Be careful about complimenting a woman’s appearance.
“A lot of women don’t want to feel like people are constantly evaluating their appearance, especially at work. When you say ‘oh you look good today,’ that can make people uncomfortable,” Engeln said. “When you comment on how women look, even if it’s a compliment, you’re still feeding into the culture that say she should always be focused on how women look.”
Positively commenting on a woman’s appearance can actually have a negative impact.
“When you compliment someone on their appearance when they are dressed nice, did their hair and makeup you’re saying ‘the thing we appreciate about you is that you spent a lot of time and money on how you look,'” Engeln said.
However, she knows some people don’t agree with her about this.
Elman is one of those people.
“If you want to comment on a woman’s body in a complimentary way, that is different – although you should bear in mind that a compliment to you might not be a compliment to everyone else,” Elman said. “I do not think it’s harmful to compliment women on their body, but, obviously, it depends on the situation and if it is appropriate.”
That said, Engeln offered suggestions on what to compliment women on.
“If you want to compliment a woman, compliment her when she’s happy, whens she’s engaged, or when she’s doing something that’s important to her and note that you can see that,” she said. “That’s a lot more important.”