For the Last Time, Don’t Talk to Me When I Have Headphones In

Without going into the discourses of feminism and gender equality, I would like to offer you this: ten things that you can try and at least consider to make this world a more tolerable place for everyone, especially all the ladies out there.

  1. Be mindful of your words. I’m not going to harp on anyone for saying bitch or slut–because everyone is entitled to think and say what they want, even if others find it in bad taste. What I really want is for people to understand what these words imply: describing a woman as a bitch is essentially saying that she is not acting like a proper woman, or a man is not acting like a proper man–it’s demeaning. Saying someone is a “pussy” means they are weak or scared, which implies female weakness. This is just an example; just understand that words create and reinforce these gendered power dynamics.
  2. Remember that she doesn’t owe you anything. She doesn’t owe you a response if you sit next to her on the subway and ask her about her book. She doesn’t owe you a relationship or sex just because she enjoys spending time with you. So before you get all butt hurt about being friendzoned, remember that you were selfish enough to think you entitled to something because you acted like a decent human being.
  3. Understand that she has probably experienced her fair share of sexism. From rape to getting cat called to being told “you’re too pretty for that”; these are things that no one should have to experience. Although they can always happen to men, it is largely directed at women of all shape, size, color, and status. Understand that we are constantly being degraded by others and it does affect us. We could be wearing a giant mumu with camo pants and a bucket hat and still get the same “hey mami, you lookin’ good tonight”, it is not flattering, it’s harassment.
  4. Don’t attack based on looks. There’s a tendency to go for that quick blow when you’re trying to express your utter dislike for a woman—she’s fat, she’s ugly, she looks like a slut. Whether it’s Michelle Obama or your ex–you’re kind of suggesting that looks are more important than actions or behaviors. Sure, she might have the voice of an angel, but she’s a fat girl. She might be really intelligent but she looks like a Barbie doll. All our lives we’ve been picked apart based on our appearance, told to buy products to fix all our flaws, and yet somehow not be “too concerned with makeup”. I get the retort though, I know that most guys have been through a times of constant struggle over body image, because masculinity in this culture and day and age is almost, if not just as bad sometimes. Understand that  judging harshly on looks is a weak argument, and a low blow, even if you’re a woman criticizing another woman.
  5. Stop telling us we need a spouse or child. While motherhood is absolutely appealing to some women, many of us do not want children or a husband/wife.  Just look at the divorce rates in this country, take a look at your own family, isn’t it painfully obvious why a person would want to stay away from that situation? The same goes with children, I can’t tell you how many times people tell me “You’ll change your mind when you’re older.” Even if I do end up changing my mind, it still irritates me to no end that my life’s trajectory should be aimed with the ultimate goal of being a housewife. I love my friends with children, and their babies are wonderful; if I wanted to be a mother I would embrace it, it is nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s my personal choice. Respect people’s wishes, and concern yourself with your own life.
  6. Don’t rape, don’t sympathize with rapists. This goes along with any domestic violence or any type of abuse—to anyone. Unfortunately, the chances of a woman being raped in the US are 1 in 5.  it’s really not something to be taken lightly. It is a completely traumatic experience for those who experience being completely taken advantage of. Regardless of circumstance, if you know someone who raped a woman or man, you need to do the right thing and report them immediately.
  7. Understand each woman is her own person.  Your ex might have cheated on you, your mother might have ignored you, and your manager might have been too harsh on you—but don’t get bitter about every woman being some sort of hell spawn she-beast.  Each woman is multifaceted; her life has been full of different struggles based on color, income, upbringings, gender-identity, sexual orientation, religion, politics, sex, and many other factors. Just like the idea of someone putting a label on your forehead, it’s unfair to subject an entire gender to the confines of a stereotype.
  8. Stop thinking everything revolves around attention. Yes, girls like death metal, Starcraft, sports, and craft beer; because they actually enjoy these things. It’s also perfectly acceptable for a girl to think she’s hot shit. If she wants naked pictures of her bad self, then why should she be chastised for doing so? Vanity varies from person to person, but don’t concern yourself over other people’s selfies or choice to go nude for the internet.
  9. Treat trans-gendered women with all the respect that you would with a CIS woman. Whether she is just starting, still in transition, or has made the full change, respectfully address a transgendered person the gender they wish to identify with. Don’t call them by their old name, make fun of them, or give them weird looks–a transwoman is a woman.
  10. Respect her. If she wants to sleep with a different partner every night, respect her. If she doesn’t want to have any sex before marriage, respect her. If she doesn’t want to go to college, if she wants to dress like Danny DeVito, that’s her choice. Respect it.


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