“…but f**k her from behind and you’re looking down at a 12-year-old mulatto boy. That’s not something we signed up for. Having a sexual encounter you didn’t sign up for is the textbook definition of rape.” It was Gavin McInnes who wrote about women with short hair and how a sexual activity with such women by straight men (not specified) should be classified as rape. For me, there are few things that can be considered as rape that I would wave off as if it is nothing, but this is one of them. McInnes writes about women and why they should definitely not go for the “pixie cut” ever, really. Unironically considering short hair an action of “checking out of society”, and thinking the only logical reason a woman would go for short hair is a terrible break up, McInnes makes it one of the most misogynistic and ignorant pieces of ‘journalism’ currently circling the web about what women should or should not do.

Though McInnes’ infamous article in the Thought Catalog might be of a more extreme level, there are hundreds of articles showing up on Facebook timelines and twitter feeds about do’s and don’ts for women, written by male and female authors alike. In many of these articles, women are considered to be nothing more than a possible romantic or sexual partner for men. Many of the examples of things that women should or should not do, have to do with daily life, but are encouraged or discouraged because of their effect on romantic relationships. One of the more extreme examples comes from Return of Kings, a pro-masculinity website that have listed the statement: “A woman’s value is mainly determined by her fertility and beauty. A man’s value is mainly determined by his resources, intellect, and character.” Return of Kings made a list of  “20 things women do that should be shamed, not celebrated”, and while shaming women never seems like a great idea, RoK lists things like being fat, divorce, single motherhood, birth control and feminism in their list of no-no’s for the females.

With a buzzfeed-like style of listing points, and titles like “23 things women should stop doing”, a lot of the lists are a lot more innocent, and sometimes even meant to encourage women. After the Sorry not Sorry hype, when everyone found out that women tend to apologise a lot more than men, articles like “27 things women should not apologise for” became amazingly popular. Most of these articles, like the Huffingtonpost’s list that discourages slut-shaming and comparing oneself to other women, have a very feminist and empowering motive, but it has a reversed effect, because telling ‘women’ how to act, is a very sexist thing to do, and brings us back decades, when people thought there was only one way to behave when one is ‘female’.

Apart from that, the articles generally disregard every aspect of a woman’s identity apart from their gender. The blogposts solely concern straight, cisgendered women, looking for a romantic relationship. More often than not, non-white women are not given any attention. They are not specifically excluded, but it is obvious the authors have straight, young, ‘attractive’ white women in mind, and they blindly accept the binary gender system. By assuming all women have female anatomy, are fertile, and have male attention as their sole goal in life, the writers disregard a big part of the female population. Self-proclaimed feminist Kirstie Allsopp told student website the Tab that girls should drop out of university, and get pregnant before they are 27, forgetting the fact that telling women what to do is not exactly a feminist action. Other feminists tell women not to take their husband’s last name, assuming every woman wants to marry.

Not everyone is as extreme in their statements as McInnes who thinks all women belong to one group that should behave in the exact same way, hence taking away a massive part of their individuality and identity. However, while McInnes tells straight women not to cut their hair short because it makes them rapists, others tell women not to wear heels to work. It is the fact that women are regarded to be a group without individuals, and the fact that the whole world feels like they have a right to tell that group what to do with their lives that makes this trend incredibly harmful.