We should all know by now, when it comes to women, even the most innocuous words can be laden with separate and often disparaging meanings.
Whereas young boys are called commanding, girls are stuck with the negative label “bossy.” Whereas “man up” implies strength and power, acting “like a girl” means being wimpy and inferior.
So it’s no surprise that there’s another word lurking in all of our lexicons that is used to diminish women, deriding their behavior.
The characterization of “crazy” might seem harmless, but actually carries with it certain implications that disproportionately impact women when compared to their male counterparts.
In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, dating coach Harris O’Malley points out that women are simply more often the people we like to point out as being “crazy.”
O’Malley compares Taylor Swift (known as “crazy” for writing songs about her exes) to Robin Thicke. Although Thicke apparently penned an entire album, Paula, about his ex-wife in an attempt to win her back, he wasn’t called crazy.
The words “creepy” and “stalker-ish” might have been used, but “crazy” is a special term we reserve for the likes of T.Swift and other women who are upfront about their emotions.
“‘Crazy’ is one of the five deadly words guys use to shame women into compliance. The others: Fat. Ugly. Slutty. Bitchy. They sum up the supposedly worst things a woman can be.”
In today’s world, a lot of our gender inequalities seem more subtle than they did in the 1960s. We’re no longer mandating that women stay at home to raise the kids, but we do pay them less or make them feel guilty about not being there for birthdays and parent-teacher conferences.
We no longer outwardly condone the "Mad Man"-esque behavior in which a husband has a number of extra-marital affairs while the wifey turns a blind eye, but we do have these Jay Z and Beyoncé infidelity rumors, where the finger of blame actually points to Queen B for supposedly sticking with a guy who’s been unfaithful, as opposed to skewering the person who’s allegedly cheating in the first place.
Today, “you’re so crazy” has become the new “stop being hysterical.”
Although female hysteria was once believed to be a very real medical condition (only afflicting women, how convenient), it was clearly a conjured disorder simply set to discredit women as “irrational” creatures who got too worked up when (men decided) they shouldn’t be. After all, the term does come from the Greek word hystera, which means "uterus."
And calling a woman “crazy” is kind of like that — it forces this description onto a female for no other reason than her behavior differs from what guys determine should be the proper reaction.
Your girlfriend got mad because you blew off dinner plans to watch the World Cup? God, she is so crazy. That chick you were sleeping with told you off when she found out you were hooking up with pretty much everybody else? Cuh-razy.
The fact is, it’s these things listed above — and Taylor Swift’s philandering ex-boyfriends, or older men who played her hot and cold — that should be described as legitimately bad behavior.
But by pushing the blame onto someone else’s mental state, guys get themselves off the hook.
In using the delineation of “crazy,” women are immediately cast as overly-emotional, irrational and wrong. Their only true fault, however, is that they did something that the guy (or, perhaps, another girl) did not agree with.
But mentally unstable is a definite far cry from mentally-sound-enough-to-disagree-with-you.
When guys call a women “crazy,” they’re really gaslighting — or, as the Good Men Project describes it, using this word to manipulate perception and confuse others into thinking that their behavior is so off-base and unwarranted, it’s somehow seriously awry.
In calling women “crazy,” guys are fostering deceit, and creating something from nothing that isn’t there — so who’s the crazy one now? The men who throw around this term to downplay women’s autonomy and the right to express themselves are the ones who have become unhinged.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It