Amy Schumer - Compliments

Why do women routinely reject compliments?

When someone gives you a compliment, what is your reaction?

Recently a friend posed this question on Instagram: “Does anyone else have a kneejerk reaction to deflect compliments?” she asked. “Where do we learn this?”

When I read those words, it was like a bomb of knowledge went off for me.

Because it is so very accurate.

Think about it: when a woman is complimented on, say, doing a good job, getting a promotion or nailing a project, more often than not, don’t they deflect?

“Oh, I had a lot of support, trust me.”
“I couldn’t have done it without my team!”
“Thanks but it was so stressful, I honestly wish I never started.”
“Well, it takes a village…”

It’s so universally known that Amy Schumer even created this entertaining (but very much Not Suitable For Work) parody about it.

Deflecting praise and rejecting compliments is such an intrinsically female reaction, and it’s something we’re subconsciously taught from a very young age.

Girls are taught to be submissive and humble and subtle because if you’re not, you’re “stuck up” or “up yourself”. Boys, on the other hand, are taught not just to accept praise, but to actively chase it (on the sports field in particular).

This manifests in subtle and powerful ways and goes some way towards explaining why we have such a pronounced gender pay gap… because as women, we’re often the first to downplay our own achievements.

Psychologist Guy Winch says that more often than not, our receptivity to compliments is “a reflection of our self-esteem and deep feelings of self-worth”.

“Specifically, compliments can make people with low self-esteem feel uncomfortable because they contradict their own self-views,” he says. “But while people with low self-esteem are often uncomfortable receiving compliments, not everyone who is uncomfortable receiving compliments necessarily has low self-esteem,” Winch adds.

If you find yourself nodding along to this, I have a test for you. Next time someone offers a compliment, in real life or online, pause and do your very best to accept it – without adding any disclaimers.

The first time I did this a couple of weeks ago, it felt unnatural. A person I don’t know on Instagram told me I looked flawless in a selfie. Gag! I instantly began typing a reply about the many benefits of good lighting and great filters… then I deleted it.

And I simply wrote: “Thank you!”

Guess what… I didn’t explode! Are you willing to try it for yourself?

Bed Intimacy

Lying to have sex could be “sexual assault”

Ever told someone you loved them in an effort to take things further in a sexual way?

In the future, this type of behavior could see you charged with sexual assault.

The New South Wales Law Reform Commission is currently considering the treatment of sexual consent within the criminal law code.

Under Section 6.48, it proposes that “the law should provide that a person who is fraudulently induced to participate in sexual activity does not, in law, consent to sexual activity”.

“If the proposal was to become law, telling someone you love them when you don’t, pretending to be rich and well connected when you are not, claiming educational achievements that you don’t possess, denying a complex sexual history – say, with same sex partners – could all conceivably count as fraudulently obtaining sexual consent,” explains Andrew Dyer, a criminologist with Sydney University.

“It’s quite dramatic in its reach. It means you would have to be very careful in talking yourself up.”

I have a real problem with this potential reform – and I say this as a female who has been on the receiving end of my share of sexual harassment.

What I dislike about this is that there are many men who already mistakenly believe that old chestnut: “She was into it. She wanted to have sex. She just changed her mind the next day because he doesn’t want anything to do with her now, so she’s calling it rape.”

This reform, to me, only serves to play into this unhelpful rhetoric, and give the men who hold this misogynistic attitude a reason to feel justified in feeling that way.

Furthermore, where do we draw the line in the sand?

What if you are ashamed of your upbringing or had a terrible childhood, so you lie about it when chatting up a prospective date, and after you sleep together, your sexual partner discovers the lie.

Does that leave you liable to be charged with sexual assault?

I fear this reform could be a step in entirely the wrong direction. Fortunately, it’s not law yet – and NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman, who commissioned the review, is still seeking feedback.

To have your views on the matter of sexual assault and consent heard, you can send your submission by email to nsw-lrc@justice.nsw.gov.au.

mobile phone - angry

What other’s think of you is none of your business

A few weeks ago, my friend had a big argument with another parent at school.

The details aren’t important – it was a dust-up about a school fundraiser, a ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ situation – but the end result was my friend in tears.

Over the weekend, I asked how she was feeling about it all now.

“I’m actually embarrassed,” she confessed, sheepishly.

“At the time I felt like it was the most important thing in the world and her reaction made me question myself and my intentions. Now I have perspective, I realise how silly it all was – I can’t believe I lost sleep and cried for two days about something so unimportant.”

Perspective is such a powerful thing. In the moment, an argument, situation or even an off-hand comment from someone can make or break your mood.

I was reminded of this when following the scandal that has erupted in the last week, with Mother of Daughters blogger and instagrammer Clemmie Hooper.

Hooper has admitted she’s been leading a secret double life as an online troll using an account called Aliceinwanderlust, where she took pot-shots at other bloggers.

She even reportedly attacked her own husband Simon Hooper (whose Father of Daughters account has more than 1 million followers) – perhaps as a way to through people off the scent?

Hooper failed to write anything disparaging about herself, which ultimately led to her unveiling.

The craziest thing about this story is that she had gallons of followers – 99% of whom adored her.

Instead of focusing on that, she allowed her mind to zero in on the negative nellies and the naysayers.

And she festered. She let them become her kryptonite. She invested her energy into trying to change the opinions and minds of a couple hundred gossipers, rather than being grateful and accepting of the literally hundreds of thousands of people who encouraged and supported her.

It would be tough to have a public presence on social media, no doubt, but when you put yourself out there, people are allowed to have an opinion of you. If that opinion of you happens to be negative, then you need to ignore it.

I know that’s easier said than done, but the truth is this: what other people think of you is none of your business.

The sooner we all embrace this truth, the more enjoyable our lives will be!

Nurses

How to tell if your health insurance is a “junk policy”

Ever heard of ‘junk’ health insurance policies?

Every year around April, when health insurers raise their premiums, the cost and value of health insurance is heavily debated in the media, and the phrase ‘junk policy’ gets thrown around.

I’ve never fully understood what it meant or how it could impact me – until now.

According to Choice, junk policies emerged in response to the ever-more-confusing Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) and Lifetime Health Cover (LHC). They exist because consumers may want to buy a health insurance policy so they can save on tax – regardless of whether the policy is any good.

“These junk products account for around 13% of all policies on the market and while comparison sites and the funds may spruik them as a cheap way of avoiding the Medicare Levy Surcharge or the LHC loading,” Choice reports.

Unfortunately, I believe I’ve inadvertently fallen victim to a junk policy.

I recently had an operation and prior to booking my surgery, I called my health insurer and requested a quote.

I quoted 4 items numbers, and I was advised that my health insurance refund would total $3,960.

Today, I got my refund.

It was $469.

When I called my insurer, fuming and confused as to why my refund was around $3,500 less than expected, the customer service operator offered this explanation:

“You have four item numbers. If you’d had those four procedures on different days, we would pay the full refund. But because they all got grouped into together into one surgery, we’re only able to pay out on one item number.”

Are you for real?!

I tried my best to calmly explain that it would be impossible to have those four elements performed separately. The item numbers related to two procedures each on the left and right side of my abdomen, and my surgeon had to operate on it all at once. He couldn’t very well repair my left abdominal wall, stitch me up, and then the next day open me up and repair the right abdominal wall… then repeat on day 3 an day 4.

It would be medically and physically impossible.

Which means the insurer could never possibly pay out on all 4 item numbers under their current system.

Which makes it a junk policy.

Unfortunately, you don’t tend to find out these things until it’s too late.

For what it’s worth, I have complained and have been informed I’ll have an answer within two weeks.

In the interim, I’m weighing up whether private health insurance even makes sense any more?

Have you made the decision to cancel your PHI? If so, why – and do you have any regrets?

BOMBSHELL

3 reasons why women don’t report sexual harassment

It’s been three years since FOX News anchor Gretchen Carlson famously accused her network CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment.

It’s been two years since the #metoo movement really gained steam, after accusations were levelled against Harvey Weinstein.

And yet, still, there are plenty of people – specifically men – who just don’t get it.

This topic of conversation came up with a work colleague recently, where he offered the suggestion that in his opinion, women accuse men of sexual harassment or abuse to “get attention”.

Here’s the thing: women don’t generally want this kind of attention. It can be demeaning, humiliating and exceedingly vulnerable to admit that you’ve been victimised.

Furthermore, when we do speak up – and it’s quite rare that we do, because females are conditioned from a young age to be complacent and compliant – we are often met with:

1. Disbelief: there’s no evidence, so I don’t believe you.
2. Distrust: why didn’t you say something sooner, or just leave?
3. Disdain: you’re not a whistle blower, you’re a trouble maker.

The conversation around MeToo is due to swell up again with the release of a new movie that deals with Carlson’s lawsuit against Ailes – a lawsuit that eventually settled for $20m and an apology from FOX, despite the late CEO maintaining that he was innocent.

Hollywood heavyweights Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and Charlize Theron star in Bombshell, which covers the real-life scandal.

There are so many sleazy aspects to the story – like the fact that FOX News’ cameras were positioned as “leg level”, to ensure that the network’s largely blonde, thin and attractive female reporters’ legs were on display.

But the sleaziness pales in comparison to the actual allegations of sexual harassment. Unfortunately, most of it Carlson can’t talk about due to non-disclosure agreements, which she is trying to get released from so she can be more transparent.

She wasn’t involved in Bombshell, or the TV series based on the scandal, The Loudest Voice.

“Therein is the frustration and the strangeness of not being able to partake in really big projects that are about something so personal and painful in your life,” Carlson says.

“But I have to look at it from the big picture, because the idea that these projects are even happening is really, really important because it continues the national dialogue about this issue. And if even one woman is helped from watching one of these projects and decides to have the courage to come forward, then these projects are a good idea.”