5 Brutal Things Every Woman Has To Unlearn At Some Point In Her Life

Being born female comes with a lot of weird, messed up "lessons" imparted to you by society.

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Has anyone ever noticed how many stupid things people teach kids growing up?

While I could (and probably will) wax poetic about the messed-up things we tell boys growing up, today I’m going to focus on the mindf*ck that is growing up as a female.

Our society loves to prime girls for abuse.

Or at least, the section of society I grew up in loved to do that. Heck, people at my old college relished the opportunity to tell me that it was my fault I got raped.


Part of me being able to become healthier in the past couple of years is realizing that I was fed lies throughout most of my childhood and young adult years. These are the biggest ones I had to unlearn.

Here are 5 brutal things every woman has to unlearn at some point in her life:

1. Women are only valuable if they are hot and don’t sleep with many men

Admittedly, I knew this was wrong by the time I was 18. Partially. I still thought my value hinged on my looks and being able to get/keep a man at that time. I tried everything to show how good of a wife I’d be.


Oddly enough, no one actually really wanted to marry me until I met my husband at 30. By that time, I had slept with hundreds of people and clocked in at over 200 pounds.

As it turns out, most guys who think this way bring nothing to the table and have no interest in being a long-term couple.

Or rather, I’ve learned that they are the first to bail when things get hard or when a woman gets a wrinkle.

Oh, and for the record, having sex doesn’t stretch out a vagina. As it turns out, the vagina can snap back after childbirth. Guys shouldn’t flatter themselves. It's purity crap.

And yet, we don’t teach women to ignore men who only care about looks. We don’t tell women that their personalities matter or that sex doesn’t defile them.


We basically tell them that women should look good, but pretend they don’t know they look good, all while denying themselves pleasure. It’s time to unlearn this!

RELATED: It Took Me Years To Realize Trying Not To "Be Like Other Girls" Isn't Cool — It's Misogynistic

2. Women should be nice

Every time I’ve heard this advice, it’s given as a suggestion that women appease a guy by either sleeping with him or as a way to get her to ignore her boundaries.

Being polite is good, but what everyone forgets about this is that manners only work when it’s mutually beneficial.

If someone keeps being a jerk to you, manners aren’t going to do anything aside from encouraging them to continue their behavior.


Moreover, if a person’s being predatory towards you, they often will encourage you to "be nice." Nice can get you killed. Being a loud, assertive woman keeps you safe.

Every single time I almost ended up on a milk carton or had the crap beaten out of me by an ex, it was because I decided to "be nice" and be the bigger person.

No thank you, I will not be nice — and neither should you.

3. Men want a submissive woman

They really don’t.

Do you remember that scene in Coming to America, when Eddie Murphy’s character meets the woman his parents trained to be his queen? Anything he said, she agreed with. Everything he told her to do, including bark like a dog, she did.


Do you remember what his reaction was? He was disgusted by her.

The truth is, submission is not something men respect. When I tried to be the good, submissive wifey type, I was taken advantage of. I was beaten, verbally abused, and then told it was my fault.

Men don’t respect submission, and they don’t ever really love women they don’t respect. They respect women with healthy boundaries — even if they hate them for having those boundaries.

While many guys may hate a girl who refuses to tolerate crap, you cannot have real love without respect.

In other words, refusing to tolerate crap and having a spine is the most reliable way to stay safe, find someone who loves you and also keep your sanity intact. Doormatting, on the other hand, will get you used and abused…or just ignored.


RELATED: What It Means To Have Internalized Misogyny & 3 Ways To Unlearn It

4. A good woman can change a horrible man

I think every Millennial woman I know has had this moment when they watched Beauty and the Beast and got that message. And it probably happened with other movies, too. But it was most noticeable here.

Beast was an abusive jerk who literally kidnapped her…and then their relationship got better because Belle was just *so* nice to him.

See? You can calm an abusive Beast and turn him into a Prince Charming just by loving him.

Nope. Nope, no, no, no. Women are not rehab centers for angry, control-hungry, broken men. If the shoe was on the other foot, these same guys would trash the woman. Abusers don’t change for the better.


Belle should have left him and praised Gaston for saving her. Gaston was misogynistic, too, but at least he wasn’t terrorizing her.

RELATED: Why It's Time For Us, As Women, To Stop Calling Ourselves 'Crazy'

5. Women should pick better men if they didn’t want to be abused

Did you ever notice how women get blamed for every single shortcoming that happens in a relationship?


I sure did. It’s kind of hard not to notice after all the crappy relationships I’ve been in — none of which started crappy, mind you.

  • "He didn’t commit? He’s young, what did you expect?"
  • "He cheated on you? Have you been sleeping with him enough? Maybe lose a little weight?"
  • "He cheated on you? Duh, all [people from scene] cheat. What were you expecting?"
  • "You should choose better guys." (What do you think women are TRYING to do? They can’t magically know who’s going to be abusive or dangerous or not. They ain’t Miss Cleo!)
  • "You should give him a chance." (So when women say no to a guy, they’re wrong and should give him a chance, but if they say yes, they’re told they should pick better guys. Pick a lane, people!)

If you still feel like you are to blame for choosing the wrong guys, you need to unlearn the sick blame-shifting that our society does to women.

Abuse victims are never at fault for the actions of their abuser. Read that again.

If the people around you are trying to shift blame onto you, it may be time to walk away from them.


It may not be easy, but learning to love your own company and find healthier people is always going to be more rewarding than staying with the people who make you feel worse.

RELATED: What Toxic Masculinity Actually Means & Its Subtle But Damaging Effects On Society

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others.