Commenting on Appearance

We live in a superficial time where there’s a strong emphasis on appearance. We see the best (and often untrue) depiction of people online with filters, good lighting and all the right angles. It’s warped the reality that we are all beautiful in our own unique, imperfect ways. It’s also created a culture where people are criticised for not adhering to arbitrary beauty standards and a person’s value is measured by their looks. 

When dating, or in life in general, it can be really damaging to question or comment on someone’s physical appearance and body. Observations might be given in the spirit of a compliment or an innocent enquiry, but it may be quite offensive to the person on the receiving end of the remark. 

There are two categories of observation that can be offensive. The first is making comment on the choices someone makes about their appearance and the second is pointing out things about their body they have no control over. Examples of potentially insensitive things to avoid saying are…

You’d look better if you…

  • Shaved your body hair
  • Lost/gained some weight 
  • Smiled more 
  • Dyed your greys

You look good for…

  • Someone who’s had a baby
  • A trans man/woman
  • Your age
  • Someone your size

You don’t need…

  • Fake tan
  • So much makeup
  • Lip filler
  • To show your cleavage

What’s that…

  • Scar from?
  • Accessibility aid for?
  • Medical bracelet about?
  • Injury from?

Someone’s value is not determined by how they look and we have no business giving an opinion on someone’s appearance. Body autonomy gives everyone the right to decide for themselves how they look…including everything from hair grooming to clothing to cosmetic surgery.

Sure, some people enjoy attention to their appearance, but it’s risky territory unless you know someone well or they have invited comment. A heartfelt remark about someone’s personality or how they make you feel is more likely to be well received, especially when dating. Be kind and think before giving an opinion on someone’s physical appearance.

One thought on “Commenting on Appearance

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: