"That Sh*t Is A Scam": Women Are Sharing Terrible Habits That Have Been Pushed On Them, And It's Pretty Bad You Guys

Note: This post contains mentions of disordered eating.

Recently, I asked women in the BuzzFeed Community about habits, products, etc. we've been told were good for us but are actually quite harmful, and it's honestly awful how long the list was.

issa rae and yvonne orji looking at each other annoyed

Here are all of the things they said they're tired of seeing:

"poor eating habits"
Amatullah Shaw / BuzzFeed

1."To keep track of the amount of calories that you're eating every day to stay 'healthy.' This is such a harmful mentality that leads to focusing on food and obsessing about what you're eating because you want to make sure you're staying in the limit."

"This is what led to me having disordered eating and probably a lot of shame around food for me, especially when I was in my young 20s when I was doing this."


2."Following a 1,200 calorie per day diet if you want to lose weight. This is treated as gospel when in reality it's an outdated piece of advice and not nutritionally sound. A fully grown human needs more food than that to function. Restricting so severely only damages your metabolism and makes any future attempts to lose weight more difficult."


3."This one is for the millennials: 'If you're feeling hungry, just drink water.'"

a young woman drinking a glass of water


Yoshiyoshi Hirokawa / Getty Images

4."Growing up, my aunts would tell me to be on a diet (because I was fatter than my sister), which included not eating anything in the nighttime. Not very effective."


5."Any fad diets like keto, Atkins, sugar-free, etc. with the sole purpose being to lose weight. not health.


6."Avoiding sugar altogether. Years ago, I was very heavy. I tried denying myself completely and then would binge, especially on sweets. When I learned that moderation is key and having one small dessert every day satisfies the cravings better than eating tons whenever I convinced myself it was a 'cheat day' or 'vacation' or 'a holiday,' I actually started seeing results."

Tina Fey eating cake on SNL

7."To stop eating. Not just from one person, but many, many family members, friends, and strangers are convinced that because I'm fat, I can go for a few days without any food. 1) I'm done trying to lose weight (fight me) and 2) that's wicked not how the human body works. That's how I ended up in the ER."


8."I think almost every woman has done this at least once, but starving themselves before a big event, like a prom or wedding or something. It's SO BAD to do, even just once. Your body goes into shock mode, then once you start eating again, it really fucks up your metabolism."

"We're all taught that it's 'ok' to do, go ahead, drink water, honey, and tabasco sauce and only eat a cube of cheese and a celery stick for a week to fit into that dress! UGH."


"terrible fitness advice"
Amatullah Shaw / BuzzFeed

9."'Suck in your stomach all the time to keep the muscles tight and makes your waist smaller.' That actually messes up core muscles and cause your ribs to expand which makes your waist line wider."

A woman looking at her self in the mirror
Photo By Alex Tihonov / Getty Images

10."Constantly sucking in your stomach and engaging your core! I was told to do this from a young age. I thought it would improve my posture, make my core stronger, and of course get that flat stomach we all were trained to think is ideal. But it can actually destroy your pelvic floor! Your muscles aren't meant to constantly be contracted, and it can cause hypertonic pelvic floor dysfunction. It's called 'hourglass syndrome.'"

"Happened to me and yikes! It's very painful. PSA to all ladies (and anyone who does this!) out there: Please let your bellies relax and hang if they have to. No ideal is worth destroying your body for."


11."Saying 'thank you' when people say you've lost weight, especially after being sick/unwell."


12."That cardio is the 'One True Way' when it comes to losing weight/reducing body fat, and that it should be combined with strict dieting for best results. All that did was screw up my relationship with both exercise and food, and it's taken until my 30s to start healing from that."

three young women running together
"beauty, body, and skincare, tips"
Amatullah Shaw / BuzzFeed

13."Wearing makeup to appear 'professional.' Men don't have to wear makeup to be professional, so why [do] we let other women tell us that we look unprofessional without it? I have never been criticized by a man for not wearing makeup to work, but I have by a woman. And usually, when I see a comment section about makeup, it's older women shaming other women for not wearing it."


14."Wearing a full face of makeup was pressed on to me at a young age. My grandmother would visit and always bring more, or ask me what makeup I needed. It made me feel really ugly. My natural beauty was never spoken about so I assumed I desperately needed that makeup."

"Even with the makeup on, I was never 'beautiful,' just 'acceptable' as a young woman. ... I'm almost 35, and it's only been within the last five years or so that I've felt comfortable going bare-faced."


"Same here, except it’s my mom. Comments ranging from 'you’re not going to town looking like THAT with me' (when I have very little makeup on) to 'don’t you need to put your makeup on?' (asked innocently after I have a full face on)."


"Man, I need to give my mom a big hug. I know this garbage was pushed on her, and I know even at almost 70, she feels like she has to wear makeup everywhere, but I’m eternally grateful that she didn’t push it on me."


"This makes me sad. :( I once worked with a woman who had severe acne and wore no makeup at all, and I found myself marveling at her 'bravery' for not covering it up. And then I thought, 'Why should she cover it up?' Women without makeup look just as beautiful as women with a full face of makeup, and I love to see it. Show that face!!"


15."Wearing foundation. I had TERRIBLE acne around my chin when I was in my late teens. I kept piling on more concealer and foundation to cover it up and was using medicated cream. Finally, I just decided to go completely without makeup for a few weeks and see what happened. I looked like crap for a bit but, magically, it cleared up! It's been 20 years and I have never used foundation again. The scarring calmed down within a year or so. All I use now is under-eye concealer and a little blush, and I rarely ever have skin issues."

a young woman getting her makeup done


Photoalto / Getty Images/PhotoAlto

16."My mom is too kind to actually come out and nag me about it, but I can tell she hates that I wear minimal makeup. She is an amazing boss of a woman who broke the glass ceiling in the business world in the days when women weren't taken seriously unless they wore a skirt suit, full makeup, pantyhose, and three-inch heels, AND she did all that with an abusive deadbeat husband while raising two daughters."

"I respect and love her unconditionally, but I am a much more relaxed individual who doesn't need the same beauty standards in the world I live in. It's the singular thing she will never completely understand about me, but I appreciate that she mostly keeps her own counsel on the matter. I love that woman."


17."I have horrible acne; it started when I was 8 and is still ongoing. I went to a dermatologist when I was 13, and she recommended I get a sunburn to get rid of the active acne and scars. She also told me to not use sunscreen. My mom believed her (because doctors always know best). I'm pale, I have a lot of red pigment in my naturally, the sunburn was BAD. And I still have both the acne and the ugly scars."


18."Tanning! Getting a 'base tan' before going on vacation. Seems so stupid to me now, but it was so widely accepted."

a young woman tanning by the pool
Peopleimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

19."Harsh exfoliants and astringents for oily skin. I used these from my mid-teens to mid-20s until an esthetician told me I was forcing my face to produce even more oil by stripping it all away. In the 35 years since, I only use gentle cleansers and moisturizers."


20."'Manicures help keep your nails healthy.' Nope. The buffing weakens my nails, and they break much more easily after a manicure. I haven’t used fingernail polish in about a decade, and my nails are strong and gorgeous. I usually let them grow 1/4 inch past my fingertips before cutting them off because they slow down my typing. I rarely have breakages."


21."Using all of those specialty face cleansers and extra products. The best thing I ever did for my face was to switch to using Castile soap or a natural body wash with no synthetic fragrances or dyes and natural witch hazel with all the tannins for toner with SPF 30 facial moisturizer. Just doing that cleared up almost all of my acne issues and saves so much time and money. I have had other women ask what I do for such clear skin, and they are always surprised by my answer."

sydney sweeney putting on eye masks on euphoria



22."Being told to 'harden up' my nipples before giving birth. Apparently, some people pinch and rub the nipples to callous them so breastfeeding doesn't hurt. It sounded fishy to me so I did some research, and yeah, that's not necessary. Breastfeeding had its challenges, but I'm glad I didn't make it harder on myself by hurting myself for weeks beforehand."


"I remember a friend's mom saying to 'scrub your nipples with a rough washcloth to get them ready for breastfeeding' while pregnant. All it did was hurt, and I wasn't able to breastfeed anyway..."


"useless products and practices"
Amatullah Shaw / BuzzFeed

23."Scented tampons, tight clothing, 'detox' drinks, appetite suppressants, cranberry juice when you have a UTI, shaving/waxing/lasering yourself bald, and more..."


24."Any scented feminine wash, that we need to shave all of the hair off of our bodies, holding in gas, washing your hair every day, etc. forever..."

erika alexander shaving her upper lip, queen latifah applying lip liner

25."As a baby millennial/ancient Gen Z, I’m so, so grateful it was HAMMERED into me and other cis women/people with uteruses of my age group growing up that 1.) Perfumed products near your sensitive parts are a no-no and 2.) Never, ever, ever, ever wash INSIDE the actual vagina as it’s self cleaning, and putting water or soap up there is only going to cause problems. Marketing is so cruel, and I feel bad for those who didn’t have that information."


26."Anything which has 'detox' on the packaging."


27."Any of those 'PH Balanced' wipes or soaps for your genital area. Like, vaginas are self cleaning. That shit is a scam."

a woman squeezing product out of a bottle


Fiordaliso / Getty Images

28."I can’t remember when I started wearing bras, but I would sleep with them every day because there was a belief that if I didn’t wear one 24/7, my breasts would droop/sag/ flatten/ etc. that would not look nice. I learned four years ago that it was a lie. I have slept uncomfortably, which I had normalized due to that. I now sleep without a bra, and man, I felt like I missed out on that."


29."Having a million clothes, shoes, handbags, etc. My mom and sis are always saying, 'You need a fill-in-the-blank.' Without realizing it, I have long been a 'capsule wardrobe' person. I keep an eye on the trends and trade out a handful of pieces every season, but I try to buy classic items that will last for at least three to four seasons, especially costlier things like shoes, outerwear, and handbags. It saves SO much money."

"My mom can afford it, but my sis has put herself into debt to feed the fashion habit. Me? I'm sitting comfortably and still get compliments on my clothes on a fairly regular basis."


And finally,

"interacting with men"
Amatullah Shaw / BuzzFeed

30."Adjusting yourself in any way to make a man feel better about themselves: dumbing yourself down, not speaking up, not standing up for what's right. I'm not gonna do that shit anymore. I'm always told by men I'm sooo angry. I'm just not gonna lie down and listen to your bollocks. Some men honestly have never had a women speak up to or against them. I love telling them what's what."

Emmy Rossum and Nick Gehlfuss sitting on a train


Showtime Networks Inc. / Courtesy Everett Collection

31."Being friendly to men who make you uncomfortable. If they're not violent, they will think it's ok. If they are, they will think you won't fight back/protect yourself."


Note: Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, The National Alliance for Eating Disorders helpline can be reached at 866-662-1235 in the US. The helpline is run by clinicians and offers emotional support for individuals and their family, as well as referrals for all levels of eating disorder care.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.

Can you relate? Let us know in the comments about other "good" habits that you wish would stop being pushed on to women.