Women are sharing the things that society has deemed "normal" for them but actually shouldn't be normal at all — and their responses are a must-read.
It all started when Reddit user u/saintsacrafice posted a question to the internet: "What is something that women experience and is seen as 'normal,' but is actually very wrong, and shouldn’t be as accepted as it is?"
Here are some of the top-voted responses from users:
1."Downplaying how horrible periods can be. I've seen so many men act like women are being babies on their period, and it's just enraging."
2."The amount of sexual abuse and harassment that is rampant in our society. Most women I know started being harassed by men when they were elementary school students, and that is seen as normal."
4."Women feeling 'expected' to have sex and having their pleasure be secondary. I experienced this a lot when I was younger and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Like, I thought if I was kissing a guy, 'Well, now I’m expected to have sex with him because he’s turned on. I guess I have to.' And also thinking that during sex, the end goal was really mostly about him. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how flawed it was for me to think that way, and for men to have reinforced that thinking via their actions."
5."The biggest one for me is the pleasure gap. If I came in the middle of sex, mid-thrust, and then just rolled over and went to sleep with a, 'Good work team!'...people would think that I was crazy. But it’s literally what men do every single day."
6."Women being called 'girls.' Whether it is conscious or not, it implies a lack of maturity and, therefore, a lack of respect. Among countless other places I have heard this, I attempted to watch a season of The Bachelor, and I could not stand how often the women were called 'girls.' I couldn't bring myself to check out The Bachelorette, but I suspect the men are never called 'boys.'"
7."The way the medical community seems to approach childbirth. I've watched documentaries etc. (no kids myself) and what really struck me is how patronizing everyone was to these women who are going through perhaps the worst pain of their life, and how things like LITERALLY CUTTING THEIR GENITALS are seen as no big deal."
8."Inappropriate behavior from men, especially from a young age. If a boy hits a little girl he 'just likes her.' That little boy grows up thinking there’s no repercussion for violence, and keeps hitting women. The cycle just goes on."
9."I know way too many women who think it's normal to have to do most of the housework and childcare, plus the mental and emotional load of household management, even if they also have an outside job. Also to manage their husbands as if they are children who can't be expected to remember to make appointments or buy their own clothes or things for the children or holidays or take care of menial tasks without reminders and help."
10."People speaking over them, and/or the inherent brush-off that 'if a woman says it, it needs to be verified somehow.'”
12."I think getting an infant/very young girl's ears pierced should not be acceptable. Parents are ignoring their child's right to consent to things that happen to their body, and it's purely aesthetic. Strange to push beauty standards on babies, let alone one that involves literally putting a hole in their body that could last their whole life."
13."Dressing little girls in a way that makes it difficult for them to move around. Your 4-year-old should not miss out on valuable play because she doesn't want to mess up her clothes or hair. Her appearance should be the last freaking thing on her mind. It makes me so angry to see little girls having to sit on the sidelines while their brothers and male cousins play rambunctiously because their parents put them in a dress and expensive shoes."
15."Women being expected to let men have sex with them, but also shaming any woman who shows a modicum of libido. It's almost like society wants women to have sex but hate it at the same time, and it's gross."
16."Being expected to be nice when a man is overstepping your boundaries. As soon as we express any discomfort, we're made to feel like we should be nice to them. 'It was only banter.' 'Lighten up.' That sort of thing."
18."Men pushing boundaries without consent during sex. 'Accidentally' putting it in the wrong hole. Strangling. Hitting. Abusive misogynistic language. Pretty much every woman I know has had a man do these things out of nowhere towards her, and they are supposed to accept it because it's 'kinky' or something. And now it's literally 15-year-old girls who are dealing with this trauma because of porn normalizing it as something boys are supposed to do to women. It's completely disgusting."
19."Painful periods. They are NOT normal and doctors need to stop making it seem as if they are. It took until my thirties, when I had surgery for a painful ovarian cyst, before they discovered I had endometriosis (and a dead fallopian tube). She was the ONLY doctor to even suggest I could also have endometriosis, and that they would look while in surgery."
20."Society values men's time more than women's. My husband and I both technically have flexibility in our work schedules, but guess who does all the doctor appointments etc. for the kids? Me. Because God forbid a man miss work in the middle of the day, or take a day off because his kid is sick. Every time he has done it, he gets shit from his higher-ups. Easier for me to just do it since everyone expects a mom to miss work sometimes."
21."That condescending and infuriatingly arrogant tone that some men take on when explaining something (be it a hobby, some interesting fact, or the fundamentals of this-and-that) when their listener is a women. I understand that this may simply be done to impress, rather than be irritating, but just knowing that they wouldn't dare talk this way to a male friend or colleague is...well, irritating."
22."Doctors thinking of women primarily by their capacity for reproduction. Yes, doctor, I came in for this rash, but sure let’s answer your question on family planning and my birth control options."
23."The fact that women die of reproductive cancers more often than men because our pain and symptoms aren't taken seriously. So many women lose their lives because their pain and suffering is considered normal, are told that what they're experiencing isn't bad because women are meant to experience pain and dysfunction."
24."That people think they have the right to comment on how a woman looks or what she is wearing. There have been way too many times where someone feels they need to point out my 'physical flaws' just because. For example: acne, dark circles under my eyes, body/facial hair, paleness, etc."
31."The amount of money we have to pay for menstrual products. I remember being a poor university student having to use rolled up toilet paper because I couldn't afford pads or tampons, and menstrual cups were not a thing back then. $12 for a box of tampons doesn't seem like much, until you're living off ramen, and then it becomes a luxury."
32."Birth control! The hormones can literally turn you into another person, give you depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, and we just have to accept that 65% of women are having their lives negatively affected on a regular basis, but they have no other choice if they don't want to become pregnant."
33."Absorbing men's dysfunction. He was abused? She'll talk him through the best therapy she can manage. He was never taught how to (insert normal life skill here)? She'll do it for him. He's too macho to take care of himself? She'll nag him until he does — and she better be a good sport and laugh as she's ridiculed for 'being a nag.'"
You can read the full thread of responses on Reddit.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.