Stop Calling Women Crazy
By Abby Marton
How many times have you heard someone call a woman “crazy”? Probably more often than not. “Crazy” is just a lazy term thrown around almost exclusively towards women. The spectrum ranges from “emotional,” “unstable,” “dramatic,” “sensitive,” and “difficult” but most of the time these terms are false and aim to be dismissive. Women are being linguistically put down through subtle sexism simply for being passionate.
We are all more than familiar with the “crazy ex-girlfriend” narrative force-fed to us on first dates. But (a question we are all wondering)一 were they really “crazy” or did you just gaslight them into oblivion and now call them less than decent names to undermine them?
It was best put by Natalie Portman at Variety’s Power of Women event when she said, “Stop the rhetoric that a woman is crazy or difficult. If a man says a woman is crazy or difficult, ask him, ‘What bad thing did you do to her?’ That’s a code word. He is trying to discredit her reputation.”
A somewhat recent and extremely public example would be the 2016 presidential campaign. Particularly the especially brutal spotlight placed on Hillary Clinton. President Donald Trump’s scathing, and frequent attacks are what comes to mind. One of his least flattering comments includes his less than favorable nickname for her, “Unstable Hillary, she lacks the judgment, temperament, and moral character to lead this country. She is a totally unhinged person. She is a horrible, horrible human being. She’s incompetent, and I don’t think that you can even think of allowing this woman to become the president of the United States.” What makes her so “unhinged” you may ask? Apparently using her family’s private email server.
American tennis player, Serena Williams, is another target of unwarranted attacks. Following a dispute with an umpire, Williams was urged to “get her emotions together.” Explaining the altercations, she stated, “This is not fair, this is not fair. Men do much worse. Because I’m a woman you’re going to take this away from me. To happen to me in this tournament every single time is not fair.”
Five months after the incident, Williams released Dream Crazier, a narrated Nike film. The timely film features athletes like Simone Biles, Ibtihaj Muhammad, and Chloe Kim. The film reclaims words like “crazy” and calls out the injustices women frequently face; “If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic,” she said. “If we want to play against men, we’re nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity, we’re delusional. When we stand for something we’re unhinged. When we’re too good, there’s something wrong with us. And if we get angry, we’re hysterical, irrational, or just plain crazy.”
But, women being called irrational names for being passionate has been going on long before Hillary Clinton and Serena Williams.
At the height of Susan B. Anthony’s career, she was deemed as “unsexed.” Despite devoting her life to the women’s rights, she was considered to be not a “true woman”, as she was never married. Suffragettes also endured the media’s assaults. They were portrayed as “ unattractive, unfeminine, neglectful of their families and husbands, or incapable of getting a husband at all. Those who were actually marching were usually depicted as armed and violent…”, according to the Bustle article, How Were Suffragettes Treated By The Media? The media even tried to blame Suffragettes for making the country appear weak, leading society into chaos, and venturing into socialism.
So why is everyone so obsessed with calling women “crazy”?
Calling women belittling terms is just the easy way out instead of actually realizing that women publicly displaying emotion isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength and passion.