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You should be flattered

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You should be flattered is an excuse used for sexist incidents, in particular for sexualized environments or harassment incidents, in which commentary on women's appearance (usually) is defended as being complimentary to the women.

This excuse is problematic because:

  • it attempts to dictate women's emotional responses to them, in particular perpetrating the idea that women are socially obliged to be pleasant and accommodating
  • it places the blame on women for responding negatively to attention which is wholly inappropriate in many contexts, such as professional communities
  • it reminds women that they are subject to men's approval (see Grunch)
  • it reminds women who aren't the object of the comment that they are also subject to men's approval
  • it ignores the fact that many women have had negative experiences with sexual attention, such as immediate or eventual criticism or violence, and therefore do not view it with unmixed (or any) pleasure
  • it makes non-straight women feel particularly marginalised
  • focusing on women's appearance contributes to feelings of exceptionalism and conveys the judgment that a woman's interests and expertise are less valuable than her attractiveness

Incidents Edit

Responses and commentary Edit

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