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15 Things Women Don’t Need To Do Though They’re Expected To

15 Things Women Don’t Need To Do Though They’re Expected To

My husband once pointed out a bumper sticker that said, “Well behaved women seldom make history.” I know he’s proud of the bad girl in me.

There are a lot of things women are expected to do that they don’t really need to do. Fifteen is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s amazing how many rules there are that women ascribe to – just look at any magazine and you’ll find the list plastered to the front cover. So what happens when women don’t follow those rules? Shame, shame, shame? You become a social pariah? NO! It’s not true. Women who don’t follow the rules have tight friendships, strong communities and a lot of fun being themselves. The women I know who don’t clean their house, match their socks or wax their nether regions are joyful, successful and FULL OF LIFE.

An example of this is my friend, Masha, who absolutely fascinates me. She is a Russian expat and university professor of Political Science who has a partly shaved head; wears mismatched, brightly coloured clothes, tends a garden full of gnomes and disco balls, and uses the walls, ceilings and floors of her home as a gallery of stickers, graffiti, sparkles, painting, and the art of her friends and kids. Her home is frequently a jumble of toys, art and dirty dishes but is also one of the happiest place I go. She is the queen of the neighbourhood and there is no one she doesn’t know by name from beggars to bankers. By being herself, to the full extension of her ability, she has become much loved and respected. On top of that wonderful dividend for living an authentic life – she’s got a handsome, intelligent husband (who would drink her bath water) and two really great kids.

Here is a list (partly inspired by Masha) of things women are expected to do that I think should at least be optional and at most be banished from the guidebook.

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1. Be Nice

Women are often expected to “be nice.” One of the worst things women do is be “nice.” Nice is not the same as kind. Kind is good. Nice… there is a legion of things nice girls don’t do (most of which are a lot of fun). Kind women – they can do anything and do it with grace, dignity, humour, courage and still get laid on the way.

2. Keep Up With Fashion Trends

Contrary to the so called women’s magazines, women really do not need to buy the latest this, that or the other and you don’t have to spend your fortune on Jimmy Choo shoes or whatever is most fabulous this year. Finding your own signature style is fun and can bring beauty to your world but you don’t need to waste your precious resources – time and money – on what is hot this year.

3. Sit With Your Legs Together

Women can sit however they like, wherever they like. Have you ever sat on a bench with a man? He will spread his legs like eagle wings. I am absolutely certain this is a way of asserting dominance – like a cat who arches his back. Look how big I am, why I can’t hardly contain my package! Women, however; keep their legs tightly glued together for fear of… what? Why exactly is it unladylike to sit with your legs akimbo? As long as you are neat and clean and well advised why not take up a little more room. Lean in? Spread out!

4. Apologize

So many women I know apologize for existing, for entering a room, for speaking. “I’m sorry, is this a good time?” The apology is extraneous. “Is this a good time?” is thoughtful and that is all you need to be. When joining a conversation women will often apologize instead of saying, “excuse me.” Excuse me is polite and that is all you need. Try keeping track of how much you apologize (you won’t be sorry you did). Unless you hurt someone – don’t apologize.

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5. Explain

If you want to paint your house pink, smoke pot, learn Spanish or take a year off to travel the world, it’s your own damn choice and you don’t have explain it to anyone. You don’t have to tell the waiter about your root canal – just order water with no ice. You don’t have to justify shaving your head – get thee to a barber. You don’t need an excuse to go back to school at fifty: call up enrolment, enrol in an acting class and don’t tell anyone why you’re doing it. You don’t need approval. They only time you should explain yourself is when you’re late and even then an apology (as above) will do.

6. Clean Your House

Cleanliness is not next to godliness. It’s important to prevent the spread of disease and keep out varmints but other than that disorder can be a charming sign that you have more important things to do – like read books, hike, have sex or drink wine. Laundry is an excuse to be creative with your wardrobe. Toys everywhere are the signature of a happy childhood. Dirty dishes mean you had to get upstairs with that very attractive man (or woman) you share space with. Get up there. The dishes can wait. 

7. Have Kids

Not everyone should have kids. It doesn’t mean the childless are loveless or selfish. It means you don’t want to parent. That’s not so bad (I can testify to the sleep you will not lose and the “Dora” you will not have to watch). Do your thing and find fulfillment and love in the way you choose to live your life. I have kids. It’s been a great thing for me. It has made me a better person. It may not be that way for you. We are not all the same. We don’t need to be. It’s not a badge of honour to have a child nor is it a badge of honour to be childless.

8. Work Outside The Home

For a long time I thought work outside the home, ambition and success were very important. I had a revelation when I had my second child and stayed home. Suddenly, for the first time ever, I felt at peace. I lost anxiety. I spent more time outside and I didn’t give a damn about leaving my mark or making a difference. Small things became my joys. It’s not a perfect life but it’s a peaceful one. Working in the service of others is very rewarding for me. Becoming a better cook, playing kitchen hockey with my 3 year old son, talking with my 85 year old mother-in-law and learning the art of domesticity has been a great boon to my emotional life. I feel free. Our family is lucky to afford this. It is also a choice. I can if I want. I want.

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9. Work Inside The Home

Women don’t have to feel obligated to stay home with their kids or without them. It is still a topic of conversation and people forget that it’s not a new one. Most women in the world have to work. Since the beginning of time it has taken a village and historically, most children have been raised by extended family, friends of the family, boarding schools or a nanny (often, someone is minding the nanny’s kids). Taking care to provide for your children while taking care of your own needs teaches kids they can do what they want or need to do to find their own happiness. It ain’t easy or balanced. It requires juggling and it requires attention. It’s the choice you and your family make. Don’t let anyone judge you – especially you. File a formal complaint against the police in your head that shame your for your own nature. That’s police brutality and it has got to stop.

10. Wear A Shirt

My lovely stepdaughter shocks a lot of people in the summer time. She will strip off her shirt when playing volleyball or go for a swim in just her bottoms. She’s hot (in temperature, temperament and she is beautiful). She likes to feel the sun on her skin. She’s trained herself not to care about the sideways glances. Good for her. It is hot and they’re just baboo (as our sons call them). What the hell is going to happen if women take off their tops in North America? Bikinis are nearly as revealing and last I heard nipples don’t spread infection or cause world wars. I once joined her once on a barren secluded beach (I’m much more reserved than she is). Let me testify: the sun felt great!

11. Wear A Bra

Isn’t it the best feeling in the world to take your bra off, after a long day and whip it out through your sleeve? Oh my god. Isn’t it nice to walk around your house without the straps digging in your shoulders? If you don’t need it for comfort see what it’s like to go for a few days without your bra. Heaven. So, the neighbours talk. If they’re those kind of neighbours – they’ll talk anyway. Why not give them a little sugar for their coffee?

12. Wax Your Legs (etc.)

The etc. sure does hurt. I am a shaver of legs and to be honest I’ve really struggled with it. It makes me look little girl – hairless. I don’t like the social implications of that. I do, however; think it looks better. I have bought into the aesthetic. I buy into it for me. You do what you like to do – wax or shave. It should be a choice. The thing that really gets me is waxing the nether regions. That really hurts. It hurts a very sensitive place. Even after childbirth I can’t tolerate the pain and don’t think I should. Ouch. Leave it alone.

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13. Speak Quietly

Many women believe they must be soft spoken and that the sound of a woman’s voice, when loud, is irritating. Keeping your voice soft means it’s harder to hear you. That can be a good tool if you want people to pay attention but if you can’t be heard you will be ignored and you are not part of the conversation. A high, pitchy voice can be irritating and it also indicates a lack of confidence. It’s easy to fix that. Speak from your diaphram. It will make your voice warm and powerful. Voice lessons help and they do more than strengthen your voice. They are a really great for feeling emotionally connected and strong. I highly recommend taking a voice class.

14. Act Like A Lady

Good manners are important. I thoroughly believe this. I set a nice table, chew with my mouth closed and respect those around me. What I object to is all the things ladies are told they can’t do. Most of them are fun. Most things ladies can’t do actually open doors for women. It seems incredibly outdated to me to be told that there are things a lady does and does not do. Women now go into locker rooms, drive cars and wear pants (all ridiculous things once considered unladylike). In certain parts of the world these things are still off limits. No one should be limited and sisters have got to step up and say it should not happen anywhere. In jolly old England a BBC executive actually banned female presenters on children’s shows from wearing red lipstick because it sends the wrong message. I don’t think my three year old son speaks lipstick so luckily he’s not getting that message.

15. Agree With This Post

You don’t buy into this. You think women should be nice, keep up with fashion, sit with their legs together, apologize, explain, clean their house, have kids, work inside the home, work outside the home, wear swim tops, wax from top to bottom, wear a bra, speak softly, act like a lady and disagree with anything I’ve said. Go forth and be your own self! One thing women do not have to do is follow any kind of direction from any kind of article by any kind of person they don’t know.

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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