Small Acts, Big Impact: People Share The Power Of “Microfeminism” In Their Daily Life

When you think of a feminist, it’s easy to picture someone rallying around with bold signs or standing on a stage giving powerful speeches with passion and purpose. While such iconic scenes of activism have a huge impact, feminism isn’t just about big actions – it’s in the little things, too. It’s in our daily conversations, in the way we behave with each other, and in the choices we make.

Recently, many people on TikTok have been sharing tiny changes they have made in their daily lives to make things fairer for women. This new trend started when Ashley Chaney, a producer and host from Los Angeles, shared how she practiced “microfeminisms” in her workplace. Pandas, let’s look at how everyone can fight back against misogyny in their day-to-day lives in small ways.

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Ashley Chaney took to TikTok to share how she practices “microfeminisms” at her workplace

@iamashleychaney Girl’s girl, corporate edition. #microfeminism #feminist #feminism #corporatelife #girlsgirl ♬ original sound – Ashley Chaney

People continued the trend by sharing their acts of microfeminisms


I find in general at work that I’m not interrupted by women in meetings, but I am often interrupted by men. So if I’m interrupted by men, I will then, in turn, interrupt them back, but I will never interrupt another woman when she’s speaking. 

This is one that I am pretty feral for, but I will not stop talking if I’m interrupted by a man. I will keep talking until he becomes so uncomfortable that he stops talking, and then when he finally does stop trying to interrupt me, I will finish what I’m saying. But I’ll usually say something that’s a little bit uncomfortable for him, like, “Oh. Great. Now that you’ve finished interrupting me, I can finish my point before you continue.” I also do this if anyone interrupts another woman that is speaking. I will ask the man to stop interrupting to let her finish her thought before he continues.

Image credits: ellalowgren

Now, if you go to Google and type microfeminisms, you might not find a precise definition. And based on the comment section of the viral video, not many people have heard about the term either. So, what is it?

Feminism itself is about believing in and working towards equality between men and women. It’s not about one gender being better than the other – it’s about everyone having the same rights and opportunities. It’s about making sure that females get treated the same in society, in politics, and at work.


As a woman who works in nuclear weapons policy, geopolitics, international security, my favorite thing to do when men want to debate nuclear deterrence theory with me, is to start by complimenting them on their passion for this issue. And it really throws them off because just the idea of their views being connected to emotion really puzzles them.

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Whenever a man calls me like, sweetie or darling or gorgeous, I will call them THAT back.

Image credits: mamamiaaus

For instance, many people advocate for a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body, including access to contraception and safe, legal abortion. For many years, women have fought for greater representation in leadership roles, including politics. An increase in the number of women in diverse roles at all levels amplifies their voice in the decision-making processes. Other movements like equal pay, maternity rights, and health access work towards creating a more inclusive society.

While significant efforts are being made to address these larger issues, we can’t overlook the smaller, yet equally impactful, instances of discrimination and misogyny against women. From casual remarks to inequalities in the workplace and public spaces, women deal with microaggressions in their day-to-day lives. And pushing back against these small injustices can be seen as microfeminisms.


Not asking women about their relationship status.

I assume women are single by choice in the same way that we assume men are single by choice. I had a grandmother who would grill everyone about their relationship status and it made me cringe, so I vowed that would never ever be me.

Image credits: justonegursha


When a man takes credit for a woman’s idea or a woman’s work, I will always call this out, whether that’s for me or another woman.

It’s not at all unusual for me to turn around and say something along the lines of, “Oh, John, that’s a fantastic point and I think it’s really relevant in this conversation. I also really enjoyed when Mary brought it up earlier.”

Image credits: ellalowgren


If everyone is on the same level in a meeting, I will ask any follow-up meetings that need to be booked to be booked by a member of the team that is male.

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Just because women typically get asked to do it all the time and it’s just assumed, so I will go out of my way to ask one of the men on the team to book any follow-up meetings and to make sure that that all happens.

Image credits: ellalowgren

In many households, it’s common for people to assume that the women will keep the house clean and tidy. Even if both partners work full-time jobs, it’s often the woman who takes on the majority of the housework, including cleaning, laundry, and cooking. As per the Gender Equality Index 2021 Report by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), employed women spend an average of 2.3 hours per day on housework, while working men dedicate about 1.6 hours to household chores. Asking men questions like “Did you clean all this by yourself?” reinforces the stereotype that cleaning is primarily a woman’s responsibility.


I put a lot of effort into trying to break my female students from the habit of over-apologizing. If they add to a discussion and say, “Oh, I’m sorry, but I just wanted to add,” I’ll stop them there and say, “Don’t apologize for contributing. Please just speak your idea.”

Image credits: ashley.unfiltered


So I teach a class at a university and the other day I’m walking on campus, going back to my car after class. So I’m on the sidewalk, on the correct side of the sidewalk, only taking up my one little lane, and I’m walking to the car. And sure enough, there’s a group of eight young men walking towards me, taking up the entire sidewalk.

None of them are on their phones. They’re talking to each other, but they’re all looking forward and they just keep walking forward. Nobody moves over there, taking up the entire sidewalk. And I kept walking in my lane and I literally walked into one of them.

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I like to always notice when people use passive language to describe actions that men have taken against women. So often you’ll notice this if someone gets followed home, then they’ll just say it like that. My friend got followed home or my friend got harassed at a bar, when, in fact, the unsaid is that a MAN harassed your friend at a bar. A MAN followed your friend home. 

And by taking the man out of the sentence, you are basically just leaving the unsaid that it is a man to be normalized. Because if a woman followed your friend home, that would be the first thing that you said. Like, “Oh my God, a woman followed my friend home. That’s so weird.”

Like, “Oh, this woman was harassing my friend.” And the fact that it’s so normalized that we can use the passive tone and know what’s happening shouldn’t be normal.

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At work, when female colleagues present an idea during a meeting, they might be interrupted and offered a detailed explanation of the same concept, as if they don’t know what they are talking about. “Mansplaining is rarely intentionally vicious; it’s far more likely to arise from a place of patronizing. Because the mansplainer assumes they know more, it increases the chances of viewing a co-worker as less knowledgeable and, thus, less competent,” said Jessica McCall, Ph.D., an English professor at Delaware Valley University, in Pennsylvania.


I don’t give body-specific compliments positively or negatively.

I grew up in a family with a lot of men and this is something that I’ve actually learned that men do a lot. A lot of times when they see somebody has made improvements to their health, their compliments are like, “You look great, bro, like you look really strong,” and so I thought of giving compliments to women in a similar way and saying, “You’re really glowing, you look really radiant.” Even if they’ve happened to lose a lot of weight. But I’m not affirming that the weight loss is the thing that made them beautiful, but like that they’re beautiful and maybe they happened to lose weight. I don’t know. Maybe they changed their skincare. It could be anything.

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I’m a waitress, and my form of microfeminism is every time someone pays a check, I give it to the woman. And then the guy just looks at me all weird.

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When I’m at work and I am speaking to an owner-level CEO, high-level individual, oftentimes a man, and they will give me no handshake at all.

Literally last week, it was a high level, he shook my husband’s hand, but not mine. I called him back to shake my hand and then he did and it was a bad handshake and then I made him redo it.

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When I’m in a position to be introducing people who are part of a couple, I always introduce the woman first, talk about her job, and then introduce the man as her husband or boyfriend or whatever.

“Oh, have you met Dr. Jane? And this is her husband, John.” That one always earns a smile from the women and kind of a baffled look from the men.


I literally got comments on when I was printing stuff for my wedding. I always list the woman’s name first. In my head I just think of it like we’re entering a room and guess what? Ladies first.

Image credits: justonegursha


On every rental application and lease we’ve ever had, I’ve put myself as the primary contact, and every time a real estate or a tradesperson gets in contact and defers to my partner, I make him then re-loop me in.

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A study from the Harvard Business Review showed that female Supreme Court justices are more frequently interrupted by their male counterparts and advocates during oral arguments compared to their male peers. Such incidents undermine a woman’s expertise and contribution to the discussions at work.

In this situation, a microfeminist action would be for others to let the female justice speak without interruption. This not only lets them have a chance to fully participate but also gives them the same respect and attention as their male counterparts.


My favorite form of microfeminism is that when I send an email, let’s say to like a CEO, and you have to copy their assistant for scheduling purposes, if the assistant is a female, I will always enter their email address before the CEO’s. So if like the CEO was Bob and the assistant is a female named Jane, I’m always going to put Jane and then the CEO. Like nobody probably notices, but it makes me feel like I see you. Another thing that I do, kind of along the same lines, is if I’m emailing a team, I will always address the woman first in the actual email. So I’ll be like, “Hey Kathy and Joe.”

Image credits: iamashleychaney


If we’re in a group and a man and a woman talk at the same time, I am 100 percent going to listen to the woman.

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If somebody says I have to talk to the board, or I have to talk to the chairperson of the board, or I have to talk to the CEO or CFO or whoever, I will say “Let me know what she says.” Always “she.” Like, my default is she or her instead of he or him. Obviously, unless I know the person and I know that it’s a man. I don’t go out of my way to be wrong.

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Casually making unsolicited comments about a woman’s body is also not acceptable on any occasion. Imagine you are attending a family wedding and your aunt comments on your weight, saying things like, “You’ve put on some kgs, haven’t you?” in front of other relatives. Not only does this make you feel embarrassed but also self-conscious. We should refrain from commenting on women’s bodies, whether it’s to give positive or negative compliments.


My favorite form of microfeminism is to bulldoze through life acting like I’ve never even heard of sexism or like I’ve never received the messaging that I need to play it small in order to avoid upsetting others. You will be shooketh when you realize how well this works because a lot of modern sexism is upheld by women’s willingness to censor and shrink themselves in order to avoid being confronted, challenged, or corrected in any way.

Many of us are taught from a young age that the worst thing that you can do is upset or disappoint somebody outside of you. But when you walk into a room with confidence and authority and like God herself sent you and you don’t care what anybody thinks about you, you’d be surprised how many people will just fall in line.

Because a lot of people depend on women to take the first step of censoring and shrinking themselves so they don’t have to be the jerk and do it for them. In fact, what I’ve learned in my personal experience is that most people are not willing to confront, correct, or challenge me because I moved through the world in this way.

Because I moved through the world acting like I’ve never received this messaging. In fact, most people learn pretty quickly that the best way to deal with me is to get out of my way. So go forth. Be oblivious, my loves. You will not be sorry.

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Playdates. I’m making a point to schedule as much playdate time as possible. A lot of times I’m dealing with other moms. Moms of other children.

But I force the dads to be involved. I’ll text them first. I’ll email them first. If I run into them, I say, “Hey, here’s my number. Let’s set something up for our kids.”

Image credits: notsoprodad


Whenever somebody comes to ask me if they can borrow some big strong boys to do something helpful around the school, I have always made it a point to send them some strong girls. Because usually the job is really fun, everybody wants to do it, and we all know that girls are just as capable of doing any job that a boy can do.

Other instances include assuming that all women have motherly instincts, thinking girls love the color pink or accusing a woman of being a bad driver. Change begins at the grassroots level. And changing how we perceive and respond to these small, unintentional acts of misogyny can make a big difference. What are your thoughts on “microfeminisms”? Do you currently practice it, or do you plan to start now?


If a woman says something in an email, like they do some research and they have an opinion on something, and I think it’s right, but I think more needs to get added, I will say, “I think Jessica’s 100 percent right. This is correct.” I’ll affirm and then continue. But like, if a man says it, I’ll just say, “I want to add,” and I’ll just go into whatever I’m going to add. And I think that part is just important because it’s important to like, cement, especially for women, to like, boost confidence and just be like, “Hey, they’re f**king right. They’re f**king smart and they’re f**king right.”


I always use female-identifying language.
So if you’re telling me you went to the doctor: “What did she say?”
“Oh, you’ve been consulting with your lawyer. How did she advise you?”


When I send an email, my natural impulse is to say, “Hey, just checking in.”
“Hey, just checking on that brief.”

And I always delete the “just” and say, “Hey, checking in. Give me the brief.”


When I’ve just had a baby and when people come to my house, like a man and a woman or like relatives or whatever, I will always thrust my baby in the direction of the man first. So I’ll be like, “Can you hold my baby while I have a shower or something?”

Because women are always holding babies. We always expect it. So men can get used to it.

Image credits: mamamiaaus


If I compliment a man on his shirt, I love to say, “Ooh, I love that top.”

They always look so confused, like, “What, thank you for complimenting me, but also, huh? This is a shirt.”

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Sometimes in the lift, if a man is waiting for me to go, I also stand and wait for him to go.

Image credits: mamamiaaus


You know how the art that men like is seen as universal and the art that women like is seen as girly? Well, my form of microfeminism is addressing girly music or TV or movies as the norm, while whatever men like is niche and unknown.


If I’m on an email with a bunch of people who do not outrank each other, obviously, this is like, if there’s not a secretary, not an assistant, anything like that, and someone has to send like a calendar invite or a Zoom invite or something like that, I will, um, ask the men in the group to send it, or like a specific man in the group, like, “Hey John, do you mind sending that?”


This isn’t one that I get to engage in anymore, because I left working for the federal government to teach a couple of years ago. But when I did work for Uncle Sam, part of my job had me dealing with minors, and I had to verify parental relationships, confirm parental identity, and get parental consent.

And in cases where the parents were both a man and a woman, I always spoke directly to mom. I also documented her paperwork first on forms and got her signature first.


If a male and female student in my class either raise their hands at the same time or begin speaking at the same time in the course of a discussion, and this happens a lot, um, I will kind of pause them and say, “Oh, I can only hear one of you at a time.”

And I’ll ask the female student to go first.

Image credits: ashley.unfiltered


I’m a server in a restaurant, and if a man and a woman come in together, and they’re like, “We’re just gonna split this one thing,” when I bring the food out, I put the full plate of food in front of the woman, and I put an empty plate in front of the man. And then I say, “This is for if she decides to share with you. Enjoy your lunch, sweetie.”


Anytime you’re being told a story or someone recounts an article or something that happened and doesn’t identify the gender of the main character of that story, like: 
“Oh hey, did you see that drunk driver crash into the hospital?” 
“Oh my god, what was his name?” 

“Did you hear about that firefighter that saved three kids?” 
“Oh my god, she sounds incredible, that’s great, good for her.”

Image credits: notsoprodad


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