“She’s a sweet girl.”
That phrase has always struck me as mildly backhanded. Girls (and boys) are oftentimes referred to as ‘sweet’ when their niceness is the only striking part of their character.
Now, before I lose you dear reader, I am not suggesting that being nice is undesirable. Not in the least. In fact, I think it’s a pretty underrated quality, especially in an age where snark is commended.
What I am suggesting is this: ‘sweet’ is a vague, underwhelming compliment. People who use it often are either inattentive or inarticulate.
After all, girls and boys who are described as ‘sweet’ are almost never viewed seriously. They are seen as soft spoken, simple, and unassuming.
Let’s raise our daughters (and our sons) to be firm, but kind. Outspoken, but respectful. Intelligent and resourceful; confident and creative. Let’s not allow them to be seen simply as ‘nice’.
People aren’t cupcakes. Please don’t call them sweet.