How 'Not' To Compliment A Woman: Here's What People Suggest

Making compliments that reinforce gender stereotypes or preconceived notions can be offensive. They are often outdated views of what it means to be masculine or feminine.

Nikita Gupta
Sep 04, 2023 17:13 IST
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Complimenting women is a positive and respectful way to show appreciation, boost confidence, and foster good relationships. When giving compliments to women, it's important to do so genuinely and respectfully. 

While most men think it's okay to compliment women on their physical appearance, for us all it means is that our whole existence, our talents, our accomplishments, our struggles, and everything in our lives have been reduced to nothing but our looks.

Men Complimenting Women

Compliments that women may find offensive often stem from objectification, stereotypes, or insensitivity. 


Namrata Agarwal, 35, said, "I hate it when people call me 'Beauty With Brains.' I mean what do they exactly mean by that? It's insulting, to say the least. I mean if I'm pretty, am I supposed to be a bimbo or if I'm smart and intelligent, am I supposed to be covered in oil or not look attractive? Gets my GOAT running every time."

Making compliments that reinforce gender stereotypes or preconceived notions can be offensive. They are often outdated views of what it means to be masculine or feminine. Nupur Goyal, 23, said the compliment she hates the most and weirdly is still received the most often, 'You drive like US.'

The compliment often comes from the perceived notion that 'women are bad drivers.' Although numerous studies have shown that there is no significant difference in driving abilities between men and women. Compliments like these undermine women's confidence and discourage their skills.


It's important to challenge these stereotypes and treat all, regardless of gender, with respect and fairness. Gender should not be a determining factor in evaluating someone's abilities. 

Disguised Insults

Backhanded compliments, also known as left-handed compliments or backhanded praise, are statements that initially appear to be compliments but, upon closer examination, contain hidden criticism, insult, or sarcasm. 


When directed towards a woman, they often play into harmful stereotypes, societal pressures, and biases that she faces. Such compliments reinforce negative gender norms and expectations, undermine self-esteem, and perpetuate harmful beliefs. 

Nihan Parveen, 26, shares, that she has been told this number of times, 'Even if you are chubby, you are so pretty.' Expressing her exasperation she says, "I never denied that I wasn't pretty and what do they mean when they say that? Like fat people can't be pretty or am I pretty for a fat person?" 

Such compliments imply that a woman's worth is primarily tied to her looks. These compliments can reinforce unrealistic beauty standards and encourage women to prioritize their appearance over other qualities or accomplishments.


Receiving a backhanded compliment can leave women questioning their abilities and worth, fostering self-doubt and insecurity. 

In a similar way, I have always received the compliment, 'You are dark but you are beautiful.' Such compliments erode a woman's confidence by suggesting that her achievements or qualities are surprising or exceptional for her gender. This can make women feel like they are constantly being judged based on their gender, rather than their abilities or merits.

The Conclusion


To give compliments that are respectful and well-received, focus on qualities, skills, or attributes that aren't related to physical appearance, avoid stereotypes, and be mindful of how your words might be interpreted.

Complimenting women is easy when compliments are given with respect, sincerity, and a focus on her character and accomplishments rather than her physical appearance. It's about recognizing and celebrating her individuality somebody with her own unique qualities and strengths.

Ultimately, the key to complimenting without offending is to be thoughtful, considerate, and aware of the other person's feelings. To all the men, here's the tip. Tailor your compliments on her achievements, and her strengths and always prioritize making her feel valued and respected.


Views expressed by the author are their own

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#compliments for women #Sexist Compliments