In a recent BuzzFeed Community discussion, women opened up about the multitude of harmful habits and misconceptions they've been encouraged to adopt, and the list is as enlightening as it is concerning. From the pressure to follow unhealthily low-calorie diets to the stigmatization of natural body processes, the conversation sheds light on the unrealistic and often damaging standards women are expected to navigate.
Here are a few of the habits, products, and advice women say have been pushed on them that are actually awful:
- "Following a 1,200 calorie per day diet if you want to lose weight. This is treated as gospel when in reality it's an outdated piece of advice and not nutritionally sound. A fully grown human needs more food than that to function."
- "This one is for the millennials: 'If you're feeling hungry, just drink water.'"
- "'Suck in your stomach all the time to keep the muscles tight and make your waist smaller.' That actually messes up core muscles and causes your ribs to expand which makes your waist line wider."
- "Saying 'thank you' when people say you've lost weight, especially after being sick/unwell."
- "Wearing makeup to appear 'professional.' Men don't have to wear makeup to be professional, so why [do] we let other women tell us that we look unprofessional without it?"
- "Tanning! Getting a 'base tan' before going on vacation. Seems so stupid to me now, but it was so widely accepted."
- "Harsh exfoliants and astringents for oily skin. I used these from my mid-teens to mid-20s until an esthetician told me I was forcing my face to produce even more oil by stripping it all away."
- "Scented tampons, tight clothing, 'detox' drinks, appetite suppressants, cranberry juice when you have a UTI, shaving/waxing/lasering yourself bald, and more..."
- "I remember a friend's mom saying to 'scrub your nipples with a rough washcloth to get them ready for breastfeeding' while pregnant. All it did was hurt, and I wasn't able to breastfeed anyway..."
- "Growing up, my aunts would tell me to be on a diet (because I was fatter than my sister), which included not eating anything in the nighttime. Not very effective."
- "Any scented feminine wash, that we need to shave all of the hair off of our bodies, holding in gas, washing your hair every day, etc. forever..."
- "I can’t remember when I started wearing bras, but I would sleep with them every day because there was a belief that if I didn’t wear one 24/7, my breasts would droop/sag/ flatten/ etc. that would not look nice. I learned four years ago that it was a lie."
- "Adjusting yourself in any way to make a man feel better about themselves: dumbing yourself down, not speaking up, not standing up for what's right. I'm not gonna do that sh*t anymore."
- "Being friendly to men who make you uncomfortable. If they're not violent, they will think it's ok. If they are, they will think you won't fight back/protect yourself."