Despite years of fighting for an equal seat at the table for women, there is still a long way to go when it comes to dismantling patriarchy. But, just because people, including authority figures, are unwilling to see the world change, does not mean it won’t change.
In fact, here’s a friendly reminder of the things that women don’t owe anyone:
1. A smile
It’s not a woman’s job to smile and make anyone’s day better. We can roam around with scowls, scars, smirks, or smiles. Asking a woman to smile so that her face ‘lights up’, even if she doesn’t feel like it, reeks of sexism where a woman’s choice holds less importance than her looks.
2. A ‘pretty’ outfit
Expecting a woman to always look her best is unrealistic. Even more unrealistic is expecting women to explain why they’re dressed a certain way. Sweats and messy hair is an acceptable outfit and so is a little black dress and high heels. Stop questioning a woman’s outfit choices and instead, question why are you concerned about another person’s clothes?
Just because biology has made it possible for women (with uteruses) to have children, does not automatically translate to women desiring children. Having a child is a personal choice and forcing women to have babies for arbitrary reasons, such as a ticking biological clock or because she is married, is illogical.
A single and childless woman is not the modern-day monster. She is just a modern-day woman. Marriage and relationships are not the end-goal for all women and that’s okay.
5. Sexual or Romantic History
If a woman wants to share her past, with friends, family, or partner(s), then that is her choice. But no one has the right to ask her about her romantic or sexual history. In fact, even a gynecologist can only ask questions related to the exam and has no right or authority to judge a person’s choices.
Irrespective of the situation, or the relation, a woman does not owe sex to anyone. And yes, that includes wives not owing sex to husbands. Marital rape is still rape.
7. A hug or friendly kiss
There are various ways of greeting a person and a hug or friendly kiss doesn’t have to be it. It may appear to be a harmless gesture, but if it makes a woman feel uncomfortable, then it should not be in practice. Irrespective of whether it’s a family member, colleague, or friend, a woman should not be forced to conform to a social greeting she is not comfortable with.
8. Teaching you to be better
Women are not responsible for teaching men to be better, especially not in the age of social media. And this stands true for anyone who belongs to a minority. If you want to be an ally, do your research, and read on our issues – because enough people have spoken up about our issues far too many times. The line, “I didn’t know better’ is nothing but an excuse.
A dick does not automatically make someone a good driver and a vagina does not automatically make someone a good cook. Everyone, irrespective of their gender, should learn life skills.
10. Household chores
Much like cooking, household chores too, have been traditionally associated with women – even though there is no logic behind it, except for exploiting women. Let’s stop gendering basic activities, shall we?
11. Having a ‘natural’ look
There are so many contradictions to this statement, but the biggest problem with the statement is that it once again takes decision on how a woman should look. Makeup is an art and if a woman wants to wear a full face of make-up, it’s her choice. The same rule about it being her choice applies to waxing and shaving. Simply put, no one else has the right to make these choices about women but women themselves.
12. Constant niceness
Women are allowed to be grumpy or have bad days, and no, it’s not always because of ‘PMS’. If men can throw around things in a rage and get leeway, because their favorite sports team lost, then women can have a bad day. We’re not machines programmed to be nice 24/7.
13. Apologizing for things they’re not sorry about.
Blame it on patriarchy, because it is the root cause of most evils but most women are inclined to apologize for things that are not even their fault – just to ‘keep peace’ or appease egos. But no more!
14. Having boundaries and prioritizing yourself.
Women (in all their relationships, as a partner, mother, or even friend) are always expected to go the extra mile and sacrifice their happiness, rest, or comfort, for their loved ones. But it’s not okay. A relationship where all partners are not treated equally is not a successful relationship. And women should set up boundaries and prioritize their own happiness as well.
15. A response.
To unsolicited DMs or dick picks, to random flirty messages, to trolls, to ‘well-wishers’ or exes – women don’t owe it to anyone to respond just because they were approached.
What else do you think women don’t owe society? Let us know in the comments section below.