"compliments" about objects are far different (the purse, shoe, etc) -IMO
"compliments" about your appearance are different - with different meaning -IMO
You know, as I let this kind of swirl in my head, along with the rest of this thread, maybe part of it all for me is that given what all we are going through as a family, I would welcome anything positive said about my kids.
I've heard lots of things said to me, or said to my kids, from people that actually know us, that aren't nice. That aren't about what they look like, or about a gender stereotype, but really are about something they are medically born with and can't help.
Maybe, for me, I think about the fact that it is far and few between when I hear anything nice said, instead of something being held against, that I think that it seems like a luxury to be able to dismiss even a well intended compliment as something horrible.
And, for me, I think, that living trying to speculate about all of the things that other people could say, do, intend, mean, etc., and make sure you cover all of the variables, with the idea that you have to cover all your bases "just in case" years down the road because maybe it will or will not be ...... well..... I don't know how a person can really manage it.
I buy things because they are on sale, they are easy to clean, they are a color that doesn't stain easily, and likely I can pass it from one kid to the next. Making sure that everything from toys to clothes that I buy are perfectly PC is just out of the realm of my capabilities as I strive to just make it through a day.
I hope everything turns out well for these people and their children.
I guess I will have to be forgiving of my self enough that the mistakes I make, in possibly trying to be nice, will be enough. I kind of get the feeling that no matter what someone tries to do, however well intended, and done with the hope of not offending anyone in any way, will always be able to be found offensive by someone. Especially if people try hard enough to find fault.
This whole discussion started out very interesting to me, and has just left me feeling incredibly sad.