2017 is a very cool time to be living when it comes to feminism. There is still a ton of work to be done, but it’s definitely awesome that everyone who reads anything knows about feminism. Even people whose reading material is limited to internet clickbait (hey-no judgement here!) know the basics of feminism. We’ve got huge superstars on our side; from Jennifer Lawrence to Will Smith, society is decrying sexism. Multi-million dollar companies are sponsoring media campaigns aimed at closing the wage gap, promoting positive self-image, and erasing gender role expectations.
With all of these amazing advancements we’re seeing, you’d think something as basic as compliments would be safe from sexism. Compliments exist to make people feel good, right? So many people are aware of feminism these days that there’s really no reason why compliments shouldn’t make us feel good. Yet the most well-intentioned, educated people are still saying some really oblivious things. And it’s not only guys doing it. These sexist compliments are so common, even women say some of them. I’ve been guilty of a few.
On top of everything, a lot of these super common sexist compliments also feed right into mental illness stigma. The front lines of the mental illness battle are still very hairy. People constantly misrepresent the mentally ill, or use disorders as insults. Ever called someone a psycho, or just plain ol’ crazy? That’s what I’m talking about! Even health care workers perpetuate mental illness stigma by deprioritizing complaints from patients with known mental health issues. For those women living with a mental illness or illnesses, like me, dealing with both sexism and mental illness stigma on a daily basis can be downright exhausting. Can we please just keep compliments out of it?