8 Seemingly Innocent Things We Need To Stop Saying To Women

If a woman has ever become annoyed by some seemingly innocuous thing you've said, there's probably a reason for it, and that reason isn't "Women are crazy." A string of words that felt pretty good leaving your mouth can still be objectively terrible, because of all of the context and implications that were fiercely ignored in the process. So maybe pump the brakes before saying something like ...

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8
"You should've said you have a boyfriend/girlfriend!"

What you think you're saying:

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"Whoa, I'm embarrassed after hitting on you now! I'd have never intentionally disrespected your relationship that way! Please don't think I was asking you to cheat or betray your partner!"

How it actually comes across:

"I didn't realize someone else had claimed you, which is literally the only way you get out of this."

This one usually comes after a woman has exhausted every other means, verbal and nonverbal, to signal a lack of interest in someone. So what sounds like an apology for crossing a particular boundary is actually an admission that the speaker doesn't recognize any boundaries but that one. "I have zero respect for your disinterest in me, unless you can prove that the one reason you're not interested is because you have a partner. Otherwise, I can't possibly see why you wouldn't wanna hit this!"

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7
"You're not like other girls!"

What you think you're saying:

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"Oh my goodness me, you are such a delight. I've never met anyone as wonderful and joyous as you, and I must tell you immediately how wondrous and joyous I find you, but in a way that seems super casual and doesn't make me look like a loser for feeling all that wonder and joy."

How it actually comes across:

"I think I can make you feel good by putting all other girls down."

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Everyone wants to be special, so "You're not like the other ______ !" seems like an inoffensive template, unless you stop and think about it for a couple of minutes. There's no way to phrase this that doesn't come off as "Before now, I've put all women under the same sweeping generalization of dull, dumb, 'too girly,' or 'not chill,' or whatever the opposite is of the compliment I'm trying to pay you."

Again, it's an accidental confession wrapped in a compliment, admitting an inability to recognize that other women can like crude jokes, sports, Star Wars, or whatever "for cool guys only" stereotype you've bought into. Accepting this compliment means also accepting that all other women are doing it wrong. It's pitting women against women and attempting to make us feel good about it. Just tell us about the wonder and joy, dammit.

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Related: 6 Things Rich People Need To Stop Saying (Update)

6
"I love a girl who can eat!"

What you think you're saying:

"I'm so glad you ate that huge portion of mac and cheese too, because now I feel like less of a pig."

How it actually comes across:

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"Wow, you're hot and slim AND you eat carbs?! THIS IS WIZARDRY."

Women who can enjoy a satisfying breakfast of pizza and ice cream are seen as "chill" or "quirky." So people think they're paying women a huge compliment when they regale others with tales of our consumption of three portions of mozzarella sticks. But would they say the same if we were overweight? No, this is usually reserved for slim girls who either have a fast metabolism or are active enough to keep the weight off.

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That means that, again, it winds up pitting women against women, with two groups getting thrown under the bus:

A) Women who eat that same diet but have a higher BMI.

B) Women who eat healthily and are thus less "cool" and fun to be around. ("What do you mean you can't find anything to eat at the sports bar? They have wings and burgers.")

5
"Yeah, _____ always goes for the crazy girls!"

What you think you're saying:

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"Johnny always goes for these mad girls he can't keep up with! He must love drama! Mocking Johnny's immaturity is a good way for us to bond! Yay! This is top-quality banter!"

How it actually comes across:

"Johnny is obviously not the problem here; it's every single woman he's ever been with, because so many women are emotional and highly strung and CRAZY, amirite?"

Lumping a lot of different women into a "crazy" bin because they've had an emotional response to something makes you the crazy one, buddy. If a woman calls you more than once in a day, or gets angry at something, or cries, or tells you that what you're doing doesn't make her feel great, that means they're human, not crazy.

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On the other hand, if by "crazy," we mean that Johnny seems to seek out women who have an actual mental illness or personality disorder, that's even worse. Now we're talking about a guy who apparently toys with a romantic partner's actual medical problem like it's an indicator of his adventurous tastes, the equivalent of liking spicy food.

Either way, what is framed as a playful insult toward Johnny winds up dehumanizing everyone Johnny has ever shared a bed with.

Related: 4 Things Both Atheists And Believers Need To Stop Saying

4
"Wow, you're so feisty!"

What you think you're saying:

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"Oh wow, you're so opinionated and passionate! I love how you stand up for what you believe in!"

How it actually comes across:

"Oh my lord, it's a woman with an opinion! How adorable!"

Do men ever get called feisty? Or fiery? Nope, this is a term exclusively reserved for aggressive house cats and women who have dared to speak up about something they care about. It's a patronizing word by default; there's no way to use it that actually signals respect. If one side in a war referred to the other side's army as "feisty," it means only that they think they'll have an amusing time crushing them.

3
"Is your husband/boyfriend on babysitting duty today, then?"

What you think you're saying:

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"It's so lovely to see you! I understand it can be hard to get out when you've had a child, but I am wondering where this child is, and am trying to make conversation about said child, even though I hate children."

How it actually comes across:

"Wow! How brave of your husband to look after your child for one night. He must be QUITE THE GUY. I do not notice or care about the fact you may split parenting duties, as I think the woman should be the main caregiver for this child, because I am in fact a caveman."

It. Is. Not. Babysitting. If. It's. Your. Own. Child.

Related: 6 Racist Things That 'Non-Racist' People Always Say

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2
"Wow, you look soooo great without makeup, you don't need it!"

What you think you're saying:

"You are a natural beauty, and I love the way you look, and gazing into your face is an unimaginable high."

How it actually comes across:

"I cannot STAND those deceptive scorpion women who trick us with their makeup sorcery!"

There is always the chance that the woman hearing this is in fact wearing some makeup. So that means there are two options:

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A) You couldn't tell (because she did an excellent job of making it look natural), and therefore she now needs to fear what you'll say when she truly isn't wearing any.

B) You could tell, but are insisting that she wasted the effort and doesn't need to hide her true face, as if she did it out of an unfounded fear.

Of course, a lot of people will greatly appreciate a compliment like this, but wearing makeup is a choice, and those who wear it will like to know that their artistry makes them look great, too. Also, have you noticed that women put effort into their makeup even for situations where they're not going to run into any potential romantic partners? Not everything is about you.

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1
"Stay-at-home mom? She's not doing much for the movement, is she?"

What you think you're saying:

"WOOP WOOP, FEMINISM! I am a Beyonce fan and identify with my SISTERS. I think women should vote! And work! And be independent and FIERCE QUEENS!"

How it actually comes across:

"Feminism is about women having jobs and NOTHING MORE! Women who look after their children and don't go to work are lazy gold-diggers who set the feminist movement back 50 years! If a woman bakes me a pie, I will FLING it out of her hands and give her a white pantsuit instead."

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Most people are all about respecting choices, right up until you make a choice they don't like. In an ideal world, if a woman works and has a child, great. If a woman doesn't work and has a child, great. If a woman has no child, great. If a woman is living the life she has chosen and is enjoying it, GREAT.

For more, check out Women On The Red Carpet Get Sh!tty Questions - Today's Topic (Scarlett Johansson, Mindy Kaling):


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