Why beautiful is not a compliment (and what to say instead)

Everyone likes to feel beautiful, right? That’s what the media tells us; that’s what our inner nature tells us; it’s what we instinctively tell any little girl we see and the way we measure our attractiveness against other people’s, whether intentionally or subconsciously.

After finding myself telling my daughters this all the time, I had to stop and realize what I was doing, because telling someone they’re beautiful may be a true statement, but it’s not exactly a meaningful compliment.

If someone is, as you deem them, beautiful, that’s the way they were made. They didn’t do anything (short of extreme plastic surgery gone right, in which case you can compliment the doctor) to look like that. And even so, a compliment towards one’s beauty is merely a statement on their outward appearance, one they had no control over.

Related post: The problem with ‘everyone is beautiful’

The problem with ‘everyone is beautiful’

While I find it admirable that many mainstream brands and ads have expanded the typical media’s standard of beauty – thin, young, white girl – to include all body shapes, sizes, colors, and ages, I still have a problem with the overarching message – there is a clear problem with everyone is beautiful. Yes, women of all kinds are beautiful, but so what? Why do women have to be minimized or validated by the qualification of being beautiful?

I believe this stamp of approval on our physical appearance is meant to empower women for their individuality, but it’s actually just objectifying us more.

I realize many of these campaigns are just trying to reverse the horrifying, unrealistic depiction of what it means to be a beautiful woman (size 2, airbrushed, photoshopped), which is a real problem in our society, with issues such as depression and eating disorders starting as early as 10-years-old, but instead of asserting that now ALL women can be EQUALLY objectified, we should change the message of these campaigns.

Related post: Why beautiful is not a compliment (and what to say instead)

Guys, stop calling everyone guys

You probably don’t even notice it – if you’re from the South, you probably don’t even say it – if you say it, you probably see no problem with it. But I’m here to share why one of the most common greetings has GOT to go: calling people ‘guys.’

It’s a simple, harmless greeting, a way to get people’s attention, a way to speak to a group of people – I hear it (and used to say it) hundreds of times a day – at the store, at school, in the office, to family and friends, anywhere there are people, you will hear the greeting ‘hey guys.’

‘Guys’ has morphed into what society uses and accepts as a gender-neutral term referring to men, women, boys, and girls, and it wasn’t until a year after having my second daughter that I somehow noticed myself saying it. I don’t know what it was that caught my attention from something that flew off my tongue without thought, but something made me pause one day.

Related posts: Why Feminism is for EveryoneGod Doesn’t Care About Your Last NameA Letter to My Daughter (About Her Two Last Names)

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