I was hanging out through a girlfriend at my place, recording up end a cup that tea v the kids in my bedroom. Ns asked my six-year-old if she’d popular music on the brand-new dress I’d purchase her and come out in her brand-new gear. 

My daughter was in a startlingly obliging the atmosphere (win!), and before i knew it she to be skipping out of she room showing off she fresh duds. My friend and I instantly clapped and cooed appropriately.

You are watching: You look like a model compliment

And that’s when it happened.

My girlfriend gushed: “So gorgeous! Those legs! you look prefer a model!”

She easily apologised, component responding to my reaction, part recognising the it’s not quite the kinda thing that university-educated, women’s-rights-appreciating, sister-loving mums say. Yet why? The fact is she supposed it in the nicest way.

“You look like a model” is 5 innocent words go together up into a well-intentioned compliment that rolls off the tongue in between friends. But to me, those five innocent words kind one of the most utterly irresponsible, insidiously destructive, and also downright gift phrases you deserve to possibly say come a young girl.

Whoa. Take away aback by that pronouncement? Well, i don’t average to fear you, yet this is something that i feel strongly the all mothers, grandmothers, aunties, and also friends must be vigilant about. Sure, yes sir nothing wrong with being a model; it’s a payment job and in a perfect people it’s an simple vocation just like a plumber, or teacher, or doctor. Yet where us come unstuck as mums, and also as a society as a whole, is confound a clothes model with a role model. And damned if it isn’t made harder by the fact they’re both the exact same word. Nice one, English language.

So let’s be clear: a garments model is someone whose task is come pose for artists or photographers. A duty model, on the other hand, is someone you admire, someone whose behaviour friend emulate. A function model is discovered in flashing lamp on the street, in images on bedroom walls, or through 1.4 million pendant on Instagram. Because that blokes, you’ll view Tim Cahill (athlete), be afflicted with Grylls (adventurer), and also Hugh Jackman (actor). For women? Miranda Kerr (model), Lara Bingle (model), Gary Pepper Girl (model).

Wait. See what happened there? We’ve made garments models ours heroes, and also it affects every decision we make every solitary day. Think about the undies you put on this morning (Elle Macpherson’s), the jeans you rolled up to the ankles (Kate Moss’s), the haircut you asked for (Gisele’s), the diet you’re on (Candice Swanpoel’s), the exercise program you monitor (Miranda Kerr’s), the tights friend wear while following said exercise program (Heidi Klum’s).

But this is the thing: Models have no qualifications that give them the an abilities to prescribe what us wear, what we eat, or how we act.

In mine world, models are little players in a sad and scary industry; a location where several of the most breakable members of society (undernourished tween girls) space poorly payment (if in ~ all), then left come fend for themselves amongst male photographers, agents, and also hangers-on that dwarf them in power, income, and experience. At best, the damaging. In ~ worst, it’s downright abusive.

When someone says to my daughter, “you look favor a model,” we’re equating the feeling she it s okay then and there—that happiness, pride, self-esteem, and success—with the dimension ten, white, and also overtly sexy women she watch on screens, magazines, and, hell, staring the end of her toy basket, every solitary day. That legitimises and also encourages her into an industry that ns feel is dangerous and also exploitative. And we’re act it with the really best intentions every along.

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My solution? college up and switch on. Prevent the mindless cliches and use words that you mean. And to gain you started, i’ve outlined a bunch the compliments to avoid and different compliments for girls below. And I’ll it is in damned if you don’t look choose a role model already.

Instead the “You’re for this reason cute” shot “You’re awesome!”Instead of “What pretty hair girlfriend have” shot “Love that combo. Girlfriend look so happy!”Instead of “I choose that dress” try “Those colours make me smile!”Instead the “You have the many amazing eyelashes” try “You look fast. Are you the fastest jogger at her school?”Instead that “I love the bows on her shoes” shot “I would certainly never have actually thought to try XX v XX. Where space you turn off to today?”

… and if every else fails: “You rock!”

Has anyone ever before said “You look choose a model” to you or her daughter? How did friend react? How do you feel around the “compliment”?