Women are generally loving and we worship women in the form of Lakshmi, Saraswati, Parvati, Durga and others. Our scriptures also tell us to respect women.

However, this YouTube video says that some women possess negative characteristics as explained by Ravana to his wife Mandodari. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any of it mentioned in any Ramayana or other texts.

What is the source of the video's claims?

Do our scriptures say anything about the negative traits of women or which women to avoid in general?

  • This is sort of personal advice question, you should frame this as an advice seeking question from Dharma Shastras (Hindu Law books) to make it according to the Site's Standards.
    – Yogi
    Nov 17, 2016 at 15:13
  • 3
    You can atleast ask how to treat cunning cruel women,housewives etc as per Hindu Shastras..
    – Rickross
    Nov 17, 2016 at 15:34
  • @SwiftPushkar I don't think it is out of boundary of Shastras. As rickross mentioned treating cruel women might be mentioned in the dharma shastras, and in general treatment of wife would be mentioned. Dharma Shastras deal with how to lead the life in Dharmic way and women are integrated part of anyone's life so treating them according to Dharma would be mentioned in Shastras.
    – Yogi
    Nov 17, 2016 at 18:09
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    @SwiftPushkar Well you are correct we should treat women with respect and reverence no doubt. But it is my faith in Shastras that they won't give inhuman dictations against women.
    – Yogi
    Nov 17, 2016 at 19:55
  • I was interested in this in particular because I stumbled across 8 negative traits of women as expounded by Ravana to Mandodari.
    – onephys
    Nov 17, 2016 at 21:04

5 Answers 5


Do our scriptures say anything about the negative traits of women or which women to avoid in general?

According Manu Smriti, there are six negative traits or characteristics of women that bring about her downfall or ruin.

9.13. Drinking (spirituous liquor), associating with wicked people, separation from the husband, rambling abroad, sleeping (at unseasonable hours), and dwelling in other men’s houses, are the six causes of the ruin of women.

So,those women who indulge in the above six acts are to be avoided as bad.

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Also ,it is implied in the same text that women can not keep secrets to themselves ,& hence the king should never tell them his plans.So,the women do not make good spies etc.

7.149. At the time of consultation let him cause to be removed idiots, the dumb, the blind, and the deaf, animals, very aged men, women, barbarians, the sick, and those deficient in limbs

7.150. (Such) despicable (persons), likewise animals, and particularly women betray secret council; for that reason he must be careful with respect to them.

The Parashara Smriti says the woman who causes abortion are to be abandoned completely.

What sin is incurred in killing a Brahman, abortion causes a sin twice as great ; there is no atonement for that sin. The abandonment of such a woman has been ordained by law.(Parshara Smriti)

The Manu Smriti further states that no libations of water for the following women:

5.90. To women who have joined a heretical sect, who through lust live (with many men), who have caused an abortion, have killed their husbands, or drink spirituous liquor.

So,these are also the women to be avoided as sinners.

  • 1
    I deleted my earlier comment however, since your answer is accepted, it's now safe to point out the mistake. The following statement in your answer still stands wrong: "According Manu Smriti, there are six negative traits or characteristics of women". Actually you should have written "bad women", because those 6 qualities are not found in all women. Now if you write "bad women", then it's not answering the title question, which actually implies for "common trait among all women". However your answer addresses the query the part: "women to avoid in general?".
    – iammilind
    Nov 19, 2016 at 23:05
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    It's quite possible that OP indeed asked what you have written, but expression of words in the question came out different. And you understood what really OP wanted to ask. :-). However, by question I would say negative trait something like this example: "Yudhishtira cursed the women of every order that she can't hide a secret in herself for a long time." (no scriptures but a folkfore). Now this is supposedly a -ve trait present in all women, good or bad. To keep this answer in harmony of Qn, someone should edit the Qn itself.
    – iammilind
    Nov 19, 2016 at 23:13

Yes. Our scriptures have a lot of it.

See Shiva Puran, Uma Samhita, Chapter 24 This whole chapter is dedicated to insulting women.

Here is a short summary-

15-16: No one is more sinful than a woman.

17-23: Women do not stay in limits and keep an eye on men for sexual pleasures.

24-29: They just want any man. There is no one, be him ugly, dwarf, blind, hunchback, who cannot be approached​ by women for lust.

30-31: On seeing a man their vagina gets wet like water dripping from leather bag.

32-34: Women are never satisfied by their husband. They want extra illicit affairs.

35: Ever since Brahma has created the whole universe, the fault is always in women.

  • 3
    You should have waited to answer this. You were very quick to answer before arriving at the correct conclusions. May 24, 2017 at 1:35
  • 5
    Don't say Uma Samhita (named after Divine Mother Uma) insults women. Say Apsarã insulted women.
    – The Destroyer
    May 24, 2017 at 4:39
  • 3
    @TheDestroyer if Apsara would have eulogised women, then everyone would have said- Uma Samhita teaches respect to women.
    – user9392
    May 24, 2017 at 8:15
  • 2
    @RohitSinghRathore, you may think so. But it seems as if our Scriptures have to teach only insult of women for creating detachment from them.
    – user9392
    May 24, 2017 at 8:17
  • That leather bag quote 😂 As if ! 😂 What on earth 😂 Interpolation by some searching for a clue kinda guy imho 🤣 Jan 5, 2023 at 7:48

The scriptures may not refer negative traits about women. If such a negative trait is present in all the women, then it's considered a part of them. Scriptures do talk about certain limitations. Biggest limitation is that, "Women can't be happy independently", they should be bound with either father, brother, husband, son or grandson. As discussed in this answer:

There is the well-known declaration of the scriptures that women are incompetent to enjoy freedom at any period of their life. If this were not the path trodden by the righteous, how could this scriptural declaration exist? ... In childhood, the sire protects her. The husband protects her in youth. When she becomes old, her sons, protect her. At no period of her life does woman deserve to be free.

Now this also cautions about the fact, that if women find a wrong man then due to improper progeny the whole family values can get corrupt. This establishes the importance of securing women due to their sensitivity towards vices:

BG 1.41 O Krsna, when vice predominates, the women of the family become corrupt. O descendent of the Vrsnis, when women become corrupted, it results in the intermingling of castes.

But we should also understand that the above verses were said in different era with different social structure. Today's era is predominant with certain feminism & many women manage to live happily independent. Does that mean the scriptures are wrong?

The ancient scriptures are right in their own context. However in today's time, the anatomy of "Man vs Woman" is no more exclusive with "Male vs Female". In earlier times, Males were spiritually Men and Females were spiritually Women. Each side is trying to become other side by compromising SwaDharma or re-establishing a new SwaDharma.
This is noted by Osho, that in today's world the difference between Man & Woman is diminishing which is Not desirable for a healthy society.

I am all in favour of women’s liberation – but not the way the women’s liberation movement is going. It is taking a reactionary attitude, it is not a real revolution. It is trying to imitate man. And remember, imitation never makes you equal; imitation at the most will make you a carbon copy – but the original is original.

But whatever is the state today, is bound to happen, as everything happens with God's will.
IMO, may be DhritarAshtra's saarathy Sanjaya foresaw such diminishing line between men & women upon the fall of Duryodhana, who was an embodiment of Kali demon:

The evil-minded and wicked king Duryodhana, the destroyer of the fair fame of the Kurus, was born of a portion of Kali on earth.
Lakes and wells, O best of kings, vomited forth blood. Rivers of rapid currents flowed in opposite directions. Women seemed to look like men, and men to look like women at that hour, O king, when thy son Duryodhana fell!


Manu Smriti 3.56-59 summarized:

“yatra naryastu pujyante ramante tatra Devata; yatra itastu na pujyante sarvasta trafalah kriya…”

Meaning gods reside in the house where women are respected, and hence there is prosperity. But where the women live in grief, it is as if someone has pronounced a curse. No matter what rituals are performed, the family perishes. So for their own welfare, men must always honour women.”


Ramcharitramanas 1.6.16 - नारि सुभाऊ सत्य सब कहहीं। अवगुन आठ सदा उर रहहीं। साहस अनृत चपलता माया। भय अबिबेक असौच अदाया ।। or women have 8 bad qualities: vain boldness, telling lies, fickle mindedness, creating illusions, fearful, stupidity, impurity and lack of pity.

This is where Ravana said it. Almost exactly the same statement is found in Devi Bhagvat Mahapuraan 1.5 - अनृतं साहसं माया मूर्खत्वमतिलोभता । अशौचं निर्दयत्वं च स्त्रीणां दोषाः स्वभावजाः॥ or Falsehood, vain boldness, craftiness, stupidity, impatience, over-greediness, impurity, and harshness are the natural qualities of women.

Do our scriptures say anything about the negative traits of women or which women to avoid in general?

Generally all religions and all classes of Hindu scriptures say the same thing about women. The most important thing you need to know is that it is said women are the biggest sinners and the root of all bad qualities/sins/evil. (most easily found in Shiv Puraan, Uma Samhita 24)

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