Women List The Subtle Feminist Power Moves They Do To Combat Gender Inequality (28 Posts)


Since the mid-19th century, organized feminist movements in the United States have fought for women's political, economic, and cultural freedom. But as one current TikTok trend shows us, you can fight gender inequality even by yourself, as part of your everyday routine.

It started in January when user Molly Barrie uploaded a video, inviting people to share their "subtle feminist power moves" they do on the regular, and it wasn't long before the clip spread all over the platform. So since International Women's Day is right around the corner, we at Bored Panda thought it would be interesting to check out some of the most popular submissions.


I work in a very male-dominated industry. It is not unusual for top executives to get very disrespectful or raise their voice in a meeting where they’re not getting their way without fail. Every time that happens, I hit them with ‘Oh, I’m just sensing that you’re getting very emotional right now, I think we should all take a five minute break to allow your time to get a hold of your feelings'.

Image credits: thereal.hb


I do this constantly. I’ve been doing it for years. It actually bothers my boyfriend whenever we go out because he doesn’t understand why I do it until I explain it to him. I never move out of the way. I will let a man walk into me before I move because they are so used to just not interrupting their time and just to proceed forward and keep moving until they’re in my line. And I just keep walking. I’ve been shoulder checked. I’ve been everything, but I’m like 'If you’re not moving, I’m not moving'. Haven’t moved for a man in years.

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I don’t believe in cohabitation with men. I have a wonderful long-term partner who is arguably a better person than I am. And we don’t live together and we’ll never live together. And I try to talk about this whenever it comes up because I want women to know that there’s other alternatives. You don’t have to live with men. You don’t. You can have wonderful long-term relationships. There are other options. At this stage in the game I just feel like we all still have too much patriarchal conditioning to have balanced domestic situations. I think it’s still almost pretty much most of the time short end of the stick for women to live with men.

Image credits: theluckyadventures


So I am a tall woman. I’m about 5'10, 5'11ish and if I’m going to be going into a meeting where I know that there’s going to be a man who’s going to try to speak over me or belittle me or throw his weight around, I will purposefully wear the largest heels, like the biggest heels that I have, which make me like 6'2, 6'3 so that I can stand next to them and look down on them and remind them that not only am I a match for you intellectually, but I could step on you.

Image credits: awomanwithnonameShaunna


When I’m cat-called, and I feel safe to do so, I will respond in one of two ways. I’ll either look at my phone and tell them what time it is to make them think I thought they asked me what time it was, or I say ‘sorry, I don’t have any change’ to make them think that I thought that they were asking me for money.

Image credits: shelleyellehs


In group social settings, when a man interrupts a woman, I don’t look at him. I continue to look at the woman he interrupted. Then I interrupt him and say ’Wait, what were you saying?’ to the woman. She always smiles.

Image credits: hannahthawriter


So I got three. So if a man ever interrupts me, I let him finish. Go for it. I don’t want to interrupt you because it’s not polite. And as soon as he finishes, I go ‘So as I was saying’ and just continue because my point was still valid, and I’ll also do this like if another woman is interrupted, I’ll be like ‘So as you were saying’. The next one is - I will not step out of the way of someone. You don’t own this world any more than I do. I’m going to keep walking with shoulders high, eyes forward. If you shoulder check me, that’s on you. I also will not apologize. This last one, this is where the subtlety kind of goes out the window. I handle all of the home projects for our house. My husband is just there to lift heavy stuff and look cute. But there have been a lot of times where we’ve been working with someone, and I will be asking the questions and they will be looking at my husband as if he’s talking. So I’ll just step in front of my husband until I have eye contact and then I’ll keep speaking.

Image credits: sendhelportacos


This isn’t subtle, but I do it regularly. About 10 years ago, I was twenty-two years old and a freshly graduated college student in my very first office job, and my supervisor’s name was Rob. At the time, I was still identifying as a woman. Today I’m trans non-binary, and I know that back then when I was dressing really feminine, like aggressively feminine, it was because I was in denial and I was trying to assert my femininity when I knew deep down, it didn’t fit me. I’ve always been tall, like in the 5'9 range and height is not considered a very feminine trait. And so I was very insecure about my height. And that made it kind of difficult when Rob, very early on in my tenure at this place, came up to me and said ‘Hey, you need to start wearing heels to work’. I was wearing flats because guess what? I walk like a baby giraffe in heels. But I did, as he said, and I got a pair of heels. And at our next meeting, I walked in, toddled in wearing them, and Rob looked me up and Rob looked me down and Rob realized with horror, oh no, the office girl is his height. Almost exactly. Suddenly, I went from being the cute little feminine office girl to, I guess, a physical threat because I was his height. This was a miscalculation on Rob’s part, obviously, but it could not go unchallenged because then, from then on, every time I entered the room, he made sure I was sitting down and he was standing up. If he entered the room when I was standing, he would somehow get me to sit down, offer me a chair, whatever. If I came into his office to talk, he would make me sit down and then he would stand up and sit on the edge of his desk. So he was kind of looming over me. And it was really clear that he was intimidated by my physical presence and did not like the fact that I was that tall. But also he wants to look at the cute office girl in heels. And I thought this was f**king ridiculous. I’m uncomfortable in these shoes. You’re uncomfortable with me in these shoes. And yet here you are, making sure you’re always the dominant physical presence, this is exhausting. What’s wrong with you? I’m proud of twenty-two-year-old me for being able to recognize that something about the situation was wrong, because what twenty-two-year-old me did, I’m still proud of to this day. I marched myself down to the shoe store and I bought the tallest heels I could find that were still workplace appropriate. I mean, I’m talking like a pair of designer heels with a big old platform under the toe and a very tall stiletto heels. Totally workplace appropriate. But Jesus Christ, I was like six three. Rob did not like the fact that I was now even taller than him. Not one bit. So one day I’m at my desk adjusting my shoe and he sidles up, sees me doing it, and that’s his moment, he says ’You know you don’t have to wear those shoes anymore if you don’t want to. You can go back to flats. It’s fine. Just a suggestion, only if you want to. Did I go back to flats, though? Not on your life. The heels stayed, and now I’m actually pretty good at walking in them, thanks to Rob, despite coming out as non-binary, now I know most of the world looks at me and immediately thinks ‘Woman’. And you know what? That’s honestly on them. But what I carry with me from that experience to this day is when I know I’m going to walk into a room and be underestimated, I rock those heels. Suck it, Rob.

Image credits: star_sama13


As a woman bartender, I do have a few of these stored up my sleeve. And one of my favorites is when a man is ordering his beer in like an aggressively manly way, right? Because there’s a difference between 'Hi, can I get a Bud Light?’ And 'yeah, give me a beer and a glass. Whatever. A Bud Light, I don’t put it in a glass. I’ll drink it.’ Oh man, Blah blah. Right? So when that type of guy orders his drink and he’s just really proving he’s a man I love responding with 'oh yeah, cute drink' or 'oh yeah, you’re fancy. Let me grab that for you' or 'oh love, here you go' Or if it’s Bud Light specifically 'oh yes, a rice beer, you got it' It leaves him feeling rattled. I’ll tell you that.

Image credits: meghatiktoksMegha


When I ran a preschool and a child would get sick and a parent would need to be called to come pick up their child, I called the dad, whether it was a two-parent household or co-parenting, whatever it was, I'd always call the father, and their first question was ‘Did you call their mom?’ And I would say either ‘no, I have not. I figured I’d call you first. What would you like to do? How soon can you be here?’ Most of them would get upset, or they were just inconvenienced by the fact that they would have to stop working to come get their child. After I would speak to the dad, I would call the moms and let them know ‘Hey, your child is sick. However, I got a hold of their dad and he's coming to get them.’ And the moms were generally in shock and surprised and I always got thanked because I didn’t interrupt their workday.

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Every time I create a signing session for any of my married couples buying or selling their house, I always make the wife the first signer.

Image credits: mollybarrie


I often claim that men don’t have arms. Hear me out. So I was having a conversation with a co-worker recently and she was talking about how she wanted her son to marry a woman who could cook. And I said ‘why?’ And she said ‘Well, he can’t cook’ And I said ‘Oh my God, does he not have arms?’ And then she was like ‘no, he’s just a man’ And I was like ‘But he has arms’ And then she just had to explain that he was going to depend on a woman to feed him for the rest of his existence with like, two whole arms. So yeah, men don’t have arms.

Image credits: mlerelEmily


I don’t know if this is a feminist power move or not, but it certainly is a great tip. If you are a woman with a lot of male-dominated hobbies or you find yourself having a lot in common with men, you can accidentally interact with really toxic men. But I do have a foolproof method of getting those men to show themselves early on when you’re getting to know him. If he points out that you guys have a lot in common say ‘Yeah, we do. What’s your star sign?’ He’ll react one of three ways, he’ll either say ‘Actually, I don’t really know’ and just tell you his birthday. Green flag. If he just answers the question - green flag. If he goes on a rant telling you how stupid that star thing is and he can’t believe someone like you like something like that - boo. Red Flag. A man worth your time will at least have the decency to be respectful to you, even if you don’t have exactly the same hobbies. You don’t even have to like astrology for this to work. It could be any girly thing.

Image credits: mamaquest


Whenever I’m talking to a man and he says something about me that he like, doesn’t like, like something I’m wearing or like something that I do, or it’s something that somebody else does, specifically another woman, if he’s like ‘Oh, I don’t like when girls wear heels’ or ‘I don’t like girls that lift weights’, you know, something like that, I always just look at him and go ‘Oh, that’s OK’. And I always get the weirdest little looks because it’s subtle enough that he doesn’t want to get into an argument about it or defend himself about it. But it’s powerful enough that it makes them think about what he just said. You know what I mean? We’re not doing it for you, but it’s OK.

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As a feminine-presenting person who does not shave their body hair, I get my fair share of unsolicited comments from men about my body. The best response I’ve discovered to them is to just look at them dead in the face and say ‘Did you mean to say that out loud?’ Most of the time they’ll just squirm and not have anything to offer up, but on the rare occasions they do follow up with something stupid, I just let them know how stupid they are by saying ‘Ok, big guy’.

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I used to work in the call center for an airline and when people would call in to do a seat assignment for their families like mom, dad and two kids, I would always put the dad with the two kids because of course, it’s only three seats. And then I would put the mom across the aisle so she could sit by herself and dad would have to look after the kids during the flight.

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This is my favorite thing to do. Whenever someone references a man who was a genius or a top of his field, I’m like ‘OK, I got it. So he’s like the Serena Williams of like bankers or financers’ or whatever the field is. And it’s even better if he’s an athlete.

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See now how in a lot of structures in our society, male is the default setting for a lot of people, like when you say ‘Oh, that doctor, that lawyer, that whatever,’ people just kind of assume that they’re male. When I started realizing this, I was like, ‘That’s stupid, it shouldn’t be the default setting’. Clearly, all of these professions are filled with women, so any time I refer to someone in a place of power or a position of a career, I automatically gender it female. ‘Oh, have I told you about how great my orthodontist is now?’, ’How is she? Do you like her?’

Image credits: emily_tangerineEmily


When a man is not nice to a non-man in my gym, I will follow him around and do his entire workout. But I’ll add 20 to 100 pounds to whatever it is that he’s doing. I’ll also make sure that he knows that he can just leave the bar loaded because I’m probably just going to warm up with that weight, even if I didn’t intend to do the workout on that day. I follow him around and I embarrass him. If he’s rude to one of my homies. Pushes me a little harder than I’m used to. And also just, you know, makes me feel better about myself. So party on.

Image credits: warmaiden_official


So I’ve stated on my TikTok before that I’m an axe throwing instructor and I’ve been doing it for a couple of years, right? My favorite type of men that come to the venue are the ones who bring their dates or their girlfriends to show off that they are so good at doing a manly activity because axe throwing is such a manly activity and that, you know, they have the expectation by default because they’re a man, they’re going to be so good at this, right? But come inside range, who is the one that is getting bull’s eyes? Who is the one that is consistently getting it on the board? Who is the one that listened to every single one of my instructions? That’s right. The Valkyrie, the woman. I love her. Proud of her. Then you got buddy boy on this side who cannot get it on the board for the life of him because he hasn’t listened to any of my instructions because he didn’t acknowledge my presence as an axe throwing instructor. And he’s getting so upset that he is not getting it on the board and that's adding onto the fact that she is getting it on the board more than he is. And I see how fragile the ego is. So what do I do? I make it worse. I make it worse. I no longer acknowledge baby boy over here. I go to the star of the show, the Valkyrie, and I’m giving her all the praises that she deserves, in which I’m like ‘Yes, you are so good at this for your first time. Are you sure this is your first time? I’m so impressed’ and which is all true. And then I’d be like ‘You know, you should totally join our league. I think you’d thrive in it’, which is also true. And I love it. I love it. I loved rubbing it in his face.

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Well, I work in the business world, corporate America specifically, and I have a pretty intense job that I work with a lot of men with. And growing up, my dad always told me, because he worked in corporate America, to have a super firm handshake. I noticed when I was in corporate America that men would always try to shake my hand just a little bit harder than I was. Shaking theirs to kind of assert a little bit of physical dominance over me. So now, whenever I shake a guy’s hand that I’m meeting in a business meeting, a new CEO, whatever it may be, I shake their hand for about two milliseconds, gauge how hard they’re shaking my hand and then I administer just a little bit more pressure than they have asserted upon me. And every single time.

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So let me preface this with my husband who loves me very much, and he’s very proud of the things I’ve accomplished. But because I have a doctorate, the formal way to address anything to us is this. So this is the formal and correct way to address us as Dr. and Mr. And you can see it there on that one too. So anyways, I saved these because I just love it and I’m proud of myself for it. But some of his friends have caught on to it too. And we’ll just get like random Christmas cards or whatever addressed like that too. So it’s all in good fun. He loves it, deep down.

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When I ask a man a question, as soon as he answers me, I say ‘Are you sure?’ And then I google it right in front of them. I address all correspondence to married people as Mrs. and Mr. Cameron Clyne. If a man tells me he’s interested in a topic, I say something really obvious about that topic and then pretend I’m teaching him some kind of state secret. I always frame acknowledgement of a man’s accomplishments through the lens of being surprised he was competent enough to do it. I encroach on men’s personal space in public and pretend I’m oblivious to the situation. If I see a man doing something, I approach him and ask ‘Are you sure you know what you’re doing?’ If a man asks me to do something for him, I ask him to start the task for me, and then I ask him for really obvious help at every stage of the task. And when the task is finished, I act like I’ve done the entire thing myself and I expect praise. When a man tries to interrupt me while I’m busy and make me listen to him, I finish what I’m doing. When I stop, I make eye contact with him and confidently say ‘I was busy, so I wasn’t listening to you’. You’re going to need to repeat yourself. I don’t say ‘thank you’ to compliments from men. I just agree with them. I use the word ‘no’ as a full sentence. And then when a man asks me to justify why I said no, I say that sentence again. When I greet a couple, I make eye contact with and greet the woman first and begin speaking to her. And I will not address the man or make eye contact with him or even acknowledge him unless he’s introduced to me. I won’t offer men help unless they ask and then I act like I don’t want to do it and I get up and help, but I complain the whole time and make the entire task really unpleasant for everybody. When a couple has a baby, I assume the father is going to quit his job to stay home and raise it. I introduce men as so-and-so’s boyfriend, so and so’s son always in relation to the woman that I know closest to them. Never addressed, here’s John. I’m sorry, sir, did the middle of my sentence barge in on the beginning of yours again? In any situation where you would typically say ’Ladies and gentlemen, I just say ‘ladies’, I only give men thoughtless generic gifts, and if they don’t like it, I act like they’re ungrateful. I like to invalidate a man’s feelings by pretending I’m too incompetent to understand them. When men get upset, I tell them that they’re not capable of rational or logical thought while they’re so emotional and to talk to me again when they’re calm and in control of themselves. I tell men that their college degrees don’t actually make them an expert in their field.

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I have repeatedly been asked to take notes during meetings and then distribute them afterwards. It’s not my job. So I started just not taking anything into the meeting, no paper, no pen, no computer, my cell phone, but I would normally keep it in my lap so that people didn’t know I had my cell phone with me. And then if I needed to remember something or if there was like an important date, I could use my phone to mark it. But I didn’t let people see me taking notes on it. And what I realized is that men don’t ask other men to take notes. It was only when I had paper in front of me that somebody would be asked to take notes. Otherwise they seem totally capable of remembering what happens in the meeting.

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The first one is that whenever I’m addressing an envelope to a couple, I always put the woman’s name before the man’s name. The second one is that as an elementary school music teacher, sometimes in the classroom, I’ll need chairs or tables moved. And so I always ask, I need strong students to move this for me, and I always pick 50 percent or more girls, because girls are strong.

Image credits: thehaleybird


I learned this from my older brother, who is a very intimidating attorney and has been my hero for most of my life. We’re taught, especially as women, that when we’re listening to somebody, we do active listening, right? You’re nodding, you’re raising your eyebrows, you’re tilting your head, you’re showing them ‘I’m warm, I’m open, I’m receiving you’. The best medicine for when somebody is talking at you or talking down to you is - stop it. The only thing you have to do to show somebody that you’re listening to them is to just stare them. Dead in the face. They don’t like it, especially with stillness. Don’t like it.

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When somebody tells me a story involving another person, as long as it is in a positive light, I assume ‘she’ is her pronouns. If a friend of mine says ‘I went to the doctor and got some really good news’ I’ll respond with ’Oh, what did she say? Or if somebody says ‘My kid’s principal did this really cool thing at the school the other day’ ‘Oh, that’s awesome. Good for her.’ Always assume ‘she/her’ pronouns, no matter what. As long as it’s positive.

Image credits: bartcook


Whenever I feel like I’m dealing with a man who thinks he’s way cooler than me or smarter than me or whatever, he’s super arrogant, I have two tactics. The first tactic is when they are telling me THE fact, I feel like you know what I mean, every arrogant guy has THE fact. He busts out whether it’s about music or a movie or something that he thinks makes them sound really intelligent and cultured. Whenever they tell me this fact, I just respond with ‘Are you sure about that?’ And when they’re like ’Yeah, I’m sure, like, what do you mean am I sure, why?’ I just say ‘No reason, continue. It’s fine’. The second one is whenever they’re telling me about an idea they have that I can tell makes them feel way smarter than everybody else, I just go ’Do you tell people this? Like… Often?’

Image credits: sydneydavisjrjr

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