Label, Label, Label

How often do you get inappropriate questions or statements for being a woman?

How often do you get inappropriate statements or questions for being a woman? I do. I get a lot as a black woman, not being a mother, and feminist. Sometimes it bothers me, gets me mad, and I ignore them, or I give the right answer. I think I have heard a lot and to be honest, I am tired, so I have chosen to answer according to the context; sometimes ironically, reverse the same question, or simply ignore these thoughts. 

Why do we need to be labelled as woman, mother, not a mother, feminist, Indigenous, Black, Asian, African, Arab, poor, lesbian, immigrants, etc?

Society has labelled women like  individuals who have less power,  are passive, and submissive. As girls, we are taught to sit properly, learn home roles (cook, iron, clean, etc), study professions such as  nursing, secretarial, and others. We are also compelled to be thin, to wear makeup, wear the correct clothes, to comply with our reproductive system, be sensitive, get married, have a family, and live happily ever after.

According, to feminist, Marcela Lagarde, in her theory Perspective of gender and The multidimensionality of the gender and feminism category, “everyday life is structured on the gender norms and the performance of each one, it depends on their behaviour and the management of that normatively. Gender is constructed from duties and prohibitions. The relationship between duty and prohibition is essential to build who we are as women and who men are”.

Simone de Beauvoir in her book titled The Second Sex, pointed it out brilliantly: “We are not born women, we become women.”

The moment we don’t rule under these requirements listed above we are categorized as rebellious, rare, selfish, undesirable, bad, modern, and liberal women. This is called a gender rebellion because as subjects we oppose with will and conscience all that is assigned to us.

Since I am a rebel and tired of these labels, I would like to share with you experiences of my girlfriends and myself regarding this topic.

Not a mother

  • Since I am not sure if I want to be a mother or not, people constantly ask: When are you going to have a child? Remember the train is going to leave you. 
  • Why don’t you want to be a mother? Don’t you like children? 
  •  It’s hard to believe that you don’t have children and that you don’t miss having them?
  • Can you have children? Who has a reproductive problem you or your husband?
  • You will regret it when you are old. Who will take care of you when you are older? 
  • You don’t understand mother issues because you are not one.
  • You don’t love children, you are a bad and selfish woman. 
  • I have a very religious aunt that said: I am praying for you to have a child. 
  • You are not a complete woman because you are not a mother. 
  • After having two miscarriages, most remarks were pitiful,  like don’t give up, have faith. It is terrible because they don’t have an idea regarding how hard the post-miscarriage process can be. Not once have I heard ‘you can always adopt, or life is good without a child’. 
  • When I reached the age of 25, people  constantly asked me as a woman: when are you going to get married? And then after I got married, came the second question: when are you going to have children?
  • A friend once told me: you are unnatural because you don’t have a child. 
  • If you are from a “third world country” and you are not a mother it  is more than rare, since the stereotype is that most women have a lot of children.
  • Years ago, I visited a radiologist before my surgery, because I had a myoma in my womb, so when he saw my medical record, he asked: Are you a nun?

During my conversation with  friends, we realized and coincided with four things. First, all the inappropriate questions and statements mentioned above are asked us, never to the men. Second, as we grow, so do our answers and reactions; at the beginning, we can be aggressive, after we break a rule by saying, for example, I don’t want to be a mother and last, we don’t need to justify anything, we simply ignore the comments. 

Third, unfortunately, most of these questions or statements come from women. Fourth, we need to speak more about these labels.

The writer, Roxane Gay, in her book Bad Feminist, expresses “pregnancy is at once a private and public experience. Public intervention can be fairly mild, more annoying than anything else, people want to touch your swollen belly, offering unsolicited advice about how to raise your child {…} simply because you are pregnant”.

Even though my friends and I are not pregnant, I feel that not being a mother is more public than a private issue.

Jakson David/Pixabay Images


  • I like to wear transparent, short, and sexy clothes so, the comments are: you are provoking men, people will look at you and talk, it is not good for your reputation.
  • I don’t have a brother so I like to have male friends. A decent girl shouldn’t hang out with boys.
  • As a woman, people will usually ask are you married? And, if I answer that I am single, it seems hard to believe.
  • When I tell people that I am an independent woman, that I live by myself and take care of all expenses, they tend to think I am lying, because society stereotype women are dependent on men, if not, something is wrong with you.
  • I often get comments that  Latin American woman is too cheerful, loves to party, has a good taste to dress, and her family always comes first.
  • Once, another woman told me: I would not leave my husband near a woman like you, because I am a Latin woman.
  • • Do you know to cook?
  • For sure, you got that job position or the project grant because your husband knows someone from the company or he wrote it.
  • I worked at a car sale company, so men will say to me: Why are you working here? What do you know about cars? Why are you wearing pearls earring at work? Some clients prefer my men coworkers to attend them rather than me.
  • As a black woman people stereotype the myth that black women are hyper sexual; therefore, they find it difficult to believe that I do not have children, or that I do not want to have sex.
  • One night, I was out dancing with my friends. I was asked, ” how much?”, automatically I was seen as a prostitute because I am a black woman.
  • I have curly hair, “good hair” as they called it, so sometimes people tend to think that am wearing a wig, weave, or that I relaxed it. Is this your hair?
  • • When I decided to embrace my natural hair, people said: Are you getting crazy, it is a shame to have your hair like that, how often do you wash it?
  • You don’t need to go to the beach to tone your skin.
  • Why are you not dating a black man? This question comes from sisters and brothers if you are dating a white man.

Audre Lorde was clear in her book Sister Outsider, “some black women still refuse to recognize that we are also oppressed as women, and that sexual hostility against black women is practiced not only by the white racist society, but implemented within our black communities as well”.


  • Why do you hate men?
  • You are a lesbian and for sure you want to turn me into one as well.
  • I didn’t know that in Latin American they have feminists.
  • You, the feminists, are responsible for  women not wanting to have children nowadays.

After hearing all the above statements, it is clear that assuming the gender perspective requires a great effort and leads to an internal intellectual revolution of a personal nature and a cultural revolution of mentalities.

So please, the next time you think about saying something inappropriate to a woman like me, think twice and ask yourself, would you like someone to ask you the same question?