6 Disgustingly Sexist Laws You Won’t Believe Existed

Laws are made by humans which means that, like humans, they are fallible. It also means that, like humans, they can be ridiculously sexist, oppressive, and gross. Case in point: A ton of laws past and present. Let’s remember that it used to be legal to own people as property, y’all, so nothing should surprise you.

When it comes to laws in the realm of gender, women definitely got a raw deal, and it was in more ways than just not being able to vote (though, that was definitely a big one). Unfortunately there are still a lot of legal battles going on in the United States and elsewhere about what women can and can’t do to their bodies–people are still trying to restrict birth control, what gives? But while you should stay angry about that, at least feel relieved that these six old sexist practices are now against the law. For example, did you know that it was legal for your husband to rape you? Read on to find out more.


It Was Legal For Your Husband To Rape You

Yes, it's true. If your husband forced you to have sex that was well within his right to in several states. Why? Because apparently people were under the impression that if you're married to someone then you obviously are always down to have sex with them, no matter what. Uh, false. It wasn't until 1993 that all 50 states criminalized this act...which is great but also WTF not until the '90s?

Photo source: Pinterest

You Could Get Fired For Being Pregnant

Bun in the oven? Say good-bye to your job! Luckily, thanks to the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, you can take your employer to court if you believe that you were discriminated against due to your pregnancy, but before then? Ha! If your company saw you as a liability then you could be fired without question.

Photo source: Mad Men

Sexual Harassment In The Workplace Wasn't Against The Law

Is your boss or a coworker constantly hitting on you? Inappropriate touching? Yeah, that was actually allowed. It wasn't until 1980 that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defined sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination, which is a big no no according to a little thing known as the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So from there on, sexual harassment was regulated. Before that it was just considered playful for a coworker to squeeze your butt or compliment your boobs.

Photo source: Pinterest

You Couldn't Take The Pill Unless You Were Married

Even though birth control was introduced in 1960, it was restricted to married women and medical necessity. Yeah, people seriously thought that the pill should only be used for family planning, otherwise it would turn unmarried women into rampaging sluts or something. Thankfully, in 1972 the Supreme Court allowed for an expansion in birth control.

Photo source: Pinterest/Time Magazine

Women Couldn't Get A Credit Card Without Hubby's Consent

If you were a young, unmarried woman and wanted a credit card, it was legal for a bank to deny your application because of the lack of ring on your finger. Apparently women just aren't financially responsible without a man's guidance. Blech! Married women couldn't even get a credit card unless their husband co-signed to it. So if your husband didn't want you to have financial independence then you were screwed. It wasn't until 1974 that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act made it illegal to deny someone a credit card based on gender.

Photo source: Pinterest/Ebony Magazine

Women Couldn't Vote

Well here's a biggie: Women couldn't legally vote in the United States until 1919. The suffrage movement was actually really fascinating, especially if you check out the propaganda that was launched against it. Seriously, people thought that the only women who wanted to vote were old, bitter, unmarried women...because married women were automatically happy and chill with the way things were. Uh, yeah right. As awesome as it is that women were legally allowed to vote as of 1919, black women were still denied access to the voting booths, especially in the south, until the 1960s.

Photo source: Pinterest

Which of these is the most shocking to you? Not so shocking? Tell us in the comments!

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  • Wookie

    The last one doesnt have a year it just says [what], maybe an editing mistake?

    • Ashley Reese

      Fixed! Thanks.