Becoming a feminist, in many ways, has been a liberating transformation for me. I was able to discover myself worth and learn to take pride in my identity as a woman. However, I began to notice the bullshit that women deal with every day, and I am over it.
Here is my list of the top five most annoying things a woman deals with from men everyday:
1. You get interrupted.
This has happened to me more times than I can count. I’m in the middle of making a point in class when I am interrupted by another guy. It is as if I have melted into my chair and vanished into thin air, because suddenly I am treated like I am invisible. I’ve had male peers finish my idea for me and get praised. I’ve had male peers interrupt me during class presentations and get rewarded. The same thing happens when I’m having a conversation with a male peer outside of class. As soon as his best bro comes down the hall, everything I am saying becomes devalued and unimportant. Being interrupted does not make me feel welcome or respected. Things boys have to say are NOT inherently more important than what girls have to say.
2. Mansplaining is used on you.
"Mansplaining" is a term used to describe the way that men explain things in a condescending, pitying tone towards other people. In other words, it is that moment when a guy or boss turns to you and repeats what he was saying only in simplistic, caveman language with many hand gestures. This just makes me feel bad, and him look stupid. Certainly this can happen to men, but it definitely happens to women. Often the questions or suggestions that cause mansplaining are valid, and do not require a sarcastic, insincere response. Not only does mansplaining make women feel bad about being part of a meeting or conversation, but it excludes them from future conversations. I once had a guy friend ask me why women don’t talk more. This is why.
3. Bae starts manic-pixie-dream-girling you.
The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG) is a character trope wherein the girl's sole purpose is to fulfill the boy or develop him further in some way, and it relegates her to being unimportant herself. In Paper Towns, or Perks of Being a Wallflower, the MPDG does everything the protagonist wants. In real life, this stereotype does not hold up. The practice is continued because it protects the guy in the situation. He is able to come out looking like the victim of the situation, which only serves to place even more responsibility onto the girl. To all the boys who have done this to me, let me get this straight: I owe you nothing. We went on one date, maybe. I don’t owe you sex. I don’t owe you another date. Just because I was interested in you does not mean that you are now the center of my universe. I am not responsible for crushing your impossible fantasy version of me, you are.
4. He expects you to do the work.
I would like to think we’ve moved far away from the “women belong in the kitchen” mentality. However, I can’t deny that there is still the expectation among many men that women are the harder working of the sexes. I’m always the girl in the group who gets front-loaded with a lot of the work. Whether it’s a school project or making plans for a Friday night with the squad — I love helping people, don’t get me wrong, but what I don’t like is being expected to do the work.
5. You are accused of PMS.
LET ME BE CLEAR: I am tired of PMS being used as a way to disregard my emotions or my intelligence. Girls, please remember that your emotions are justified. A man cannot make that decision for you especially through insults. Being accused of PMS does not make your opinions any less valuable, or any less important.
It is so important to recognize that all of these five things hold no bearing over your worth and your ability to achieve your goals unless you let them. Simply knowing about these five things can help stop the cycle of internalization and start a road to empowerment!