to thank others profusely when they do recognize our abilitites.
This article addresses how ludicrous this type of behavior is, but also addresses how inappropriate some men can become when women defy their expectations. Surely, the examples provided by Buzzfeed are the most egregious examples they could find; however the fact that there are multiple responses in which men immediately “change their mind” about the appeal of the woman in question is awful. No woman should fear being called a bitch merely for aggreeing with a compliment she is given.
Although this article absolutely upset me, I do want to take a moment to recognize that this could happen to anyone, no matter their gender. Although the author of the article identifies as a woman and (seemingly) only received this type of feedback from men, I’m sure there are women out there who would say and do the same to a person they have complimented. Perhaps it’s just the nature of anonymous internet ramblings.
Even if this problem is not necessarily gender specific, it is a reminder to everyone … Love yourself, don’t be afraid to let others see it, and there’s no need to grovel just because someone agrees with you.