"It has to be about cheering each other on as women,"
As I've previously mentioned, I LOVE compliments -- both giving and receiving. They are my favorite thing. Compliments are a great way to build people up in small everyday ways as well as make yourself feel more comfortable with your own presence and appearance; a huge part of loving and accepting yourself is loving and accepting others. Plus, compliments are a super easy way to break an awkward silence -- no more silent elevator rides if you ask the girl beside you where she got her shoes/book bag/headband etc! The giving of compliments is the easiest because it doesn't take much thought or confidence and it can really mean a lot depending on the situation and depth of compliment. Something I've noticed recently, however, is how I'm changing in the way that I receive compliments. Specifically, from dudes.
It's not that I'm necessarily sick of hearing "You have beautiful eyes!" Like, thank you, really. That's nice to hear, but also it's sort of lacking in creativity...I understand that every compliment can't be personal and deep but JEEZ, am I expected to swoon every time a guy notices my eyes are blue? It's just kind of a weak opener. It doesn't help that it generally feels insincere after so often hearing guys discussing their "move," their go-to tactic, and it starts with complimenting the eyes because girls are emotional and love that dumb romantic shit...As if telling me the specific hue of my eyes is bluest blue they've ever seen will instantly get me naked. Blegh.
It's kind of a big deal to feel distant from boys' approval when for my entire adolescence I was socialized to desire that above everything else. Even as a 13-year-old, I knew I wanted attention from boys and a small part of me held onto the idea that having it would make me worthwhile. Obviously, boys knew what was worth wanting and what wasn't, I assumed, and so the deciding factor of my worth was their reception of me. I could vomit at the memory of childhood crushes and the way my pubescent mouth would justify catcalls as compliments to be grateful for before I learned the full weight of the term 'sexual harassment.'
The resurgence of so much feminism in the public eye and the encouragement of love and support among women has been exponentially beneficial. It's the message that we can validate ourselves, an idea that I wish I'd been so widely exposed to a long time ago because it definitely would have rocked 14-year-old Cecilia's world. Even so, the process of loving myself has greatly improved my life, as it is. I think I can be simultaneously both genuinely pleased with compliments from guys while also detached from constantly seeking them out.
The fact that I basically don't even take compliments from boys seriously anymore is much more of a personal issue, I think. I probably shouldn't psychoanalyze myself too deeply and publicly on the internet, though; I'll save that for my diary. You can read all about it in my memoires.