Ask A Feminist

How to be a nasty woman: Stylist's 9 step guide

Posted by
Harriet Hall
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Ask A Feminist is our regular column tackling issues on sexism and womanhood in a real-life, 21st century context. This week, Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, manterrupted Hillary Clinton, mid sentence, to refer to her as "such a nasty woman". Here, Ask a Feminist editor Harriet Hall, has composed a fool-proof, 9-step guide to becoming a true 'nasty woman' yourself, to avoid any future confusion. 

They say well-behaved women seldom make history.

Which is probably true, when you consider that one hella nasty woman might be on the verge of smashing the most impenetrable glass ceiling in the world, and make it into the Oval Office.



Being called a 'nasty woman' or a 'nag' - even a ‘bloody difficult woman’ (that Theresa May – classic) - is something most women are likely to experience in their lifetimes.

This time, Hillary Clinton had her turn. Speaking during the third and final debate against Donald Trump in Las Vegas, Clinton put forth her proposal to raise taxes for higher earners and quipped that Trump had previously avoided paying his. Mid-sentence, Trump leaned into his mic to mutter “such a nasty woman”.

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Having watched Clinton put up with Trump manterrupting her at every turn, creepily following her around the second debate and dragging up dirt on her marriage, while dealing with it all with panache, we think we’d rather like to be 'nasty women', too.

So, without no further ado, here is Stylist’s official guide on how to be a 'nasty woman'. It all revolves around the calling-out of bullshit, and stepping out of your woman box. Beware.

1) Don’t let men grab you by the pussy

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To be truly 'nasty', you’ll have to reject any and all unwanted sexual advances. Proper 'good girls' let these things go, but it takes a really 'nasty' woman to prevent men from grabbing her genitals. For full 'nasty' points, you’ll need to use the word ‘no’, or silently ignore someone as they shout lewd comments at you as you walk to the corner shop. 

2) Call people out on sexist comments

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'Good girls' smile and maybe even laugh when people make sexist comments or hold conversations 'locker room-style'. In fact, they give the impression that lewd remarks are welcome, that’s what 'good girls' do. But someone who is a real 'nasty' piece of work might say something outrageous like ‘please don’t reference menses when I ask you for the figures on the last financial year.’ 

3) Be successful

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Nothing is 'nastier' in a woman than success. Any woman who thinks she deserves a seat around the boardroom table is, quite frankly, 'horrid'. If you really want to be a ballbreaker, apply for that job that you’re well over qualified for. Ambition in a woman is nauseating.

4) Demand equal pay

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It is 'right and proper' for a woman to work for the same amount of hours as a man, doing the same job, and accept only 18% of his salary, then go home and look after the kids, and then get asked ‘how she does it’ all the time, while ironing her husband’s shirts. If you want to be really 'nasty' – and this is really toeing the line of acceptability – you’ll need to ask your employer to be paid the same as Kevin from the adjacent cubicle, who you’re pretty sure you just saw playing Football Manager at his desk. If you fail, you can always pull out your Woman Card.

5) Wear trousers

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We don’t mean metaphorically. Of course, a man should always wear the trousers in any relationship – a woman doing so would be beyond the realms of 'nasty'. We mean literally, wear a pair of trousers. All 'nasty women' do – Angela Merkel, Theresa May, Michelle Obama – even that 'nasty' Hillary Clinton does. We recommend a pair just wide enough to conceal that you might actually be a woman underneath them. 

6) Have opinions

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You don’t need to have strong opinions to be a 'nasty woman'. Any opinion will do. ‘Do you like pizza?’ ‘Sure’ – textbook 'nastiness'. If you ever have an opinion that conflicts with the opinion of a member of the male species – even if said male is a dog – your 'nastiness' levels will soar sky high. 

7) Demand agency over your reproductive rights

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When faced with an unwanted or traumatic pregnancy and upon being told she is morally corrupt and disgusting for considering terminating said pregnancy, a 'good girl' would think ‘yes, I shall keep it and ruin both our lives – much better.’ A 'nasty woman' would say: ‘I shall decide what will and won’t happen in my own womb.’ To be truly 'nasty', consider even standing up in a political sphere and fighting for women around the world to also be able to control their own bodies.

8) Gracefully accept your mistakes

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This one’s a bit of a minefield. It’s hard to tell what’s considered 'nasty' when it comes to humility. But, we think a woman is 'nasty' if she either denies or accepts when she has done wrong. For those wanting to be considered 'good', we recommend never putting a foot out of line. It’s a difficult feat for a human being not a robot, but it must be possible. We’ve seen nuns in monasteries succeed by not speaking, or making eye contact with anyone. 

9) Make history

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Finally, and most importantly. You must make history. Fight for change, be the first woman to achieve something thousands of years after men have done the same, and generally turn your nose up at flagrant misogyny. Only then will you truly be a 'nasty woman'.