Few things in our society ever get questioned. We get caught in its cogwheels in such a way that we don’t realize that our expectations, attitudes, and ideas about how things should be get distorted.

And when it comes to women, unwanted things and unpleasant experiences they have to go through are often so normalized, nobody makes a big deal out of it. You stop for a sec and wonder ‘how on earth did this happen?’

This exact discussion was sparked when one redditor asked women on Ask Reddit “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?” As you can imagine, women had a lot to say in that department and the responses started flowing in. Let’s see some of the most eye-opening ones right below.

#1

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms Being expected to be nice when a man is overstepping your boundaries. As soon as we express any discomfort we're made to feel we should be nice to them. Eg: it was only banter, lighten up, that sort of thing.

infamyinfamy , Keira Burton Report

Zophra
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

"Can't you take a joke?"....

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#2

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms 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.

OverallDisaster , Sora Shimazaki Report

Eva the Egg
Community Member
2 months ago

Wouldnt it be great if all men in the world had a day were they were on a period and could see how it feels?

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#3

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms No.

That's it.

The word no.

When a guy says no it's not usually questioned, they don't have to go into a long detailing as to why.

When a woman says no to pretty much anything they're either asked or they feel compelled to have to explain why their answer is no.

No is a complete sentence.

iamthenightrn , Anete Lusina Report

Zophra
Community Member
2 months ago

Agreed.

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#4

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms 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.

parezcounapina , Omid Armin Report

Deborah B
Community Member
2 months ago

This! It sets their expectations for their whole life, until they're trying to walk in a tight pencil skirt and high heels, and have no pockets.

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#5

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms Pressure to have kids. Lectures and being guilted if you don't want to. The weird idea some people push that motherhood needs to be the center of our lives.

Connie_Damico , Liana Mikah Report

frangee
Community Member
2 months ago

Yeah, from such a young age, kids, especially girls, are expected to play at being parents and stuff. It just makes it seem as though their whole life revolves around having kids.

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#6

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms Medical discrimination. Not believing woman’s pain or symptoms or saying they are completely related to your monthly cycle/hormones.

And thinking of woman primarily by their reproductive capacity. Yes, doctor I came in for this rash but sure let’s answer your question on family planning and my birth control options.

Nephron8 , Andrea Piacquadio Report

River Webb
Community Member
2 months ago

Woman: has incredibly large rash all over her body Woman: *happens to be on period* Doctor: coincidence? I think not!

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#7

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms "When a boy is mean to you, that means he likes you..."

JUST NO!!! Anyone that truly loves you will not hurt you mentally, physically, or verbally. EVER!!! They tell you this when you're young to prepare your for a dirtbag husband in the future and some women never get the common sense to see that it's actually a bully!

Chuck2025 , RODNAE Productions Report

athornedrose
Community Member
2 months ago

THIS! it affects relationships a long way down the road

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#8

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms 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.

FranzLuciferdinand , August de Richelieu Report

troufaki13
Community Member
2 months ago

Women DO the housework and childcare while men HELP. This approach needs to change :/

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#9

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms Being expected to let men have sex with them but also shaming any woman who also 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

Chessebel , cottonbro Report

Joanne O'Brien
Community Member
2 months ago

Good thing i'm a lesbian!

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#10

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms In public spaces, when men put their hands on you so they can pass by. It's common in clubs and bars, but happens elsewhere, too. Funny thing is, a guy can't get past you without putting his hands on your waist. But, he can navigate a wall of men totally touch free. So creepy and intrusive

RasSass_01 , Keira Burton Report

Andy Acceber
Community Member
2 months ago

This.

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#11

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms Spaghetti strap tanktops on a hot summer day being "provocative".... And the high school dress code

crazy4zoo , Igor Rodrigues Report

Soggy Crumpet
Community Member
2 months ago

Agree with the spaghetti strap comment but also agree with having a basic dress code at high schools

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#12

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms I find it a bit insulting when you see a picture of a woman who is really pretty and you find out that she’s a top scientist or engineer or a doctor, something very prestigious, and a person says “ Wow, She’s pretty, I wasn’t expecting that!” What, like are smart people usually butt ugly? pretty girls can’t be smart? Wtf! I feel like that’s really common and needs to end.

itsrachyrach , ThisIsEngineering Report

Louloubelle
Community Member
2 months ago

Hedy Lamarr. Just saying.

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#13

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms My 14 year old daughter pointed out today how often my dad interrupts me. I hadn’t even noticed. She said, “yeah - all the men in our family interrupt and talk over you except dad.”

breadfruitbanana , Ekaterina Bolovtsova Report

Nat Hedley
Community Member
2 months ago

'I'm sorry, did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?'.

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#14

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms 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.

the-neonmoon , Alex Green Report

Sinkvenice
Community Member
2 months ago

Sexual harassment of women, ESPECIALLY young girls, isn't seen as normal. It of course happens which is atrocious and should absolutely be stopped but only sexual predators think it's "normal."

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#15

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms As a child boys pulling your skirt up.

Periods like they are something we should be ashamed of and not talk about.

When talking a rape, women are told things they should not do and things are directed at they are to blame for anything and everything that happens.

Being talked over.

You either talk too much or not enough.

Being sexualized at any age. Looking at you beauty pageants.

When you prove a man wrong, somehow you are villain because you hurt his pride.

Worsethanboys , Anete Lusina Report

River Webb
Community Member
2 months ago

beauty pageants are a total menace, not only are children forced into performing when they don't want to but their bodies are also sexualised in totally disgusting ways

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#16

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms 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 them and they are supposed to accept it because it's "kinky" or something. And now it's literally 15 years old girls who are dealing with this trauma because of p*rn normalizing it as something boys are supposed to do to women, its completely disgusting

OrangeyPanda , Valeria Boltneva Report

Ripley
Community Member
2 months ago

Young people (all genders) *need* to be told that porn is not real. Over and over again until they get it. For a lot of kids it may be the only sex education they get. No wonder they have a really skewed view of what sex is supposed to be like.

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#17

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms Men hitting on you after you’ve made it clear you’re not interested but stopping immediately if they find out you have a boyfriend, so you must “belong” to another man.

rngrb3 , Katerina Holmes Report

Maren Gärtner
Community Member
2 months ago

Or saying that you must be a lesbian because you are not interested in them.

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#18

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms The fear of expressing too much comfort around male friends who might see it as a sexual opportunity. Too many of us experience this

Ripple935 , Katerina Holmes Report

Doggo Froggo
Community Member
2 months ago

Sadly very true on the whole.

Whatshername
Community Member
2 months ago

And then complain they are being friendzoned 🙄 Absolutely hate that word.

qwerty
Community Member
2 months ago

Especially since it doesn't exist.

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PineappleQueen
Community Member
2 months ago

Yes! I have a friend who is a boy, and almost everyone who sees us hanging out is all like, oh there totally dating. It’s annoying and it’s also a way that rumors are started. If we could normalize being friends with the opposite gender, it would seriously prevent a lot of rumors too

Natalie Spitz
Community Member
2 months ago

And then guys call it being friend zoned when you want to stay their friend. She doesn’t owe you anything for being nice.

somnomania
Community Member
2 months ago

i feel so privileged now, and did at the time as well; in my teens i had a pretty close group of friends, boys and girls, we played d&d and did all sorts of other stuff together (we were all homeschooled, but not the useless hyper-religious kind). one of the guys was a hugger, fullbody contact good strong hugs for everyone he knew, regardless of gender. it was the first time i'd ever encountered a boy who acted like that, and it was so refreshing. he was one of the people i've known who let me keep my faith in boy/girl close friendships actually working.

Niamh Gallagher Kerr
Community Member
2 months ago

While I have experienced this I also have a fantastic male friends and my husband also has female friends and there's definitely nothing sexual between us. The only thing that could be classed as sexual is hugs but we all work hospitality and huggers.

NWB
Community Member
2 months ago

I have had to change friendships because of this, I knew him first and for longer...his new women did not like it, I constantly felt watched and scared. I hate her for that.

Seth Linn
Community Member
2 months ago

This always worries me because I’m stupid and can’t read signs. I always just end up asking bluntly if I’m reading the situation correctly or not. I’ve lost friends because they felt uncomfortable, lost romantic possibilities because I wasn’t aggressive enough but hey, better than making a unwelcome move on someone.

What ninjas can't
Community Member
2 months ago

I hate this so much. Because if you say immediately that you have a boyfriend or that you are just looking for friendship you are thinking too high of yourself but when you don't you have been leading them on and gets called a tease, a sl*t, a wh*re etc. And its sad that guys get so little affection that they mistake kindness with love or lust, but it isnt the womans fault. And a normal guy can take a "not intrested in more than friendship" and say "okey, I'm not either"/"okey well I am" and accept that without any arguing or answer the "i have a boyfriend" with just "okey" and either leave the woman alone or start a friendship. We say this often to protect ourselves from assholes who are going to lash out on us if we dont want to sleep with them. And no, not every guy is like this but if you feel hit and gets offended then you probably are one of them.

Donkey boi
Community Member
2 months ago

I didn't even know this was a problem until one of my friends (The morning after crashing on the sofa together following a drunken night out) said, 'Know what I love about you? You didn't try to sleep with me just because we were hugging'. It's was a real WTF moment.

Fanstacia D
Community Member
2 months ago

Or being great friends with a guy and everyone pressuring you to date him.

zovjraar
Community Member
2 months ago

i have always liked guys over chicks as friends, so entering my teenage years and wanting to be friends with guys was a big wake up call for me.

Natalie KS
Community Member
2 months ago

Stop making friends with poultry then!

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Arenite
Community Member
2 months ago

I’ve had mostly male friends. Even though we may have been friends for years, met each other’s boy/girl friends, every one has had to try at some point. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t bother to be friends with any male.

Tabby_Sohee
Community Member
2 months ago

Honestly, I’m a very open and feely person, I often like to hug someone goodbye, wrap my arm around their shoulders, take someone’s elbow and lead them somewhere (of course, this was before COVID). When I unconsciously do that to one of my male friends, the entire school now thinks I’m in love with them. Can’t I touch my friend’s shoulder without being called a w****? I’m a high schooler.

Debra Phillips
Community Member
2 months ago

LOL I asked a guy if he wanted to join our dungeons and dragons group with 2 other people from the group with me and the guy declined at first thinking i was hitting on him. When the male player with me asked why he didn't want to join after talking about looking for a gaming group he blushed like his face was on fire and said 'i thought she was ... you know. trying to get me to come to her house.' ... dude. just no.

Amy Pattie
Community Member
2 months ago

Feign being gay or secret boyfriend until marriage. I mean, I’m not saying this solution isn’t worse than the problem but I AM saying it’d work.

InfectedVoice
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

I have some female friends but I prefer the company of my male friends, I guess I'm a mans-man, not for any particular reason certainly not anything bad but that's the way it is.

Chris Challis
Community Member
2 months ago

men are ruled by their smaller heads, so be it lol!

Clearly sunny
Community Member
2 months ago

Yep. Never had a male friend because they always end up wanting sex.

Ross Keim
Community Member
2 months ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

So don’t have male friends, or have gay male friends, women and men are biologically tuned to find a mate, men don’t have female friends why do women feel the need to find male friends?

Kt
Community Member
2 months ago

'Men dont have female friends'....what world do you live in?!

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Jessica Leigh
Community Member
2 months ago

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Men aren’t women. Men don’t get mushy with their friends. Guys go out and do stuff together. They don’t around and drink wine and pour out their feelings to each other for hours. If a guy is willing to sit there and listen to you whine about Lauren at work who does nothing but sit on her phone all day and talk to her BF, he is either gay or wants to be intimate with you. So, as a woman, you need to recognize this. Friend zoning men is torture for them. If you have no interest in them, make it clear to them off the bat. Don’t flirt or play games with them. That’s no right either.

Kt
Community Member
2 months ago

Do you believe straight men and women cant have platonic relationships?

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Omar Sobhi
Community Member
2 months ago

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"male friends" is a faulty concept on it's own btw, men and women can't be just "friends", this is not how cross sex relationships work...

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#19

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms Women's clothing being paper thin and without pockets.

ChunkyStains , Artem Beliaikin Report

Cleo Carter
Community Member
2 months ago

And cropped everything

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#20

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms Not getting the help from doctors that we need to survive. A woman in my country died from cancer that was related to her undiagnosed endometriosis, but for years doctors just thought they were 'bad periods'.

Morticia_Black , Ivan Samkov Report

Ozacoter
Community Member
2 months ago

This. It took me 10 years to get my endometriosis and adenomyosis diagnosed and another one to get surgery (and it went terrible due to a sexist doctor). By the time I got treated the endo wasnso bad that it was basically too late to help. I cannot work or have a normal life anymore because of all the doctors that ignored me or put my fertility as a bigger priority than my health

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#21

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms The expectation that women should wear makeup to be seen as professionals.

Aging isn’t allowed. It is the norm for men to grow older and look it but women are constantly pressured to look young.

wewereonabreakkkk , Ekaterina Bolovtsova Report

PandaPanda
Community Member
2 months ago

And the young women are pressured to look provocative.

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#22

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms Being firm often leads to a woman being branded as demanding.

micumpleanoseshoy , Tima Miroshnichenko Report

Zophra
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Or a called a bitch. The double-standard is very obvious especially in management positions.

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#23

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms Women having to come up with safe and clever ways to reject a man’s advances instead of being able to give a simple no and have it being respected.

makeshiftmarty , Andrea Piacquadio Report

Lisa Whipp Myhre
Community Member
2 months ago

Being a firmly committed single woman, sometimes I dread having to explain the whole "yes, I'm single, no, I'm not looking for a mate" conversation. I used to lie and say I was married or had a boyfriend, but many times they took it as a challenge.

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#24

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms Catcalling, it's gross and degrading.

Electrical-Nothing25 , Keira Burton Report

Eva the Egg
Community Member
2 months ago

I absolutely hate this. Not only that it makes us extremely self conscious, it is also considered sexual harassment.

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#25

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms “You were probably asking for it.”

numerumnovemamo , mentatdgt Report

Eva the Egg
Community Member
2 months ago

Whoever says this can stfu

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#26

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms Being with giant manbabies who do not know how to act like adults.

Ladies it is not normal to be with someone who argues with you, never cleans up after himself and expects you to do all of the housework.

Csherman92 , Diva Plavalaguna Report

Doggo Froggo
Community Member
2 months ago

Well we don't have to stay with them, at least. And we can teach them otherwise if they are willing to learn. Sad we have to think like that though.

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#27

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms Not being able to walk down the street at night with headphones on without carrying your keys as a weapon.

An-Aussie-Abroad , Andrea Piacquadio Report

Cleo Carter
Community Member
2 months ago

Not being able to walk down the street at night ALONE without carrying your keys as a weapon

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#28

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms 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 KD, ramen, and rice, then it becomes a luxury.

livercookies , Polina Zimmerman Report

El muerto
Community Member
2 months ago

should be free...or at least very subsidized...guess you'll need free health care for that

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#29

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms The fact that women die of reproductive cancers more often than men because our pain and symptoms aren't taken seriously. So many health 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.

TheThoughtfulLemon , Sharon McCutcheon Report

PandaPanda
Community Member
2 months ago

It. Is. Infuriating. Periods are not a way to shove aside real problems. If something is wrong, it is the doctors job to take it seriously. No. Matter. What.

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#30

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms Telling me to smile when I don't f**king want to. But when I was younger I did out of discomfort.

anonymous , Andrea Piacquadio Report

A Cat Named Dragon
Community Member
2 months ago

Agreed, this is just so weird. You’re so pretty when you smile...

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#31

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms One thing I have dreaded since beginning. Like it was the first thing that caught my eye as a sign of normalised discrimination, was.. Whenever a guest arrived at my place. I or my sister was supposed to make tea or prepare some snacks. But my brothers played outside. I hated it so much.

paw__ , Gary Barnes Report

White Paper Tsuru
Community Member
2 months ago

Same. I hate the whole 'girls in the kitchen' expectation. I'm in there so my mother isn't doing all the work, but f**k it. My dad should know how to make something in the kitchen other than alcoholic beverages for hosting.

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#32

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms 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.

professional_joe , Danielle Report

Eva the Egg
Community Member
2 months ago

Exactly.

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#33

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms Birth control. Side effects and horrible horrible possible risks

caitiemaybugu , cottonbro Report

River Webb
Community Member
2 months ago

all cause a guy can't manage to wear a tiny piece of rubber

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#34

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms I mean, the complete double standards we have for women as mothers as opposed to fathers. There’s a lot to be said but for example, we tell moms it’s normal to sacrifice damn near you’re whole entire body/career/hobbies/life for the kids but men are somehow not held to the same standard? Idk if I’m explaining well, I’m a tired mom.

MittenKitten1992 , Kristina Paukshtite Report

CowboyHank
Community Member
2 months ago

I must be missing something. Because when I became a father I sacrificed everything for my children. Anything that I wanted to pursue that didn't involve a little girl was off the table.

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#35

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms 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.

mermaid_with_pants , Tim Samuel Report

Beatrice Multhaupt
Community Member
2 months ago

Being lectured in public by a total stranger for my ''sloppy'' clothes while I was on my way to work on a stage set.

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#36

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms The constant picking apart of womens appearance by basically everyone and holding women to insane beauty standards (extensions, false lashes, makeup, drawn on eyebrows, contouring tricks to change your face, dye your hair, dress sexy, don't dress too sexy, wax your privates, dye your hair, stay in shape, have a big butt, tiny waist, push up bras, get fake nails, on and on and freakin on)

Snoo55011 , Andres Ayrton Report

Ziva Kravdahl
Community Member
2 months ago

When I was teenager everyone was impressed with my huge eyelashes ("Are they real?!"). Now every girl has bigger fake lashes so it's not a big deal :(

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#37

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms Being polite to creepy men. There are so many things that can go wrong and I've read too many stories of women being killed for not taking a guy's number

TheSilverCrystal , cottonbro Report

Kirsten Kerkhof
Community Member
2 months ago

Basically you're f*cked if a creep takes an interest in you. If you say no, you should've given him a chance to show he was nice (so you had it coming). If you say yes, you accepted his advances and you should've known he was a threat (so you had it coming).

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#38

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms People speaking over them, and/or the inherent ‘brush off’ that “if a woman says it it needs to be verified somehow.”

elephantasmos , Polina Zimmerman Report

Celtic Pirate Queen
Community Member
2 months ago

"Man-splaining". My former boss tried to explain the industry specific accounting program I HAD CREATED to me. I was like, "Oh, really? OK. Show me how to run this report". And of course he said he didn't know how. I ran him through another few hurdles, just to make my point. And after conceding that he really didn't know how to do anything, I was like , "Really? Because I do. Wanna know why? I wrote the f*****g program".

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#39

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms The way pregnancy is treated like an illness. I feel like if men had to go through childbirth there would be more medical advancements in the field. Also, women’s childbirth injuries are often never treated seriously because the child is prioritized. Many never fully recover.

purplesky23 , Kei Scampa Report

Leo Domitrix
Community Member
2 months ago

This is definitely a problem that varies across nations/regions. The biggest injury issues still ignored (IMHO) are pelvic floor damage that results in bladder/bowel dysfunction and pain,if not spinal nerve compression issues.

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#40

Women-Share-Messed-Up-Society-Norms I’m in the UK, I love running but I pretty much can’t train past a few months as when my fiancé is home at 4:30pm it’s dark, I can’t run on our old railway path when it’s dark! It’s annoying but normal to me now, but for a man? Yep run on your own at 5pm no worries

UnderstandingCheap57 , Alex McCarthy Report

Nat Hedley
Community Member
2 months ago

Handy hint: get some workout gear clearly branded with a martial arts club. Even better, also go to the martial arts club. There was a wonderful story in the UK news a few years back of a young woman attacked by what turned out to be a serial rapist as she went through a (park, I think? It was a while back so can't remember the details). She was a trained martial artist and beat the s**t out of him. This is one negative aspect of being female we can change.

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