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"Compliment" from a man. Feminist issue?

(36 Posts)
Roobix04 Sat 05-Sep-15 13:15:15

Out dancing last night with my two sisters when a very drunk man approached my younger sister. He asked her if she was ginger and when she said yes he told her that he was the best looking red head he'd ever seen.
My little sister smiled politely and said thank you and then we all sort of turned away to make it clear we weren't interested in talking. He repeated it again and then said he'd leave us alone.
The problem is my older sister was really annoyed. She said that it smacked of negging and he shouldn't be allowed to think that's a compliment no matter how harmless he was. My little sister said there's nothing wrong with being polite and there's no need to be a bitch when someone compliments you. This descended into a discussion about men thinking it's ok to hand out unwanted compliments in the form of cat calls.
I can see both their points and was leaning more towards my older sisters point but I changed the subject before an argument started. So who was being unreasonable?

dontrunwithscissors Sat 05-Sep-15 13:22:05

Sorry, what's negging?

Roobix04 Sat 05-Sep-15 13:41:15

Like a backhanded compliment. "You pull that dress of well for a fat girl" kind of thing. It's supposed to lower the persons self esteem so that they're easier to pick up.

pizzaeatingmonkey Sat 05-Sep-15 13:44:08

I've just looked up the word on t'internet and according to Urban Dictionary it is a low grade insult to undermine the self confidence of women! don'trun you and I are obviously not down with the kids.
What's quot, is that a game you play on cruise liners?

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Sat 05-Sep-15 13:47:50

The man was being unreasonable for carrying on when you had all turned away.

Neither of your sisters was unreasonable. Not wanting to make a fuss / being polite is how we are brought up and is a standard response and just fine. Getting angry about random men coming up and giving back handed compliments and then not going away when you make it clear you want them to is also a reasonable reaction.

In fact the man was doubly unreasonable as not only was he annoying, his actions caused a disagreement between you that presumably did not add to the enjoyment of the evening! If he'd behaved differently all would have been well.

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Sat 05-Sep-15 13:49:23

There is a word specifically to describe a deliberate attempt to make a woman feel crap about herself so you have more of a chance of sleeping with her? shock

I didn't realise that blokes did this stuff on purpose I thought they were just twats.

Bloody hell. Is this from the PUA type stuff?

AuntyMag10 Sat 05-Sep-15 13:53:54

Your older sister needs a head wobble. How ridiculous to make a feminist issue out of everything hmm

margaritasbythesea Sat 05-Sep-15 14:13:44

I think the redhead thing might be a standard. I have had it too. Made me feel i bit rubbish, and tired of having comments passed on my hair and skin colour, but it didn't occur to me to open my legs.

I think that he was the one causing a problem, not either one of your sisters. I also think that if he had been pulled up on it he would only have responded with abuse. Perhaps your younger sister knew this and didn't want to pursue it.

It isn't ideal to accept this sort of thing, but then also the most effective response for all concerned in a social situation wherecthe aim is to have fun can be polite indifference.

Roobix04 Sat 05-Sep-15 14:14:50

Not a black and white issue then. I think in this instance the man was harmless and a bit stupidly drunk but my little sister was implying that so long as they tried to give you a compliment it didn't matter how insulting it was.
My little sister goes out a lot and I think my older sister was just trying to make sure she stays safe.

InTheBox Sat 05-Sep-15 14:16:44

I agree that the man was being highly unreasonable. This sort of thing really annoys me. Your younger sister probably knew it was a back handed compliment but didn't want to start an argument or discussion with the guy.

cocobean2805 Sat 05-Sep-15 14:20:21

There is a book (which I believe is called 'the rules' although I could be wrong.) Which has a whole chapter on 'negging'. My ex used 'negging' a lot and it wore down my confidence and self esteem. A backhanded compliment isn't a compliment, its rude and designed to make the receiver question themselves, then want validation, then be easier to pull. It's awful and unnecessary.

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Sat 05-Sep-15 14:24:04

That's really old that book, I've never read it though. I thought it was aimed at women! Surprised that it has a chapter about how to demoralise women and grind them down. Unless I've got the purpose of the book wrong. Or it was a chapter to tell women about it so they don't fall for it!

Is this common then, is this a known thing that men do? I'm really taken aback. It's just so cynical and selfish and awful and just, gawd.

UrbaneFox Sat 05-Sep-15 14:24:46

There are conferences teaching men how to negg.

Roobix04 Sat 05-Sep-15 14:26:59

I don't think it's really common but it does happen unfortunately. Luckily my sister is pretty confident and in s happy relationship.

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Sat 05-Sep-15 14:27:43

Oh my fucking god

If you google it there are whole websites telling men how do make women feel bad in order to improve the chances of getting her to fuck you:

"By negging women, you’ve indicated to her that you’re not interested in her over anyone else in the group. This is a new thing for her. She’ll feel the bitter sting of being just like everyone else. Her looks no longer give her all the power – because you’re not responding to her looks.

Because you’re demonstrating social value to the group at the same time she’s wondering, “Why isn’t this guy attracted to me? Why isn’t this guy paying attention to me? Who is this guy? How am I going to win this guy’s attention?”

Everyone wants to be liked. Everyone wants approval. No one wants to be ignored. The same holds true for beautiful women – even more so. Their whole reality is based on having power and having acceptance and adoration through their good looks. Take that away and their whole reality crumbles and they’ll do anything to get it back.

Negging women is ideal for really hot girls – 8s, 9s, and 10s. For an average girl (6s, 7s), you don’t want to use value zingers. All you need to do is demonstrate social value – you don’t need to lower hers. Hers wasn’t that high to begin with."

I'm really, really shocked, I mean I heard of PUA but haven't really looked at the sites or anything. And I thought it was a fairly niche thing. If there is a word for it in common parlance then this is fairly standard practice then.


WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Sat 05-Sep-15 14:29:26


"To her guy friends, “So what’s special about this one.”

If she’s talking tell her friends, “So do you guys ever get a word in edge wise?”"

Sorry that is way off track with the thread I'd just not heard the term before and wasn't aware that this was a "thing" and I'm genuinely quite taken aback.

If that's what that man was up to then I raise him from doubly unreasonable to triply unreasonable.

MrsGentlyBenevolent Sat 05-Sep-15 14:35:56

Does absolutely every comment have to turn into a bloody feminist agenda? He was probably drunk/trying his luck. He failed. That's the end of the matter usually. Except on MN, where a man breathing too close requires much deconstruction, googling and references points hmm.

cocobean2805 Sat 05-Sep-15 14:42:02

After a quick Google, its called 'the game" not "the rules". I was wrong! But yes, the premise of 'negging' is very common amongst a lot of young arseholes men and I've been on the receiving end of it on many occasions.

UrbaneFox Sat 05-Sep-15 14:46:49

I've been on the receiving end of it too. Luckily I just felt angered, I'd no idea what it was though. I remember a young asshole telling me and my flatmate that she was the prettier one of the two of us. I felt so annoyed with him for entering us in to a competition like that, making himself the judge of it. Of course when I got up and walked away and left her talkign to the asshole it would have been assumed I was pissed off at not havinng been deem the prettier one. But I was really fucked off to have somebody walk up to two women he didn't know from adam and make them entrants in some fucking competition we weren't in!

SmugairleRoin Sat 05-Sep-15 14:51:09

Negging and PUA stuff in general is for socially awkward men imo - I suppose there's a good idea there at heart in trying to teach them how to talk to women but my god they take it to an extreme. Most men don't bother or see it as a bit sad.

I don't think it's a feminist issue exactly, it sounds more like a lack of social skills issue.

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Sat 05-Sep-15 14:59:00

Did your friend pull him, urbane?

Bit depressing if it worked!

WannabeLaraCroft Sat 05-Sep-15 15:03:19

Thing is though - he didn't say "you're beautiful, for a red head" he said she was the most beautiful redhead he'd ever seen. Maybe he is surrounded by beautiful redheaded women on a daily basis, but thought your sister was even more beautiful. And because he was drunk, stupidly felt the need to go and tell her.

Non issue I'm afraid, overreaction from your sister.

lemoncordial Sat 05-Sep-15 15:19:53

It is a feminist issue. Many men think that they're entitled to give their unsolicited opinion on how we look, sometimes that's compliments sometimes it's criticisms. Either way it's part of male entitlement behaviour. Many women are not interested in what random men have to say, but they preserve and give us their opinion on how we look anyway.

miaowroar Sat 05-Sep-15 15:30:50

This is weird. Why did he have to ask if she had red hair? Couldn't he see for himself?

I agree with Lemoncordial

Many men think that they're entitled to give their unsolicited opinion on how we look

She could have returned the compliment - "That's nice because you're the most persistent drunk I've ever met" - of course, this would have to have been after he'd repeated it a few times.

Couldn't he have just asked her to dance? (I know she would have refused but is that not what people do anymore?)

ALassUnparalleled Sat 05-Sep-15 15:43:09

You could try posting on FWR where you will likely get unanimous agreement it was sexist . For some even giving a compliment to another woman is unacceptable too as we are never supposed to do that.

In this case however, I'd say it was inappropriate and sexist.

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