Saturday 20 December 2014

Can you take a compliment?

Why are Irish women so bad at accepting praise, asks Deirdre Reynolds

Beauty queen Rebecca Maguire has got good and bad comments
Razzie-winning Halle Berry is a good loser
Barbara Taylor Bradford is puzzled by this generation

As outgoing Miss Ireland, you'd think that Rebecca Maguire is used to being showered with all manner of compliments.

But the Belfast beauty queen admits they're not always of the good type.

"I've definitely had some weird experiences," says Rebecca (21), "including being followed on the street.

"Groups of men have stopped to howl at me and say things I wouldn't repeat. It's actually quite scary."

Bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford has just claimed that modern women can't take a compliment.

Speaking to the Radio Times, Taylor Bradford (80), a former typist whose debut novel A Woman of Substance has sold more than 30 million copies, said: "I was born ambitious, determined, driven, so nothing was going to stop me following my dream.

"I didn't see myself as a feminist. I never had any harassment, or [experienced] feeling up.

"It's strange today that the slightest compliment can be seen as harassment. It's this generation.I don't know why."

Taylor Bradford's comments certainly haven't been taken too well by women here.

"I don't agree that women take the slightest compliment as harassment," says Radio Nova presenter Dee Woods.

"Sometimes you just don't want a running commentary – good or bad – on your appearance.

"I suppose it depends what form the 'compliment' comes in.

"One of the worst compliments I ever received was being told that I could make cheap clothes look expensive – I'm still trying to figure out how to take it!"

"I think any woman can accept a compliment if it's genuine," adds Rebecca.

Such backhanded compliments could be part of the reason that women today seem to struggle with the real thing, according to experts.

"Telling someone they're too pretty to have a degree isn't a compliment at all," says psychotherapist Trish Murphy (

"It's criticism served up as a compliment, and you don't have to accept it.

Irish Independent

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