“Piss a man off today: Tell him you agree with his compliment of you.”
Feminista Jones is a Philadelphia-based author and activist. Last week, she tried a little social experiment: she tweeted a suggestion to her female followers.
Piss a man off today: Tell him you agree with his compliment of you.
— TheDevil's Sidechick (@FeministaJones) May 12, 2017
“Piss a man off today,” she tweeted. “Tell him you agree with his compliment of you.”
At first glance you may think, “Really? What could possibly happen if I simply agree with a compliment?” Well, you’d be surprised.
“It’s not a new idea, but in my own experience when [a man] complimented me and I say, ‘I agree,’ they get upset,” Jones told Buzzfeed News. “It’s the idea that they bestow the compliment on you, and you’re not supposed to be aware of it.”
"Just say Thank You" they cry, not knowing what to do after a woman agrees with them.— Jesus F. Baby (@FeministaJones) May 13, 2017
They even complain when you say "Thanks" with a straight face instead of "Thank you" with frilly giggles and fake blushed 😂😂😂😂— Jesus F. Baby (@FeministaJones) May 13, 2017
I've had SEVERAL men tell me they found "thanks" an offensive reply to a compliment given to a woman 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂— Jesus F. Baby (@FeministaJones) May 13, 2017
That goes back to what most women were saying abt their experiences w/this. The expectation's that women should show no self-appreciation— Jesus F. Baby (@FeministaJones) May 13, 2017
And/or should be overjoyed by a someone (a man) saying something positive about them (that they weren't supposed to know already)— Jesus F. Baby (@FeministaJones) May 13, 2017
Men as teachers. Men as validation. Men as approval. Men as decision-makers of what is "hot". Men as arbiters of praise. Men in control.— Jesus F. Baby (@FeministaJones) May 13, 2017
Yes. YES. It’s not a “small” thing — it never is. These responses men give to women who own their own greatness, space, and reactions speak to the larger problem of some men just feeling “entitled” to control women. Constantly. So they even need to control their reactions to a compliment. And by the way, it isn’t a compliment if it’s been said to establish some form of control. The only reason a man would get mad with a woman who owned the compliment he gave her is because the balance of power has shifted at that point — and some men do not like that.
Also fun: return the favor. So many compliments from men actually meant to diminish you. "Looking extra nice today. Did you lose weight?"— Veronica Speedwell (@linda_ldk) May 12, 2017
Women showed up to share their own experiences with this phenomenon.
Works every time pic.twitter.com/uUWMAnCtGv— 🐈 (@afrawlmiau) May 12, 2017
— alex (@girls0nfilm) May 12, 2017
In 2015, inspired by some vile interactions on the Instagram account “Bye Felipe,” Claire Boniface decided to do a similar social experiment. She called it, “Agreeing with boys when they compliment you.” She posted these interactions to her Tumblr page.
After seeing them, many women began submitting their own experiences with this to Bateman’s Twitter account, @spirtitualvodka.
social experiment: whenever a boy compliments you, agree with him. pic.twitter.com/rb8S4VQMCj
— gwen (@spiritualvodka) January 11, 2015
It’s truly unbelievable. Man gives compliment. Woman acknowledges that she’s aware how great whatever quality he’s complimenting is. Man freaks out. Why?
— Nicole David (@obbiecole) May 12, 2017
Because saying these are actual compliments would be about as accurate as calling street harassment a compliment. Using words to make someone feel a specific way is called manipulation, not flattery.
“This is my blanket commentary: Just because you don’t do it or you don’t see it being done, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen,” Jones told Buzzfeed News. “When men go, ‘Not all men,’ they make it about ‘I’ve never seen it, I’ve never done it…so it can’t be true.’”
“I’m saying to listen to what women are saying — try to understand what’s going on,” she added.