Women are plagued by stereotypes.
Everywhere we turn, someone tries to assign an unfair, sexist meaning to something we did or said. We're stuck in these boxes in which society has placed us -- being attractive means we're stupid; liking romantic comedies means we're vapid -- and we can't get out.
Until we start being viewed in more complex ways, women will forever be associated with a series of limiting stereotypes.
And, thanks to all of these stereotypes, men especially tend to misread a variety of our actions. Sometimes, the misinterpretations are entertaining; sometimes, they're pretty hurtful.
Here is a (definitely non-exhaustive) list of those misinterpretations:
1. If we're being nice, we're flirting.
Men have a tendency to think women who are simply having a polite conversation are romantically interested.
Apparently, this is because men don't want to miss out on opportunities to spread their sperm everywhere, so, evolutionarily, they've just taken to over-estimating how badly women want to have sex with them.
2. If we're being emotional, we're crazy.
No. The next time a man calls us "crazy" for merely expressing a feeling, we may actually go crazy.
3. If we're confident and assertive, we're bitches.
4. If we want to play/talk about video games, we're just trying to impress you.
I blame the Fake Geek Girl meme for this bullsh*t.
I realize men think we're trying to seem like "one of the guys" when we say we're into Skyrim, but our cover would be blown about five seconds into the game when it becomes glaringly obvious we can't play at all.
Why would we embarrass ourselves like that? If we say we want to play, we mean it -- and we'll probably kick your ass.
5. If we just orgasmed, it was real.
It probably wasn't.
6. If we're angry or upset, we're PMSing.
Men are never allowed to accuse us of being on our periods when we're angry or upset. Ever.
7. If we want a commitment with you, we we want to get married right this second.
Just because we want a real relationship doesn't mean we want you to put a ring on it. Don't confuse exclusivity and a little bit of effort with sudden wedding bells.
8. If we dress hot, we're doing it for you.
We like to dress up to feel good about ourselves (I know, isn't that nuts?).
We also do this thing where we dress up to impress other women. There's nothing like a good drunken compliment from a girl in the bar bathroom at midnight to complete a night out.
9. If we wear a tight outfit or a short dress, we want to have sex with you.
10. If we have large boobs, we're promiscuous.
11. If we say "I'm fine," you should prepare for your death sentence.
Sometimes, we really are doing fine, and we're not trying to passive-aggressively communicate anger. I promise.
12. If we like "Fifty Shades of Grey," we're seriously into abusive, troubled men who want us to submit to them.
We're more aware than everyone else in the world that "Fifty Shades" is a goddamn fantasy. It's not supposed to be real.
We want nothing about that franchise to translate into real life. Christian Grey is not a man we'd want to date. We're not actually enamored by the idea of being someone's submissive at all times (unless we're talking about the bedroom here -- in which case, we'll let you know).
13. If we don't shave our legs, we're over our relationship with you.
Don't worry; we still want to look good for you. We probably just forgot today.
14. If we're a tomboy, we don't have feminine interests.
We may play sports with the guys a lot, but that doesn't mean we don't enjoy a "Sex and the City" marathon, or don't like to wear skirts.
Don't shame us for being a girl because, um, that's what we are.
15. If we acknowledge how cute a baby is or how nice an engagement ring is, we're trying to say we want one of those things.
We're seriously not trying to imply our innermost desires for a child or a diamond. We're just giving an opinion.
16. If we're wearing makeup at the gym, we're trying to avoid looking gross for you.
Actually, we came to the gym right from work/school/somewhere else and didn't care enough to wash our makeup off before hitting the treadmill. That's, literally, it.
17. If we want you to pay for dinner, we're high maintenance.
No, we just like to be treated nicely once in awhile.
Hell, if a man takes me on a date, I'll do his laundry. While I firmly believe chivalry is dead, I also believe we can all choose to adhere to gender norms without feeling like we're limiting ourselves.
18. If we gossip about our friend, we're being shady.
We know men aren't fluent in gossip like us, but not all gossip is bad.
Talking about our friend doesn't mean we're being deceitful; we're just trying to sort sh*t out.
19. If we order a cranberry vodka or Cosmopolitan, we're particularly girly.
Why do we assign gender to alcoholic beverages? This is absurd. Don't judge us based on our drink choice. Judge us on who we are.
20. If we order whiskey or an IPA, we're trying to be cool.
21. If we order a salad, we're trying to watch our weight.
Not necessarily. Sometimes, we're just craving a salad. You're not missing any hints to tell us how skinny we are.
22. If we say we don't like being catcalled, we're lying.