When does complimenting become harassment?

(70 Posts)
ChloeFrazer03 Sat 30-Jan-16 13:52:44

As someone who has been harassed before on multiple occasions, I was curious on where you draw the line between someone complimenting you and when it becomes verbal harassment.

For example, "You're beautiful" I would be flattered. "You have nice tits" Depends on the context for me, if it's a random guy on the street randomly saying it then yeah, I'd slap him. What about you? Where do you draw the line?

almondpudding Sat 30-Jan-16 14:00:23

Saying nice tits - never acceptable.

Saying you're beautiful - depends on context/tone.

Slapping someone - assault.

ChloeFrazer03 Sat 30-Jan-16 14:08:28

Yeah the slapping thing was an exaggeration lmao, I'd probably just be like "Creep" And walk off. I don't have the courage to do that :O

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 30-Jan-16 14:15:47

Agree with almondpudding (although don't recall ever being told I have nice tits)

I like getting compliments about the way I dress and am not in the least bit offended if that is from a friend or a random stranger. I put a lot of effort into a particular style and it's nice when it's noticed. I give compliments if I see someone who is of a like-mind, men or women.

OurBlanche Sat 30-Jan-16 14:24:48

When the person receiving said 'compliments' finds them inappropriate.

It would be different for everyone. My response, way back in the mists of time was a short sharp "piss off".

SenecaFalls Sat 30-Jan-16 14:31:06

I work in a predominately female (and also feminist) environment and we are all pretty free and easy with the compliments about what people are wearing. There are a few men in the office and they sometimes compliment us and we sometimes compliment them. But it is always in the "I love that jacket" vein as opposed to the "your tits look great in that jacket" vein.

ChloeFrazer03 Sat 30-Jan-16 14:41:02

Really? What do you do? grin

PosieReturningParker Sat 30-Jan-16 14:48:21

I've been sang to, told "I would", told "you're fit" had two men flick their tongues from a can, when I was walking my kids to school, and "hey beautiful" all in the space of two days last summer. I'm 40 and nothing special.

I consider it all unwelcome, I couldn't give a shit what a random stranger thinks of me.

Harassment? All of it

ChristineDePisan Sat 30-Jan-16 14:56:02

Isn't it all about context, including the relationship between the two people; the circumstances of the comment; and how the comment is perceived by the recipient?

Eg: male boss has previously told his female secretary to wear a tighter blouse "to show off her figure". When she comes in wearing a new top, saying "I love that blouse" with a leer, wink and look down her top would clearly constitute ongoing sexual harassment - yes?

Eg: female secretary has been having conversation with male her boss about how she wants to smarten up her image but without going down the obvious power dressing route. When she comes in wearing a new top, he says "wow, I love that blouse!". Normal human interaction - yes?

Eg: woman meets her partner in a bar. She is wearing a new blouse, and as he leans in to kiss her hello he glances down her front and whispers into her ear "I love that blouse, your tits look great!". Acceptable sexual banter between two people in a relationship - yes?

ChloeFrazer03 Sat 30-Jan-16 15:00:57

I agree with ChristineDePisan, context and relationship are super important.

SenecaFalls Sat 30-Jan-16 15:02:26

Chloe I work for a charity in the US. I'm interested in fashion and I take care in how I dress so as long as the compliments are appropriate I say bring them on.

Jesabel Sat 30-Jan-16 15:04:49

An unsolicited comment on someone's body or appearance without any previous relationship or discussion is unacceptable imo. Whether it's "you're beautiful" or "nice tits" - don't say it to strangers in the street.

SenecaFalls Sat 30-Jan-16 15:10:59

I agree. The relationship is very important as to whether the comment is appropriate.

One exception though is if another woman approaches me in the street or other public place and compliments something I'm wearing and asks where I bought it. Or my favorite: asking where I get my hair cut. But I should add that I live in the southern US where these type of exchanges among women are very normal and acceptable.

PosieReturningParker Sat 30-Jan-16 15:13:19

A woman stopped me the other day to ask where I got my jacket, she complimented the jacket, not me.

ChloeFrazer03 Sat 30-Jan-16 15:15:18

Maybe she was also complimenting your fashion sense? o:

PosieReturningParker Sat 30-Jan-16 15:19:13

It's different though isn't it? She didn't say "wow you look lovely, I love the jacket...."

ChloeFrazer03 Sat 30-Jan-16 15:23:28

You're jealous of a jacket?

PosieReturningParker Sat 30-Jan-16 15:35:12

I don't know you and so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and ignore your use of the word "jealous" as it's weird and completely out of place.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 30-Jan-16 16:05:01

Agreed Seneca Those sort of exchanges seem completely normal and welcome to me.

Posie No it isn't just the jacket. It won't be any old jacket. It's the combination of fab jacket, how it looks on the wearer and how they wear it and what with. I complimented the (male) manager in Penhaligon at Christmas. He was extremely helpful and from his clothes, tattoos and piercings was clearly someone who dresses to make a statement (in his case louche Edwardian gentleman)

almondpudding Sat 30-Jan-16 16:21:36

I disagree that a man in a sexual relationship with a woman commenting on her 'tits' is acceptable sexual banter.

It would be completely unacceptable to me for someone to call my breasts tits. I assume that many women feel the same way, but maybe I'm wrong.

And I wouldn't be happy about my partner whispering about my body parts in a public place.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 30-Jan-16 16:33:29

Yes almond I hate that word. I'd be seriously unimpressed at anyone using it about me.

ChristineDePisan Sat 30-Jan-16 19:16:59

almond and Lass - fair enough, and in my example above I could have added that both parties were happy with using that language. Some people are fine with it, maybe even find it a turn on; some people find it the complete opposite. Ditto whispering rude stuff into someone's ear in public.

ChristineDePisan Sat 30-Jan-16 19:21:25

I was once complimented by an old lady who said I was so beautiful I looked like a china doll. Now, apart from it clearly being nonsense (I had my moments in my youth, but have never been beautiful), it was also clearly not harassment, but a comment meant in an entirely complimentary sense. I would have been rude - and possible bonkers - to tell her that she was out of order and I considered it harassment.

I can't think of many other examples where a stranger has commented on my appearance (rather than my clothes, bag etc) and it has been non-sexual, but these things do happen.

almondpudding Sat 30-Jan-16 20:12:41

I would say that some women were happy with objectifying language because of the culture we live in, and the rest of us are under pressure to agree to it.

ChristineDePisan Sun 31-Jan-16 00:44:19

So adult couples in mutually satisfying sexual relationships only use non-medical terminology for their partner's anatomy because of the culture we live in...? Right... hmm

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