1. Assume a woman wants to go out with you because she is single. In fact, not all single women are looking for relationships (surprise!)
2. Ask a woman why she is single/doesn’t have kids/decided to get married so early/has so many kids. First, it’s none of your business; second, these questions make any human being uncomfortable.
3. Say pretty much anything that starts with the words: “A woman shouldn’t…” It’s up for a woman to decide.
4. Teach women how much make-up is enough makeup, and how long their skirts should be, or try to provide any advice regarding what they should do with their bodies. Unless anyone asks for this advice.
5. “Feminism should not exist, because men and women have equal rights nowadays.”
Some quick blurbs from my experience:
- Do not comment on her food/drink's calories: It's plain rude to discuss how many calories are present within a womxn's meal. Also, it is deeply linked to sexism and body shaming, which shouldn't have a place when conversing with someone.
- Don't mock the way she talks: The way she talks shouldn't matter – you should be paying attention to what she is saying. This is one of the rudest things someone can do to anyone, and it's very degrading. However, it's more common for womxn due to the heighten criticism of up-talking.
- Don't tell her she needs make-up to look "nice": Make-up is not the key to success, and she certainly does not need to look "nice" for anyone but herself. Plus, some womxn prefer to go make-up free and feel confident! This shouldn't be a precursor for anyone to look nice. Men don't have the same standard, so stop pitting it against womxn.
As a WOC/ BME my number one, eye-roll inducing question has to be:
- Where are you REALLY from?
This question is annoying. I always tell people I am from London, as that is the truth. But, do not pry into a person's culture and heritage unless they want to share that with you. Do not repeat "but WHERE", because it will signify exoticism which is highly unappreciated by many. Asking a woman, especially as a man, where she "originates" from is fine, if she's happy to tell you. A lot of times, in the dating-scenarios, women find men are interested in them from an orientalist stance: often people are unaware of how offensive they can be so just be careful to be polite.
If you're faced with a woman who's petite, do not make the following statement:
- WOW you're really small! Aren't you?
She definitely knows she's small. Don't make her feel self-conscious about her height as:
a) she can't change that
b) she shouldn't have to
c) who really cares
d) it's plain rude!
It shows you have nothing else to talk about and signals that obvious looks and figure are essential to you. Sure if a friendship is formed, asking or making light comments about height may be tolerated but most people don't enjoy it; especially in public places. Once, on the walk to the station with a colleague he said "wow you're a little pocket-rocket, aren't you" and I almost threw him in front of the train.
When talking to a woman you think is pretty or insatiable:
- What's your mother like?!
It's frustrating when people think a great woman must have been characterised, in such greatness, because of her mother. Maybe the woman just rocks, because she's herself! Attributing self-worth or praise to by-standing cause, like the mother-complex, is something that depreciates a woman's regard for your opinion... quickly. What if she preferred her dad? What if she was raised by wolves? This question, despite it's annoyance, is common and innocent in larger respects. Nativity is society's baby-sitter when it comes to our brain's shortfalls. It's a gendered question that relies on a false-sense of feminine power: you're great but x because another female made you = bingo.
Sure, some women may not care about this question and have a light-hearted approach to these idiomatic convo-starters, but there's a deeper context of offence and personal quality to the answer she may give.