Watch: Jay Smooth requests the complete List of Rules for Women

Jay Smooth is trying to figure out the “complete, up-to-date list everything women are supposed to do and not do so that they qualify for having their humanity respected.”

Anyone able to help the guy out? Actually, automatic updates would be useful for us as well. 


Hey, so I have a quick question. There’s a lot of stuff in the news about women, how women are treated, right now. And I want to contribute and be a part of the conversation, but I’m having trouble keeping track. Does anyone have a complete, up-to-date list everything women are supposed to do and not do so that they qualify for having their humanity respected? Like, ok, I know that if women want to feel safe in public, they’re supposed to “not dress a certain way” and then if they don’t dress a certain way and they still get harassed and assaulted all the time, there are other things that they’re doing or not doing to earn a right to safety, but what are those other things? I’m having trouble keeping track. I know that women are not supposed to sleep around all the time, because then you’re a slut and the reason men hate you, but you’re also not supposed to turn down men’s advances all the time or put them in the “friendzone,” because then you’re a cold-hearted bitch and you’re the reason men hate you. But then what are you supposed to–I don’t understand how that works. And then with a right to privacy, is the rule that if you want a right to privacy, you just don’t have a private life? Or is it that if you don’t want things stolen, then don’t have anything private that people might want to steal? Is it don’t use all of the technology that everyone uses to communicate nowadays…I’m not clear on that. There’s so many things to keep in your head at one time. I want to do my part, as a man, and keep reminding women of the rules, but there’s just so many rules. And we keep changing them and adding more. It’s hard to keep them all in your head. I kinda feel like it would easier if we had a list of rules for men to follow, and we just passed that around amongst ourselves. It kinda feels like it would be less of a hassle. Like, it could be a short list. It could just have one thing on it. It could say: “Hello asshole, women are human beings.” And we could take that and pass it around to each other everyday, and even if we did need more followup on the specifics, that would be so much less paperwork. It seems like a much more streamlined workflow. But I’m sure there’s a reason, we’re not doing that. So if someone could send me the most current, up-to-date list of all the freedoms and aspects of life women are expected to voluntarily opt out of so they have a right to feel safe, and everything else that women are supposed to do and not do so that they qualify for being recognized as a human being. If someone could just send me the current list and a way to subscribe to automatic updates since we keep changing it, I’d be glad to pass that along.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

Read more about Maya

Join the Conversation