Anna Sheffer
June 28, 2019 1:03 pm

Even today, casual sexism is so pervasive that it’s often hard to be shocked when someone (read: a cis man) says that women need to be beautiful to be taken seriously. And yet, people are full of surprises. Today, in sentences we never thought we’d write, Twitter is criticizing the Dalai Lama for saying that if a woman succeeds him, she should be “attractive.”

The Tibetan spiritual leader spoke to BBC News in a June 27th interview, addressing topics that ranged from U.S. President Donald Trump to European refugees. But then reporter Rajini Vaidyanathan asked him about a 2015 comment in which he said that he was open to a female Dalai Lama—as long as she was attractive.

In a video clip from the interview shared to Twitter, the religious leader also suggested that most people would prefer not to look at a “dead face” and argued that women in the public eye should wear makeup. In her article, however, Vaidyanathan wrote that the Dalai Lama went on to say that both outer and inner beauty were important in Buddhism. He also told her that he supports pay parity and thinks women’s rights are important. In 2009, HuffPost reported that he even referred to himself as a feminist, saying, “Isn’t that what you call someone who fights for women’s rights?”

But the Dalai Lama’s recent comments didn’t sit right with Twitter, to say the least.

It wasn’t long before some users were declaring him “canceled.”

Then there were those who were just sick of how common sexism is.

Ultimately, the Dalai Lama may be a spiritual leader, but that doesn’t mean that he never says things that are objectionable or controversial. Hopefully, he’ll take some time to consider why these comments about women have offended people.

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