Bustle's Rule Breakers' Attendees Share The Outdated Rules They Want Broken Now

Anthony Tran/Bustle

If you had the power to re-shape the world, how would you change it? Bustle's inaugural Rule Breakers event, a celebration of female and non-binary people who dare to defy the rules and expectations placed on them, felt like the right place to explore the question. One event goer, Melissa Carter, said, "So the rules we need to break, especially among women, is that we're separated: We need to start cultivating more togetherness." Attendee Gavriella Wolf added, "Society needs to change general microaggressions towards women in public."

It feels like there's a never-ending list of societal norms and unspoken rules and standards that all of us are expected to uphold. Then there are the boundaries women and non gender-conforming people are still working to change, including gender pay gaps and how talking about sexual assault is treated in our society. There's certainly no shortage of outdated ideologies that need to be retired or reshaped for the present.

Everyone prioritizes different values and issues, so we decided to ask event attendees what norms and rules they want to see change in society and their everyday lives. The answers that attendees offered up are all about taking action to "be the change that you want to see in the world," to borrow the Mahatma Gandhi quote.

Read on to discover the other societal rules that other Rule Breakers' attendees are ready to see broken.

Brittany Miller:

Pictured: Hadassah Williams (right) & Brittany Miller (left) // Photo: Sanam Yar

"This is not an attack on men, but I think our society has sort of conditioned men to ask things of women that they wouldn't ask of themselves. That’s very normalized and expected, and it’s sort of frowned upon when women defy that or go against that in any way. I want that to change."

Melissa Carter:

Pictured: Melissa Carter // Photo: Sanam Yar

"Society needs to stop treating us like we are separate. We need to start cultivating more of a world and leadership that values empathy and belonging and togetherness. So the rules we need to break, especially among women, is that we're separated: We need to start cultivating more togetherness."

Elizabeth Stone and Katelyn Stone:

Pictured: Elizabeth Stone (left) and Katelyn Stone (right) // Photo: Sanam Yar

Elizabeth: "We need to break rules in society about how we talk about sexual harassment and assault. Women, as part of what we’re taught in our gender roles growing up, are taught that we aren't supposed to talk about it. Even thinking about the news this past week, that's part of gender, and it's something that's really been on my mind as a thing we need to change."

Katelyn: "I want to break gender — that men do this one thing and act this certain way and that women have to act a certain way. In reality, there are no rules between how we should and shouldn't act. Men are allowed to cry in public, and women can be the breadwinners in families. These things don't have to be weird, they can be the norm."

Gavriella Wolf (right)

Pictured: Gavriella Wolf (right) // Photo: Sanam Yar

Gavriella: "Society needs to change general microaggressions towards women in public. It needs to address that despite mainstream feminist efforts, there's still a lot of objectification of women on a daily basis in corporate and public spaces. This needs to change."

Jontil Hunt, Khadijah Okoh, and Mariah Bailey:

Jontil Hunt (left), Khadijah Okoh (center), Mariah Bailey (right). Photo: Sanam Yar

Jontil: "I would like to see the rules broken between different classes and beliefs, whether it’s religion, sexual orientation, or even just what you believe as far as basic morals and principles. Just because someone believes in something different doesn’t mean that you can't still love or accept them or even be friends with them and have a healthy conversation. I would like to see society break down the walls of how we segregate and separate ourselves based on minute differences that don’t really matter in the end run."

Khadijah: "The beauty standards. Telling people what’s pretty and what’s not. I would like to see different types of people on TV, not just what society thinks beauty is now — I want to see disabled people, I want to see black people, I want to see white people, I want to see Middle Eastern people. I want everybody to be able to relate with the people that they see on TV. Seeing yourself and representation lets you see you can do that and live that dream too, whatever it is."

Mariah: "I would like to see society’s rule of viewing gender norms change. Society lets men go out and play the field and date multiple people and it's acceptable, but when women do that, they’re slut-shamed for it or they go out and are judged. Those roles need to be equal so women can go out too and experience life and have fun and enjoy their youth without people judging them."

Amy Winn:

Photo: Sanam Yar

"I’m a feminist. But I would also like for concepts of masculinity to be broader than they have been allowed to be. The idea being that if men can be different kinds of men, it allows women to be different kinds of women, too."

Dolly Martinez:

Dolly Martinez (left). Photo: Sanam Yar

"The one rule that I feel should be changed is the gender in bathrooms, they should all be gender neutral."

Mira AbouElezz and Amina Trabelsi:

Amina Trabelsi (left) and Mira AbouElezz (right). Photo: Sanam Yar

Mira: "I want to break out of the capitalist system that we live in...I feel like money controls everything that we do, in this country at least, and I want to be able to live a life outside of that where I can have priorities that I intentionally made for my life and not a life that’s imposed on me."

Amina: "Break the 1 percent."

Desireé Cross:

Photo: Sanam Yar

“That anyone who is female or non-binary or doesn't identify as a man should be able to have equal autonomy and agency over themselves."

Eunique Martin:

Photo: Sanam Yar

“Women being in competition with each other needs to change. I think women need to work together more.”

Emily Hunt:

Photo: Sanam Yar

“Same sex marriages have legally become more accepted in society, but the concept isn’t fully accepted in people’s minds. Why isn’t gay marriage fully accepted yet by the public? That’s a big one.”