I have a love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with the Huffington Post, but a friend of mine shared this article and I really liked it.
I do think that the article is really written from a man to men, so it did not come off as mansplainy to me. It just served to validate a lot of feelings for me, and really just brought up a ton of memories of conversations and interactions. This will get a knowing nod from probably all of you, but what is sticking out to me is that I have never seen a man so adequately address this, and unfortunately he won't be labeled as crazy so maybe other men will listen to him.
Labeling women crazy; the author, a reformed crazy-labeler, very simply states that this needs to stop, and that he was guilty as anyone of it.
for the most part, crazy meant "acting in a way I didn't like."
I cannot pinpoint why, but that struck me as super refreshing to see written out. I never thought about "crazy."
One of [the attitudes towards women] was the tendency to use labels like "crazy" or "irrational" without thinking. And once I noticed my tendency towards tossing "crazy" out as a verbal short cut, I couldn't not see it everywhere.
It's a habit that we men need to break; it's damaging to relationships, trivializes genuine mental health issues and — most importantly — hurts women as a whole.
I'd thought about how women are quicker to be labeled "crazy," but I'd never thought about what it actually means - and what part I play in that. My brother and I grew up calling my nagging mother crazy, but never my asshole dad. In my younger, stupider days, I prided myself on being one of those "cool girls" that my boyfriends could juxtapose against their "crazy ex girlfriends."
The author puts "crazy" in a class with "slut," "ugly", "fat", and "bitch" as far as unfair, woman-specific insults.
At its base, calling women "crazy" is a way of waving away any behavior that men might find undesirable while simultaneously absolving those same men from responsibility.
Yes, yes this is it! When you label a woman crazy, there doesn't really need to be any talk of what made her "crazy." There is no need for further explanation because she is crazy and that is the end; all reactions, behaviors, and subsequent conflicts are a result of her faux mental disorder that a man has made up, that render her not credible.
I want to pause to be clear about something: women can and DO do things that damage a relationship. This discussion is about the label of "crazy" erroneously applied to women who are simply involved in some sort of conflict, whereas men avoid being accused of being mentally ill when they are acting up. It is the use of "crazy" to discount feelings and emotions. (I do not want to hear about that one girlfriend who called you "crazy", guys - there is a difference between individual experiences and societal trends).
Predictably, the author relates all of this to the etymology of the word "hysteria" (which, if you do not know about it, you should read about it here!).
The "crazy" label is closely related to minimizing the feelings of a woman by telling her that she is "overreacting," "reads too much into things" when expressing concern, or "behaving irrationally." The author even uses the word "drama", and says that his constant quest to avoid drama resulted in him completely blowing off the feelings, concerns, and emotions of the women in all his relationships for a long time.
Drama is just code for "things I don't want to deal with". That does not mean these things aren't NECESSARY for one to deal with, though.
...I would minimize her issues. By telling her that she was reading too much into things, I was framing the situation as her being irrational.
I didn't realize it at the time, but what I was doing was, in effect, telling her that she didn't have the right to feel the way she felt... because I didn't want her to feel that way.... It wasn't until I was willing to change my attitudes towards dating and how I related to women that I started having more meaningful relationships, whether casual or long term.
As I got older and smarter, I started regarding any mention of "crazy" exes, or "don't want drama", or just wanting a "calm, rational girl" as a huge red flag (looking at you, OKCupid hopefuls!). What that says to me is that you, as a boyfriend, will disregard issues I bring up as "drama" - as if I am just making things up for the purpose of making your life miserable. You are failing to think about this on a deeper, more human level: there were problems that you ignored, because they were not your problems, and they might have involved you having to apologize or do something, or to simply have an uncomfortable conversation. This seems obvious, but there are few problems that go away after being ignored.
Gaslighting — minimizing their feelings, reframing them as being unreasonable — is classic abusive behavior. It's telling someone that they don't have a right to the way they feel because what they're feeling is wrong. Their feelings or their concerns or behavior isn't "rational." Once you take away their right to their feelings, it's that much easier to manipulate a person into the way you want them to behave.
Preach. (Emphasis is mine). You really may like the whole article. I wanted to quote the whole thing and say "preach" over and over and over.
The last sentence, I think, is really important:
As with other bad habits and acculturation, we need to unlearn this tendency to use "crazy" as a weapon. It's only by recognizing this behavior in ourselves and teaching ourselves to avoid it that we can quit poisoning how we relate to one another and letting it hold us back from the relationships we all want.
Emphasis mine, again. That is the thing. I know that the people doing this shit are still out there trying to find love. They want to grow old with someone, they want a lady that understands them and that they are attracted to and everything. However, they do not realize that when they consistently feel like women are too full of drama, that they are searching for a woman who doesn't exist: a woman with no feelings. It causes us women to hold back our personalities and concerns in hopes of avoiding the label, and it causes men who use it to never quite have a meaningful relationship.
TL;DR: Bitches aren't be crazy.
Edit: Apparently LemonadeLover posted this yesterday. I can't find it but the author of the article apparently weighed in!