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The definitive list of things women shouldn’t say to one another

Women live in a world where they are instructed to smile or are questioned about their appearance by men on an almost daily basis. But other women can sometimes put their foot in their mouth as well, making it awkward and uncomfortable for everyone. We asked our favorite Raging Feminists to tell us the one thing they would never say to another woman.

What is one thing you should never say to another woman?

‘Are you pregnant?’ NEVER. NEVER NEVER NEV. ER!” — Miller Murray Susen

Never, ever, ever, even if you love children and think everyone should experience the joy of procreation, ever, ever, ask a woman if she is planning on having children. Whatever the answer, don’t even dare ask her why she made her choices! Even if you will help raise that child, it is still not a question you should ever even think about asking!” — Patricia Valoy

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My absolute biggest and most dreaded question to come from another woman ever: ‘When are you two going to start having babies?’

Like, first of all, lady standing in front of me at the grocery store, that shit isn’t any of your business. And second of all, there are a lot of things that go into deciding to have a kid or not. It’s a super-big thing. And not something that a lot of people really want to delve into during their banal everyday activities. More importantly, a lot of people don’t have the ability or means to have a child, and questions about it can be deeply upsetting. Like the question ‘When are you due?’ This just really isn’t something you should be asking people. Uterus information will be disclosed whenever the uterus-having person feels like disclosing it. Keep your questions to yourself.” — Seraphina Ferraro

Even though I know all the baggage that goes along with this, it’s still true that saying, ‘I didn’t know you were pregnant!’ has to be one of the more cringe-worthy and potentially awkward things to say and then find out the person is not. Been there, done that.” — Soraya Chemaly

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One thing you should never say to another women is that her feelings and goals about birth and/or infant feeding are silly, wrong or invalid. As a doula, I can’t tell you how many times I hear from my clients that other women tell them that their trauma from their previous births is unfounded or that wanting a happy and fulfilling birth experience is selfish because ‘all that matters is a healthy baby.’ I think a healthy, happy mother is also pretty vital. Same goes for comments like “You know breast is best, right?” or ‘A little formula won’t hurt your baby.’ Pregnancy and motherhood is hard enough — is it so hard to be kind and supportive to people going through these experiences?” — Carrie Murphy

Anything that includes the words ‘You really should… There’s nothing I should do or think or believe. I don’t want it said to me, and I don’t say it to other women.” — Leigh Shulman

I would never compliment a woman on their beauty before their strength, curiosity, or intelligence.” — Nashwa Khan

It’s taken a long time for me to stop saying ‘I know how you feel’ to another woman. A while back, I got into a discussion with someone who pointed out that this shifts the focus of the conversation from the other person onto me. I’m trying to be a better listener, and shifting the conversation onto my own experiences doesn’t help. Now when I want to interject, I try to use language that is supportive and keeps the focus on the speaker and my empathy for her situation rather than sharing my own experience.” —Rachael Berkey

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‘Have you lost weight?’ Especially if it’s supposed to be a compliment, thus insinuating that she looked terrible before. But mostly, just don’t comment on a woman’s weight period. Why do you care?” — April Salazar

I’m someone who has done makeup professionally. I was a dance major in college. I was raised with the message, ‘If you’re nice and pretty, some nice boy will marry you.’ (Note: This has NOT worked out; don’t try it.) So it’s really hard for me not to critique what people are doing in a ‘trying to be helpful’ way… Everyone’s a work in progress. I’m working on NOT making statements that start with, ‘You’d look great if you…’ You know what? You probably look f***ing awesome already, and if you don’t? Who cares? That’s not your job. To quote Carrie Fisher, ‘[Your] body is a brain bag…’ You go on with your bad self. Do amazing things with your brain. And your heart. That’s what matters.” — Shaindel Beers

No, no, I know more about your lived experience. I’ll speak FOR you!” — Alex Blank Millard

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