On a Dec. 18 Reddit thread, users answered the question “what’s something all girls/women should know?” Answers ranged from practical advice (“Be educated about your body”) to life mantras (“Don’t just aim to be pretty”) and reassurances (“It’s okay to enjoy porn”).
Here are 12 of our favorite responses:
1. Few things are more important than your health. Schedule regular physicals and gyno appointments. Learn how to do a breast exam. And never be afraid to talk to a doctor if you suspect something is wrong, no matter how embarrassing — as merulian wrote, “they’ve seen it all before and they will not be alarmed.”
2. You don’t have to want kids. That’s not to say that knowing you do want children is bad — of course, it’s not. But opting out of motherhood is also a completely valid choice, no matter how much flak you may get for it from your family and friends. As memory-eater wrote:
You can have any reason you like for not wanting kids — a desire to keep your life for yourself, a dislike of children, a fear of pregnancy. There is an intense pressure for women to procreate, and most people out there aren’t going to understand the decision. F*ck ’em. It’s your life, and your womb. No one can predict what you will or will not regret.
3. Always pee after sex. This will get rid of bacteria that may have accumulated in your urethra, lessening the chance that you’ll contract a urinary tract infection (UTI). And if you do have a UTI, heed miss-adler‘s advice: “If you have a UTI and your back starts to hurt really bad and you become feverish… it’s ER time.”
4. Make sure your bra actually fits. Get measured at your local department store or Victoria’s Secret for a bra that gives you, astheodoramarie says, “No more digging pains, no more discomfort. Only glorious curves.” It’s also a good idea to get re-measured every couple of years, especially if your body shape has changed.
5. Cold water gets blood out of fabric, and hot water sets blood to stain. Thanks to 9703259573 for educating us on this: “If you get blood on clothing, rinse it with cold water ASAP. Then you can wash it as usual.”
6. Your body is not weird. We think HeeeyAssbutt said it best:
Boobs, bellies, legs, feet, ears, noses, EVERYTHING comes in all different sizes, shapes, and levels of hairiness. Quit judging yourself and others on the size of a thigh gap, how much belly comes out over the top of jeans, and how many damn chins someone has.
7. It’s okay to enjoy, want and pursue sex. Maxxters advises: “Be comfortable with your sexuality and know there’s nothing wrong with having fantasies and desires and acting out on them in safe, consensual ways.”
8. You don’t need to apologize for everything. As ohmycat points out, “It’s only two words but saying it 10 times a day every day will start to affect how you view yourself and others around you. ”
9. Basic home and car maintenance. Why rely on someone else to help you with simple tasks? According to vogueadishu, “You should always have a basic tool set in your house and know how to use [it], and the same with the trunk of your car.”
10. Be true to yourself. We couldn’t have put it better thanAlexispinpgh: “Be exactly as funny, independent, smart, sexy, annoying, complicated, and talkative as you are. Someone will appreciate it and they’re the ones you want to appreciate you anyway.”
11. It’s better to be alone than with the wrong partner. Funchy‘s advice to heterosexual women can be applied to almost any romantic relationship: “You cannot and should not try to change the other person. If you can’t accept and love him as he is, he’s not right for you. If he doesn’t make you happy as he is, move on.”
12. “Feminist” is not a dirty word, contrary to what some celebritieswould have you believe. We agree with zombiekittiez on this one: “If something isn’t fair or isn’t right, you don’t have to keep quiet and act like a ‘lady.’ You are a person before you are a woman.”
What else should every woman and girl know? Leave a comment, or Tweet@HuffPostWomen!