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Women share 25 outdated things society expects them to do and say why it needs to stop

Women are exasperated from being told what to do, how to live, what to wear and to follow the codes of a society that clearly caters to cishet men.

Women share 25 outdated things society expects them to do and say why it needs to stop
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Women are told how to behave, how to dress, what to think and what to do throughout their lives from the moment they are born. The advice is almost always unsolicited and from cishet men. The expectations on women are irrational, unrealistic and burdensome to the point that women world-over are constantly told they are a failure for simply existing while men live carefree lives doling out advice on what women should do. Motherhood is placed on a pedestal and romanticized but issues such as the risks of pregnancy, postpartum depression and more are considered taboo. Selfless women and mothers are worshipped but only to enable a society to be built on the emotional and physical labor of women. 

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When Reddit user Rubbergloves44 asked what were the outdated expectations of women, thousands spoke up to highlight how women are policed, demeaned, exploited, and harassed. Here are some of the replies we came across:

1. That all women want children

Automatically assuming all women enjoy, want, and will have children. u/Connie_Damico

I almost died having one. Been warned about having another. “But she needs a sibling!” Like, she needs a mom too, if possible, you know? u/thin_white_duchess


2. Devoted wife 

Being devoted to sh*tty husbands. u/happysmize.

And continuing to stay with them even when they know they’re sh*tty. u/bhnguyen20

Thoughtful woman looking away while sitting on sofa in living room - stock photo/Getty Images



3. Providing free labor

Providing free emotional labor. u/tc88

My favorite meme lately was the one pointing out that the term "gold digger" should include men who want their partners to do all their emotional labor. u/Particularsir666




4. Take care of husband

Taking care of a husband like he is an overgrown toddler incapable of doing anything for himself. u/Stormallthetime

Young woman preparing food in kitchen while man sleeping on sofa/Getty Images

Yup. The guys that keep on acting like helpless toddlers towards their spouses are the same guys who complain about dead bedrooms. u/jennierock

5. Women should do the housework

That women should do all the cooking and cleaning. u/m0rbidowl


6. Peacemaker of the home

Being the "peacemaker" in a situation usually including men. Always disliked how women were seen as the "heart" of the family, the one keeping it all together. They want it to sound noble, but it sounds exhausting as hell and unfair. Like no one in a family can function without a woman doing the emotional labor. I have been a woman of chaos for several moments in my life LOL, not a troublemaker (all the time) but one to stand up for myself in ways that are not expected. They assume I'll be a peacemaker because I am a woman. HAHA! u/LetsBeReal24

7. Dressing for men

Dressing for men. I see many people tell women that they should not dye or cut their hair, not get tattoos, or wear certain style because it is unappealing to men. However, a lot of women nowadays (like me) dress for themselves and not for male pleasure. u/BennaJoJenna 

8. Being docile

Being docile and passive. We’re expected to take so much cr*p on a daily basis without complaining. Sexual harassment? it’s just a compliment. Sexual assault? you had it coming. do you really want to ruin his life? Periods or any type of pain/illness? it’s not that bad. The amount of mental labor we’re expected to do is exhausting, but we have to do it or nothing would get done. And then men get offended and call us names when we assert ourselves or express any emotion other than happiness. Our boundaries are constantly trampled and we’re supposed to just take it with a smile. It’s so frustrating! u/HRPunsNStuff

9. Giving birth

It is the second most terrifying and painful thing a person can go through. The first is burning alive. The industry is great at hiding the many difficulties of pregnancy just to further the human race. You can permanently lose grey matter in your brain, weaken your bladder, develop allergies?? during and after pregnancy. Don't even get me started on labor itself. I have no idea why any informed woman would want that. Just google 4th-degree tears and you'll be put off for life. u/Salty-floor-476

10. Every woman needs a man

That all women want a man/relationship. I'm happily single for years and don't want to be in a relationship. I don't get why people assume that single women aren't as happy as the ones in a relationship, when it was proven that single women are the happiest population out there. 🤫 u/Programmer_girl10

11. Women need to look 'perfect'

It's much more acceptable for men to be overweight than women. "Beer guts" and "Dad bods" are very acceptable terms in our culture, but every woman who gains weight from having a baby wants to lose it ASAP after giving birth. u/hellyeah227

12. Women need to wear make-up

That they need to wear makeup to look presentable — think a professional setting, a lot of people have the notion that it is lazy for a woman to not have ANY makeup on.
Now I wear makeup sometimes and sometimes I don’t, I just think it’s an outdated expectation that half of the population has never had. u/heyitsamess


13.  'Smile more'

Having to smile and accommodate other people’s awkward and rude behavior. The- “I’m sorry I can’t help but say or notice” and what they do is creepy, unwarranted, intrusive, interrupting, offensive etc. Get out of my space! I don’t care that my voice is unusually high pitched or that whatever you noticed or have to say about me. u/bourbonpuppybaby

14. 'Women belong in the kitchen'

Staying home and belonging in a kitchen. Work all day and still come home and cook and clean and maintain everything while he’s expected to be allowed to relax. Yeah, no. We’re a team or nothing. u/winterbaby26

15. Identities centered around motherhood and relationships

Our lives and identities being structured around and based upon motherhood and relationships.
- Being expected to be a nurturer and perform the majority of the emotional labor in most situations.
- The pressure to conform our bodies and our sexual behavior, in time-consuming, ridiculous, and even harmful ways, to whatever unrealistic standard is in style at the time.
- Having to defy the normal process of aging and that aging somehow diminishes our worth. u/lastseenhitchhiking.

16. Being event coordinators

Being event coordinator, sender of household thank you notes, and purchasing holiday gifts. u/Altruistic-Ad6449

YES! It's not just the planning. It's the planning for the planning. Sometime in June, my husband will begin to think that summer may be coming and idly wonder what the kids are doing. Dude, the signup for summer camps for the kids was in JANUARY. The good ones were full before President's Day. We had to have the medical forms in by March. I already paid for the camps in April. That ship sailed so long ago that the water behind it is now smooth and flat, which is why I have a reminder in the calendar on January 15th of each year to figure out summer camps. u/misschiff0

17. Must be lady-like

A woman must be lady-like. You know how I feel about that one? (Farts loudly) that’s how I feel. u/VeeSquibbles

18. Taking husband's last name

The automatic assumption that a woman will take her husband's last name upon marriage. u/tearsofhunny

19. Women are dispensable

That a woman is dispensable after a certain age. u/momboss405 And that men aGe LiKe FiNe wInE. If they take care of themselves, then yeah maybe. But most of them don't. u/lilac2481

20. Policing what women wear

Policing The way women dress instead of policing the way men react to it u/Late-willingness303

21. Women are not allowed to be angry

That we shouldn’t show anger. Men always talk about how hard it is that when they cry, they’re called a pussy or something like that. I agree that that is a valid issue and I wish it weren’t that way, but I also wish that women could express anger without getting called a bitch or being called irrational. We get asked if we’re menstruating, we get told we’re overreacting. Just once I’d like to feel free to be angry. u/MrsFrobert

22. Paid less than men

Being ok with getting paid less than men for the same job u/that_other_geek

23. Virginity

The concept of virginity. u/Alice-Xandra

24. Being a therapist for men

It's mind-blowing how many guys expect you to be a free therapist to them. Like, uh, I didn't sign up for this. u/m0rbidbowl

25. Using vulgar language

Vulgar language is not feminine. Stopped counting how many times I was told that but I always told them to f**l themselves. u/nebunala4328


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