Here's What Happens When A Woman Accepts A Compliment

by Maria Guido

“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,” 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.”

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.

Women showed up to share their own experiences with this phenomenon.

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.

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?

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.