Compliment

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My daughter, to you I must apologize

For the compliment I gave you the other day

When I called you “pretty in your dress”, I did not realize

That years of conditioning had made their way

Into this seemingly innocuous comment of mine-

A comment that flawed perceptions did validate

Calling you pretty was an unmistakable sign

That from societal norms I find it difficult to deviate-

In that moment I thought about you in your outfit

Though you were going out for a mathematics quiz

I realized my folly soon- this did not sit

Well with me at all, therefore the self-analysis..

I let you down (and myself too)

I should have focused on your intelligence

Instead I thought about your beauty, it’s true

The wrong attribute again took precedence

To your brother I would not have said

Something similar, my comment would have been

Geared towards his mental capability instead

Yet this is the discrimination I’ve seen

Over and over again, all around me

This behavior is so deeply ingrained

For a female, we think of her outer beauty

First- before we remember she has a brain

Next time I decide to pay a compliment

To a girl- in my choice of words I shall be conscious

I shall think of each field in which she is competent

Only then on physical attributes shall I focus

This is what I shall endeavor to do, my daughter

And if I fail, give me a gentle reminder..

 

 

 

 

 

 

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