Join 3,559 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Problem With Labeling Women 'Crazy'
November 15, 2013 12:48 PM   Subscribe

"Labeling women as 'crazy' is a way of controlling them...[a] quick and easy shut-down to any discussion. Once the 'crazy' card has been pulled out, women are now put on the defensive: The onus is no longer on the man to address her concerns or her issue; it's on her to justify her behavior, to prove that she is not, in fact, crazy or irrational."
posted by rcraniac (138 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
THAT'S JUST CRAZY!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 12:49 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


love the illustration of a crazy woman the editor paired with the piece. undercuts the premise.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:55 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is an issue with labeling *anyone* as crazy.
posted by enrevanche at 12:58 PM on November 15, 2013 [45 favorites]


Warning: autoplaying video.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:59 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think there's a historical precedent supporting this, going way back.

The question I have is how does one legitimately suggest to a woman she has issues severe enough they need addressing?
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:02 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Sometimes, individuals are indeed acting a bit crazy. Usually it's just a matter of being the sane one in the room or joining them in the insanity, depending the situation.

The question I have is how does one legitimately suggest to a woman she has issues severe enough they need addressing?

Just walk'em through their actions or thoughts to quietly point out that it isn't making sense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:04 PM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


What Guys I Mean When We I Say "You're Overreacting"...

Good start. Next up, owning your behaviors.
posted by disconnect at 1:05 PM on November 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


What if you say it like, "girl, you so crazy!!"?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:05 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah the person who may have been found to be hovering over my brother with a knife when he awoke, or the person who may have come back from her ex-husband's place looking like Carrie, then informing me (falsely) that she was pregnant with my kid, were not, in fact, 'crazy women'. Apparently we were just not addressing their concerns adequately.

N.B. I know plenty of crazy guys.
posted by efalk at 1:05 PM on November 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


Annika Cicada: "I think there's a historical precedent supporting this, going way back."

Indeed.

posted by chavenet at 1:07 PM on November 15, 2013


I know plenty of mentally ill people of all genders, but don't generally call them "crazy" as a rule.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:07 PM on November 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


Maybe I'm crazy (heh), but it seemed to me like the author was doing plenty of self-auditing and trying to take a hard look at his past behavior. He also seems to address the fact that some people in relationships are legitimately crazy.

It's almost like there's more to the article than just the headline and pullquote...
posted by muddgirl at 1:07 PM on November 15, 2013 [56 favorites]


...or, after posting, some people in relationships have legitimate mental disorders. My apologies for the lazy language.
posted by muddgirl at 1:08 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


How does one legitimately suggest to a man that he has issues severe enough they need addressing? How does one suggest it to anyone? Very gently, and non-judgmentally, is how.

In high school, I was a terrible mess. Abusive family background, giant trauma, big bad things happening all over the place. I had a female friend tell me she was going to friend-dump me if I didn't see a(nother) therapist. I was not ready to see a(nother) therapist. So I continued being a mess until I was ready.

It's up to you to change the crazy inside you, not up to anyone else. That doesn't mean you can't point out that people are behaving in ways that make you uncomfortable or cross your personal boundaries. It just means that people have to fix their own crazy.

The worst part of being both female and a bit of a whackadoodle is that people can use either or both to disarm and denigrate me. It's super easy. It also helps me weed out all the people who seek to classify me and thereby free me of any agency I might have had pre-classification, so that's good I guess.
posted by brina at 1:09 PM on November 15, 2013 [36 favorites]


Not a bad article, but why is it in the "women's section" of HuffPo? I have a feeling that most women know this stuff already.
posted by rue72 at 1:15 PM on November 15, 2013 [19 favorites]


It's up to you to change the crazy inside you, not up to anyone else.

Unless it's up to the courts.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:15 PM on November 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


We may not intend to manipulate women this way -- most of the time we're not even aware that we're doing it. Most of us are conditioned into it; it's a part of the subtle background radiation that still teaches us that women's desires and opinions are secondary to men's. But the fact that we don't mean to cause harm doesn't change the fact that we do without even thinking about it.

Yes. This, plus the subtle background radiation that teaches men (and women) that men are just more rational than women. It's a lot easier to dismiss someone as 'crazy' when you're already primed to think of their desires as coming out of a place of reactive, hormone-driven emotion, whereas yours are coming from a plane of pure objective logic.
posted by Catseye at 1:16 PM on November 15, 2013 [41 favorites]


Yeah the person who may have been found to be hovering over my brother with a knife when he awoke, or the person who may have come back from her ex-husband's place looking like Carrie, then informing me (falsely) that she was pregnant with my kid, were not, in fact, 'crazy women'. Apparently we were just not addressing their concerns adequately.

I don't believe the article meant to dispute the truth of the existance of all crazy people ever - it was only pointing out that a lot of women get called "crazy" who aren't actually crazy, because calling someone "crazy" is easier than admitting that you're not being fair to them in some way.

I think everyone agrees that the people you're talking about were legitimately mentally unstable. It's the women who get legitimately angry and speak out about it, but get written off as "crazy", that we're talking about here, and I believe most thinking people can understand the difference.

So I have to wonder why you felt the need to write off the article this way. Almost like you were saying the author was crazy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:16 PM on November 15, 2013 [52 favorites]


Reminds me of Marge Simpson saying, "and another thing, a housewife isn't married to a house!"

I'm so glad that this man is validating everything we've been saying all along. Really? So glad you're on board bubba. I needed your approval.

I read a book once too. I didn't feel the need to be all smug and didactic about it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:18 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's clear that the article isn't saying "women never have mental-health issues", rather that "calling women "crazy" is a way of waving away any behavior that men might find undesirable". Because men are supposedly rational and women are not.

On preview, what Catseye said.
posted by billiebee at 1:19 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


it's not uncommon to hear, "That's why you don't stick it in the crazy."

I am 35 and have never heard this in my entire life. This guy is hanging out with jerks.
posted by Hoopo at 1:19 PM on November 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


I am 35 and have never heard this in my entire life. This guy is hanging out with jerks.

That's the sense I got - he grew up, had a revelation, and is now reborn & sharing it. Which isn't a bad thing, since if his mindset exists, others have it too. He can now teach a new generation of men to date with dignity. He coulda been a PUA!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:22 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think it makes a lot of sense to be reflective and to shy away from calling people crazy, but sometimes people really do overreact. when they do, it doesn't strike me as unethical to say as much.
posted by jpe at 1:22 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


There is a MILE of difference between overreacting and Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:23 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


sometimes people really do overreact

One person's overreaction may be another's perfectly valid emotional response. Who gets to decide which is valid and which is "crazy"?
posted by billiebee at 1:24 PM on November 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


oh my. just reading the linked sentence made my blood begin to boil...
posted by supermedusa at 1:25 PM on November 15, 2013


I think it makes a lot of sense to be reflective and to shy away from calling people crazy, but sometimes people really do overreact. when they do, it doesn't strike me as unethical to say as much.

You are overreacting : You are crazy :: You are handling this particular thing badly : You are incapable of handling any thing well
posted by Etrigan at 1:25 PM on November 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


This is an issue with labeling *anyone* as crazy.

"This isn't gendered/sexist behavior, it happens to everyone!" by the third comment? Everyone get out your bingo cards.

From TFA:
The association between women's behavior and being labeled "crazy" has a long and infamous history in Western culture.
The question I have is how does one legitimately suggest to a woman she has issues severe enough they need addressing?

Not to be pat, but: the exact same way you would do the same thing to a man. There is absolutely no need to invoke a person's gender at all if you are having this discussion with them. I mean, you're not going to legitimately suggest to them that they have issues severe enough they need addressing by telling them they're crazy, right? Right.

The insinuation that there's a gender-specific method or approach required to Talking To The Ladies that will avoid inadvertently offending or upsetting us -- like "if I can't hit on a woman by catcalling her on the street or propositioning her in the club, how am I supposed to let her know I'm interested?!" -- makes me a little, well...
posted by divined by radio at 1:25 PM on November 15, 2013 [40 favorites]


billiebee, you're hitting on something about the piece that irked me. the central premise is that every reaction is just as valid as any other, and any judgment about a situation is equivalent to any other.

ie, its basically proceeding from a pretty simplistic form of relativism.
posted by jpe at 1:26 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know, at some point we're just going to have to shut down the internet and go local and god forbid start reading books and listening to our elders again.

That picture of Harris O'Malley screams "I have dated 3 women tops." "Dating coach" is not even remotely close to a real job. (It can be done on your parents' couch in your underwear.) And being named one of the top 10 geek dating blogs by dateadvice.com - just think about that for a second.

There is literally no way there are more than 10 geek dating blogs on this entire planet. So congratulations on buying a domain name and installing Wordpress. You probably did more to perpetuate the myth of crazy women than you did to refute it. Now let mom make you a sandwich and go take the garbage out.
posted by phaedon at 1:29 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


the central premise is that every reaction is just as valid as any other, and any judgment about a situation is equivalent to any other

No, the central premise is that calling a woman "crazy" because you don't want to listen to what she is saying is dismissive, and rooted in historical misogyny.
posted by billiebee at 1:31 PM on November 15, 2013 [39 favorites]


"This isn't gendered/sexist behavior, it happens to everyone!" by the third comment?

That was not the meaning I took from that comment, I thought it had to do with throwing the word "crazy" around

Everyone get out your bingo cards.

I wish people would stop with this shit
posted by Hoopo at 1:32 PM on November 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


I find crazy useful as a shorthand in two instances. The first is basically: I have multiple mental health issues and have been known to use the word to indicate that I am having a bad day/week/month/lifetime, which my friends basically get, which is why they are my friends. The second is the "crazy ex". But I think it's wrong to talk about the "crazy ex" story as something that's bad because it's objectifying. The point is that it's objectifying. I only have so many spoons and I cannot dedicate large quantities of them to regularly rehashing the breakdown of a relationship. I need a shorthand way to impart that it was an incredibly damaging time that is not necessarily as loaded as referring to "my abuser". I need an object to sometimes stand in for the person whose continued existence remains painful for me.

"I moved states a decade ago because of my crazy ex" is something I can drop into conversation without an explanation. "I moved states a decade ago because of my boyfriend who once brought me a knife and tried to talk me into committing suicide because I was worthless to him" is certainly more accurate but turns the answer to "didn't you like living in Georgia" into a conversation I might not want to have with that person. It carries enough significance to explain something like moving states without further explanation. It's useful.

But it's certainly useless and damaging in direct conversation with the individual in question, and it's certainly not something you should use to refer to the fact that your last partner got a bit needy in the face of increasing emotional distance at the end of your relationship or whatever. This... should probably not be brain surgery.
posted by Sequence at 1:32 PM on November 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


and: I've been in a relationship with the SO for two decades or so. when I overreact, she calls me on it, and vice versa. then we talk through it. I've got particular things that I do in fact overreact to, and she's absolutely right to call me out on that stuff. not only is it not disrespectful or bad, it helps make me a better person to get some perspective.
posted by jpe at 1:33 PM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have crazy ex's. I am also a crazy ex.
posted by Samizdata at 1:34 PM on November 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


You run into an asshole in the morning, you run into an asshole in the morning. You run into assholes all day; you're the asshole. If a person of either gender says that they have a crazy ex, there’s a good chance that their ex is crazy. If they say that all of their exes are crazy, it’s probably a sign that you shouldn’t be talking to that person anymore.

Most women are not crazy. Some of them are. Most of my exes are not crazy. One of them is. I don’t think of her as being a bad person in any sort of moral sense, but I did find her scary and dangerous and guided by thought processes that did not seem to come from any sort of reality shared by other human beings.

When I say that someone is crazy, I don’t mean “I thought that their emotions were shrill and unreasonable”, I mean “being around this person made me terrified for my life”.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:34 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I personally don't think it is strictly gendered,I think it happens to anyone who isn't a white male. But yeah, you know how some "nice guy" is always saying you date assholes? It is because your boyfriend is always calling you crazy when you aren't around. I'm always saying to asshole guys at the bar "if all these women you date are so crazy, what does that say about you?"
posted by Ad hominem at 1:35 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


t's not uncommon to hear, "That's why you don't stick it in the crazy."

I am 35 and have never heard this in my entire life. This guy is hanging out with jerks.


I've heard it, a lot, on the internet. Reddit, younger people I work with, etc. Its a 'thing'. Sadly.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:36 PM on November 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


The question I have is how does one legitimately suggest to a woman she has issues severe enough they need addressing?

If somebody, man or woman, has legitimate issues then there's a specific word for them already and it's not "crazy".
posted by mhoye at 1:37 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of a Tina Fey thing I once read (possibly from Bossypants?) about how female comedians who are no longer fuckable get labeled "crazy".

I'd be especially curious about what Jo Brand thinks of that idea.
posted by Sara C. at 1:38 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've been in a relationship with the SO for two decades or so. when I overreact, she calls me on it, and vice versa. then we talk through it. I've got particular things that I do in fact overreact to, and she's absolutely right to call me out on that stuff. not only is it not disrespectful or bad, it helps make me a better person to get some perspective.

Then good for you, and I'm glad your relationship is working so well. But that seems a world away from what the writer admits he was doing:
When the woman I was dating would try to explain to me how the way I treated her felt, I would tell her that she was seeing things. She was overreacting to inconsequential stuff. She was being over-sensitive, reading things into what I was saying or doing that just weren't there.

The subtext to everything I was saying was simple: "You are behaving in a way that I find inconvenient, and I want to you to stop." I wasn't willing to engage with her emotionally and address her very real concerns because I was too wrapped up in my own shit to think about other people. As a result, I would minimize her issues.
He's not saying "here is what anyone who ever uses the word 'overreacting' with a romantic partner is doing." He's saying "when I was accusing my girlfriend of overreacting, this is what I was doing - and I'm not the only one."
posted by Catseye at 1:39 PM on November 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Problem With Labeling Women 'Crazy'

One problem is that men appear to be 'crazier':
Evidence suggests sex differences in schizophrenia reflect differences in both neurodevelopmental processes and social effects on disease risk and course. Male:female incidence approximates 1.4:1 but at older onset women predominate. Prevalence differences appear smaller. Men have poorer premorbid adjustment and present with worse negative and less depressive symptoms than women, which may explain their worse medium term outcome according to a range of measures. Substance abuse is a predominantly male activity in this group, as elsewhere. Findings of sex differences in brain morphology are inconsistent but occur in areas that normally show sexual dimorphism, implying that the same factors are important drivers of sex differences in both normal neurodevelopmental processes and those associated with schizophrenia.
posted by jamjam at 1:40 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been in a relationship with the SO for two decades or so. when I overreact, she calls me on it, and vice versa

I'm sure you're aware that the article, and wider discussion around women being labelled crazy/irrational/over-emotional and thus not suited to particular professions, opinions etc, is bigger that just your particular relationship. So while I'm happy that you have found what works for you, it does not mean that in general this is not A Thing.
posted by billiebee at 1:40 PM on November 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


When I say that someone is crazy, I don’t mean “I thought that their emotions were shrill and unreasonable”, I mean “being around this person made me terrified for my life”.

It's funny, I had a relationship with a guy who made me feel that way. But somehow I'm still labelled the crazy one!

(not to discount your experience, of course, just comparing it to my own)
posted by troika at 1:40 PM on November 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I dated a crazy girl once and then she went to the doctor and she was diagnosed with BPD. Seriously. Anyway, this was such a shit article I'm not even going to dignify anything in it with a response. This reads like an op-ed that should run in Highlights Magazine.

But I will say. If you do have someone crazy in your life, maybe you should show some compassion. When guys call women crazy, it's usually to push them out of their lives (maybe sometimes because they themselves are not emotionally mature enough to be in a relationship despite having plunged in headlong for the sex) but then provide everyone else with a more socially acceptable reason for moving on.

"I'm not ready to act like an adult the way she wants me to" just doesn't have the same ring to it.
posted by phaedon at 1:43 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


When guys call women crazy, it's usually to push them out of their lives (maybe sometimes because they're not emotionally mature enough to be in a relationship) but then provide everyone else with a more socially acceptable reason for moving on.

My experience with getting called crazy was "she's crazy to leave me" but other than that, yes. It's shorthand for "she has no valid reason to behave in the way I don't like".
posted by immlass at 1:45 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm mostly with you, Sequence, but as another diagnosed-and-medicated person, I don't use the word "crazy" to talk about my (sadly unmedicated) family members. I say they're "abusive" or "dangerous" or "toxic to my health." Because it's not their (or my) mental illness that requires me to maintain a 1000-mile distance: it's their skill at making me feel like shit and treating me poorly, and my reluctance to put out the effort to protect myself when in contact.

Huh, I thought this was going to be terser than it ended up.
posted by Jesse the K at 1:45 PM on November 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


So I have to wonder why you felt the need to write off the article this way. Almost like you were saying the author was crazy.

I know this one is tongue in cheek, but the smugly prissy passive aggression of this kind of comment drives me craz--
...
makes me grumpy
posted by Sebmojo at 1:46 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


[Flag and move on, folks. If you want to talk about the thread, you know where to do it.]
posted by restless_nomad at 1:47 PM on November 15, 2013


Women: "Women are frequently accused by men of being crazy in order to discount perfectly legitimate emotional responses"

Men: "But one time I met a woman who was SUPER CRAZY though!"
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:47 PM on November 15, 2013 [89 favorites]


Jesus people, of course mentally unstable people exist, of all sexes and genders, but that does not mean specifically calling women "crazy" doesn't have a long misogynistic history and is incredibly problematic.

start reading books and listening to our elders again.

Would these be the elders that thought "hysteria" was a thing? That decided lobotomies were great treatments for people (especially women and minorities, fancy that) who didn't conform to societal roles?
posted by kmz at 1:49 PM on November 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


Nope, totally not gendered.

Jezebel: On Calling Women 'Crazy'
So I've been seeing this chick and she's kinda crazy. These are words that tell a lot about the speaker. Barring truly rare circumstances — she's kinda crazy, she has amphetamine psychosis and unplugged her fridge because that's where the secret messages come from, she's kinda crazy, she has come to believe that she is made of glass and is having iron bars sewn into all her clothing, Charles VI-style, so she won't shatter — the observer is rarely sharing his empathetic assessment of a romantic partner's mental health. Rather, in the man's own telling, it virtually always seems that the woman is responding in a normal, human way to some kind of stimuli from him. And getting called "crazy" for it.
The Gloss: Lady, You Really Aren’t "Crazy"
What men mean when they talk about their "crazy" ex-girlfriend is often that she was someone who cried a lot, or texted too often, or had an eating disorder, or wanted too much/too little sex, or generally felt anything beyond the realm of emotionally undemanding agreement.
And previously on MeFi.
posted by divined by radio at 1:50 PM on November 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


Would these be the elders that thought "hysteria" was a thing? That decided lobotomies were great treatments for people (especially women and minorities, fancy that) who didn't conform to societal roles?

Hey, round of applause for the fall of the patriarchy and the rise of Harris O'Malley and his Twitter account. We've oppressed people in their underwear writing blog posts for far too long.
posted by phaedon at 1:51 PM on November 15, 2013


i'm 32 and i've been hearing "don't stick your dick in crazy" since i was a teenager - sometimes directed to my face, as in - "i can't date you, i don't stick my dick in crazy" or "i knew i shouldn't have fucked you cuz you're not supposed to stick your dick in crazy." heard it so much about me or other women that i finally just started responding with, "if a guy is continually sticking his dick in crazy, than he is crazy too. sane guys don't don't put up with what you're describing even for 'great sex'."

i may be crazy (as in, actually mentally ill, but well managed these days) but i have very rarely been the only mentally ill one in a relationship, although, i have dated a bunch of guys who liked to pretend i was.
posted by nadawi at 1:51 PM on November 15, 2013 [7 favorites]



One problem is that men appear to be 'crazier'

It doesn't come up as much because we don't call crazy men 'crazy' for the most part.

We call them 'homeless' or 'dead by suicide'.
posted by dragoon at 1:53 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I use crazy in a positive sense more often than in a negative sense
posted by Bwithh at 1:58 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm 30, and hearing "don't stick your dick in crazy" is extremely common.
posted by zug at 2:01 PM on November 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Hey, round of applause for the fall of the patriarchy

That's sweet, but don't pop that cork just yet! It looks like we still can't even talk about some obvious and well-known stuff - women get called crazy to dismiss them, no really! - without men getting all defensive. Who'da thunk?
posted by billiebee at 2:05 PM on November 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


gaslighting sucks, let's not do it to anybody.
posted by gorestainedrunes at 2:06 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


i read this the other day.

i've debated getting involved in this discussion but here's my two cents.

i've been seeing a nice guy for a few months.
i've done some things that i referred to as "cray cray" to my two girl BFFs. what i was doing was having typical emotional reactions to possibly being in a "real" relationship and asking that my needs be met.

and you know what? this nice guy validated my needs and never has once in any way acted like the way *I* was acting was in any way crazy or weird or anything.

he didn't do hand wavey stuff or pretend to listen like my ex did or act like doing what i needed was a burden or something he didn't understand (say hi to me when you come home? really it's hard to do that?)

this nice guy ACTUALLY listens and sometimes then shares his own fucking thoughts and feelings and experiences.

who knew this happened? not me.

in fact, guys that do that are so rare that it's taken me months to realize that no, this isn't a game, he's not just "pretending", there's not a shoe waiting to drop. i mean, i'm still a bit skeptical, because really, it's all just so strange to have a Genuine Nice Guy(TM). he's not fast tracking me, he's not bringing up anytime i've gotten emotional or upset or scared as a reason to back off emotionally or physically, he's available, and emotionally mature. he's just reliable and consistent and THERE.

i'm sure someone will read this and be all "well, you've posted on here about anxiety and ADHD and stuff you probably were crazy to your ex." well, once i left the ex (of 6 long years) that thought i was crazy, i lost 30 pounds and have been told by people who've known for me 15 years that i am the happiest and most fulfilled they've ever seen me. i don't needs meds to manage my anxiety anymore. go figure.

being told you're irrational and that your needs are invalid, whether implicitly or explicitly, is soul crushing. and unfortunately, the people that do it are generally emotionally immature or scarred themselves. it's a vicious circle. and i think the writer makes it clear that no one should be called crazy.
posted by sio42 at 2:07 PM on November 15, 2013 [38 favorites]


So what does "crazy" actually mean anymore, and when is it ever acceptable to use it? If no one should ever use "crazy" to describe actual mental health issues, and no one should use it figuratively to describe behaviors/beliefs that seem inexplicable or irrational but don't actually rise to the level of serious mental illness, when should anyone ever use the word "crazy" anymore? Maybe it's only useful and respectable now to use it to express awe (as in, "Crazy, man!")?

(I'm on-board with the general message here, but I also think it's a little reductionist and simplistic, and likely to be misinterpreted by literal-minded idiots.)
posted by saulgoodman at 2:11 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Personal definitions:

Crazy means inexplicable behaviour. If I cannot understand why someone would want to achieve their goal or what thought process led them to think that way of behaving was a good means to their end, I might call what they are doing crazy.

Behaviour resulting from mental illness is crazy in the sense that it is not well connected to that person's values and character. The explanation for what they are doing is bad brain chemicals (Vonnegut). Analysis of the person's arguments is likely to be less fruitful than therapy and medication.

Crazy as used to gaslight women indicates a deliberate failure to understand.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:14 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I went to an online dictionary to get a definition of crazy. There are three:

1-mad, especially as manifested in wild or aggressive behaviour
2-extremely enthusiastic
3-(of an angle) appearing absurdly out of place or unlikely

I'm happy enough to stick to the latter two uses. But what made me laughcry was the example used to illustrate the first one... "Stella went crazy and assaulted a visitor"
Ah, you couldn't make it up.
posted by billiebee at 2:15 PM on November 15, 2013


That's sweet, but don't pop that cork just yet! It looks like we still can't even talk about some obvious and well-known stuff - women get called crazy to dismiss them, no really! - without men getting all defensive. Who'da thunk?

Is getting all defensive what I'm doing? Thanks for letting me know. I didn't realize you knew how I was feeling. :D
posted by phaedon at 2:16 PM on November 15, 2013


(And I don't mean to trivialize the subject, as someone who's both been called "crazy" and felt the profound existential panic the word can bring on when used seriously, and who's still in the habit of using the word to mean "unbelievable" or "wrong," but really, has the word outlived its use? I feel like I'm too old to train myself never to use it now.)
posted by saulgoodman at 2:16 PM on November 15, 2013


being told you're irrational and that your needs are invalid, whether implicitly or explicitly, is soul crushing

Oh god, yes, this.

Also, I am content being not-okay with the concept of "overreaction." In general, I assume people have feelings for reasons. If those feelings seem out of proportion to me, then the question becomes "What else is this tied to?" That is interesting. Saying "QUASH BAD FEELING" instead just seems ... shallow.
posted by dame at 2:17 PM on November 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


The question I have is how does one legitimately suggest to a woman she has issues severe enough they need addressing?

Just like you would for a man, but add "Baby" at the end of every sentence.
posted by Catch at 2:18 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


We call them 'homeless' or 'dead by suicide'.

...or incarcerated. Or abusive. And becoming any of these, regardless of the consequences of others, is not a privilege, it's a horror.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 2:19 PM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just like you would for a man, but add "Baby" at the end of every sentence.

The road to hell is paved with legitimate suggestions.
posted by phaedon at 2:19 PM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've heard it, a lot, on the internet

i'm 32 and i've been hearing "don't stick your dick in crazy" since i was a teenager

I'm 30, and hearing "don't stick your dick in crazy" is extremely common.


Ugh, I felt so much better thinking it was just some assholes this guy surrounded himself with. Usually I'm not this disappointed with people until well into rainy season. I'm gonna go drink beer and play videogames and not think about people for a while.
posted by Hoopo at 2:20 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just like you would for a man, but add "Baby" at the end of every sentence.

Now I'm having Austin Powers flashbacks.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:21 PM on November 15, 2013


I'd also like to interject that while the overwhelming majority of physical abuse in relationships is committed by men, there are many studies indicating that emotional abuse is committed almost equally by male and female partners, and is often, but not always, part of a mutually abusive relationship.

Which is to say, that unless we're hearing about violence in a relationship, whenever any of our friends tells us that their partner is being horrible for xyz reason, we ought to assume that regardless of the alleged abusers gender, the accusations are equally likely to be true. We should also assume that it's possible that the person confiding in us is part of the problem. From that viewpoint only is it reasonable to begin assessing the situation based on what we know of the people involved.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 2:26 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite things about the TV show Homeland is how the main character really is crazy. Or at least she's severely bipolar and periods where she's off her medications and manic are a recurring plot point. She's regularly dismissed as "crazy" when in fact she's right. Then again sometimes she really is just being crazy. All in all it depicts the intoxicating appeal of mania in a way that seems pretty interesting for a TV heroine.
posted by Nelson at 2:27 PM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's the sense I got - he grew up, had a revelation, and is now reborn & sharing it. Which isn't a bad thing, since if his mindset exists, others have it too. He can now teach a new generation of men to date with dignity. He coulda been a PUA!

Could've been a PUA? Could've been?!?!

Mr. Harris O'Malley is none other than Dr. NerdLove!!!

And with his help, you will get laid tonight.
posted by Bort at 2:28 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


> i've done some things that i referred to as "cray cray" to my two girl BFFs. what i was doing was having typical emotional reactions to possibly being in a "real" relationship and asking that my needs be met.

Yeah, that's definitely the other side of this: women internalising the dynamic enough that they'll view having their own wishes/preferences/aims in a relationship as evidence of Being Crazy. All those depressing AskMe questions: "I want [totally legitimate thing to want from a relationship] but my boyfriend doesn't, how can I be less crazy/needy/clingy/emotional about this?" It is the myth of the Cool Girlfriend, the ideal opposite of the Crazy Girlfriend. It is awful and toxic, and thanks to cultural narratives like this, it is such an easy trap to slip into.
posted by Catseye at 2:29 PM on November 15, 2013 [44 favorites]


Calling someone crazy is like calling them whiny. Are there people who are super goddamn whiny? Yes, but telling someone "you're just being whiny" when they voice a complaint is usually more of a reflection on the person saying it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:30 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


When the woman I was dating would try to explain to me how the way I treated her felt, I would tell her that she was seeing things. She was overreacting to inconsequential stuff. She was being over-sensitive, reading things into what I was saying or doing that just weren't there. The subtext to everything I was saying was simple: "You are behaving in a way that I find inconvenient, and I want to you to stop."

Just a reminder that the theme of the article is not domestic violence or genuine mental health issues, but men labelling women as crazy because it gives them a bona fide reason not to listen to them.
posted by billiebee at 2:40 PM on November 15, 2013 [14 favorites]


…sane guys don't don't put up with what you're describing even for 'great sex'."

“No, no, darling. Because you’re crazy.”
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 2:44 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Men use gender specific derogatory remarks as a way of trying to maintain male dominance and to undermine women. These words are very specifically chosen for effect.
posted by manoffewwords at 3:14 PM on November 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


"Don't stick your dick in crazy" has been a cultural thing for at least a decade. I first encountered a version of it in an early season of Arrested Development — though, to be fair, Kitty Sanchez is legitimately psychotic and George Bluth is not exactly a guy whose viewpoint you sympathize much with regardless. In high school and college the phrase was used overwhelmingly to mean "this girl/woman thinks that she deserves more out of me than I'm willing to offer, and it is cuh-RAZY that she's overstepping our boundaries! Yikers!"

The real problem, of course, is that relationships are difficult things, and the fact that they're so inextricably entwined with having/not having sex means that for both genders, physical/emotional relationships can be scary, confusing things. There's a particular pressure on young men to lose their virginity, get laid frequently, and sort of feel pride about who they've been able to have sex with, and that pressure mixes with the whole objectification-of-women thing already going on to produce people who are interested in sleeping with women that they don't want to get to know all that well. Then when those women assume, like, the possibility of friendship or even romance, the guys react like "Whoa! What the hell are these sex objects doing to act like they get to get in the way of me and my video game time!"

I have a friend, and a fairly close-ish one, who had this exact relationship with his girlfriend of three years. They weren't entirely emotionally detached, and there was some amount of affability between them, but my friend had it in his head that at any point he could decide he wanted to be alone for an evening and, without telling her this, she would just have to play along and wait for him to want her again. He'd cancel dates, hide out in his room, and refuse to answer phone calls or let her into his apartment. And he thought this was completely normal behavior! The few times that I tried to bring it up with him he flipped an astonishing shit, and would usually end up yelling at me that GIRLS get to have all the emotional space they need, why can't HE? In his mind he was dating somebody who was either emotionally immature or mentally unwell, and it was kind of unnerving to see him go about his life as if this was a perfectly fair way to carry on in a long-term relationship.

My genuine belief is that this is not an intentional manipulation on most guys' parts. (Except for pick-up artists, who I don't trust whatsoever.) There's a strong media/cultural push for men to think of relationships in a certain way, and that way precludes any kind of commitment or loving or even respect. And men kind of assume that women have been taught to think of this set-up the exact same way. It's why "nice guys" assume they deserve sex, and it's why men who get flirted with or just form friendships with women often get furious that they're not getting laid out of it. It definitely took me a good long time to realize that it's hilariously fucked-up to think of women that way, but when you're a guy growing up surrounded by guys who all think this way as well, it's hard to accept that maybe all of you are being completely ridiculous at the same time. I'm sure that for people who commit to a certain social circle early on and don't leave, it's possible to live your entire life without recognizing how messed up this all is.

What this all amounts to is I completely agree with this article, although I feel some empathy for the guys who perpetuate this harmful bullshit. I was one of them not an awfully long time ago. But that empathy is sort of dampened by the many conversations I've had with bright young women who are utterly convinced by the kind of crap like this that they've heard over their lives. Hearing somebody use their considerable intelligence to point out, perfectly logically, all the evidence from what people have told them over their lives that suggest there might be something wrong with them, and realizing that they've put up with so much of this nonsense throughout their lives without many people telling them otherwise, has been profoundly infuriating and depressing. What empathy I've got for the guys in this equation is nothing compared to the frustration I feel with the hurt they inflict on the women in their lives, knowingly or otherwise.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:21 PM on November 15, 2013 [31 favorites]


All I know is this guy managed to misappropriate Freud and talk about Space Mountain and tequila shots all in one sentence. I'm afraid if I call this guy crazy, the liberal universe will collapse onto itself and we will all be wormholed into pre-Mao China, forced to live the rest of our days as pre-internet concubines. Thank God the way Huffington Post pays its writers with "exposure and prestige" has not driven away professional journalists and has had no impact on quality of content.
posted by phaedon at 3:22 PM on November 15, 2013


I'm just going to say these things:

- There are men and women who need a form of help very different than what a good relationship (of the ~intimate sort) could reasonably provide, where the plausibly dysfunctional aspects of these people would weigh too heavily on a relationship and bring it off balance. Whether that help be from a psychologist/psychiatrist, some community organization, or something else, whatever help it is would be more sustainable and more effective to the point of not needing it indefinitely (whereas a relationship of the type inferred here hopefully goes on for life, or at least a good long time).

- If the 'normal'/majority bunch of men and women would work a little bit harder to not drop the crazy card or the 'you're dismissing something' card or whatever other card there is that distracts from the original problem (whatever that is in a given point), I want to believe that women would be relieved of some of the misogynist rooted reactions. This assumes that neither the man nor woman is the problem of focus. Rather some thing or an idea, etc.

I say this knowing yes, there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that men have been overpowering and still are overpowering, and that there may be some momentum, not building, certainly withering away, but not gone yet.

This is tough stuff, where the only certain thing is that we're slowly getting better at it.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 3:30 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rory Marinich: "to produce people who are interested in sleeping with women that they don't want to get to know all that well"

It's worth pointing out that there's nothing wrong with this, as long as you're not being emotionally manipulative to get it.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:47 PM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


One thing I really appreciate about this article is that he is not explaining to women in a condescending way something many of us already know because we have experienced it: either being directly called crazy for our legitimate reactions or just the general societal message that the feelings, reactions and stories of women are less trustworthy than those of men. Rather than explain all of this to women or contribute nothing new to the discussion about the gendered nature of the way we talk about rationality and "crazy" in a relationship context that feminists have been having for decades, he provides some insight into his own reasons for using "crazy" shorthand and a glimpse into why many men may do this on an individual level.

Why society needs women to be "crazy" is something else though related. Individual dudes may not be trying to replicate patriarchy, they're just using a convenient deflection but it is a strategy they absorbed from surrounding cultural messages same as women did.
posted by Danila at 3:52 PM on November 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


i'm a huge supporter of no strings attached sex, but it seems a weird quote to pull from rory's whole comment to make sure we all know there's nothing wrong with it...
posted by nadawi at 3:53 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Is getting all defensive what I'm doing? Thanks for letting me know. I didn't realize you knew how I was feeling. :D

This seems like an awfully defensive way to say that you're not getting defensive.
posted by kagredon at 4:00 PM on November 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


That was not the meaning I took from that comment, I thought it had to do with throwing the word "crazy" around

I'd tend to agree with you, but variants on "this is a problem when it happens to anyone" are an eerily common refrain in discussions about sexism and other negative phenomena that are most commonly and pointedly visited upon women because they're women.

I absolutely agree that misapplication of the word "crazy" is an issue regardless of the gender of the person on the receiving end, but that's not what the article was about -- it just struck me as an odd thing to say because the sexist use of the term is what's specifically being discussed in the link. The existence of gendered phenomena doesn't negate the existence of non-gendered phenomena, but not a lot of other FPPs see "it's problematic no matter who it happens to" right out of the gate like that, so I apologize if my knee jerked a bit too hard when I saw it.

Here's part of a great comment from Bunny Ultramod on this topic that might help folks understand why use of the word "crazy" specifically as applied to women is especially rankling, and even uniquely objectionable.
"Crazy" has been used against women in a way that it hasn't been used against men. It was, in fact, one of the centerpiece arguments designed to keep women out of power -- that they couldn't be trusted with really significant decisions, because they are biologically at the mercy of unreasonable emotions.
posted by divined by radio at 4:06 PM on November 15, 2013 [27 favorites]


This misses the second part of the standard narrative "boys are dumb, girls are crazy" which further exacerbates the issue by somehow excusing men of being callus and irresponsible when dealing with emotions. "Of course he said you were being irrational. Boys are dumb." The encouragement of men to act emotionally unintelligent through this makes emotions all the more crazier.
posted by Hactar at 4:08 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


This seems like an awfully defensive way to say that you're not getting defensive.

LOL, totally. I mean, if I say anything else slightly edgy again in this thread, do I open myself up to further claims of defensiveness? Because for a thread about reducing people to dismissive mental or emotional reactions, that would just be too good. I'm going to bow out before someone drops the word "mansplain."

In all seriousness, it's tough to talk about these things and truly break the dynamic. What could possibly arouse more animosity than animosity itself. My hat goes off to anyone who has their heart in the right place, both in terms of personal matters and wider social affairs. The rest is ego and entertainment.
posted by phaedon at 4:34 PM on November 15, 2013


In the mid twentieth century, the 'crazy woman' card was played as a last resort because there were so many other forms of power and control men regularly exercised over women. When all else failed, women were threatened with--or actually endured--arbitrary institutionalization.

I think the use of that vulgar phrase that people under 35 say they have been hearing for a decade or so is evidence that the power gap between men and women is not as wide today as it was formerly. Because women now are earning nearly equal money, have reproductive choice (at least for now), often they don't have to depend on men for those things. In order to maintain dominance, men now use this crude threat of withholding any kind of relationship as a way of intimidating women into behaving agreeably. It's the same power game by the same patriarchy and, sadly, the boys as well as the girls are taught to play it before they know what's happening. We need more education, more equality, more emotional awareness.
posted by Anitanola at 4:40 PM on November 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm just saying, man, if a woman were to do the passive-aggressive, catty, "It's not like I really care but here's why you're the wrongest person to ever wrong" performance art that has been your contribution to the thread, I think you know what she'd be called. Maybe that's the joke?
posted by kagredon at 4:40 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ugh, I felt so much better thinking it was just some assholes this guy surrounded himself with. Usually I'm not this disappointed with people until well into rainy season. I'm gonna go drink beer and play videogames and not think about people for a while.

Yeah, it's a thing. I mean, the character in question is the biggest PUA possible, it's the joke, but it's mostly treated as kind of adorable.
posted by BungaDunga at 4:40 PM on November 15, 2013


I had a friend whose husband spent years gaslighting her into thinking she was crazy, needed therapy, was not talking sense. This is one of the most together women I've ever met, loved by everyone who knows her, has a full time job and is literally at the top of her industry (awards, etc) while running a business but HE is telling HER that she's nuts.

This from a man who, once she had had enough and tried to leave him, tried every manipulative play in the book, up to and including threatening to kill himself if she left. But SHE was the crazy one.

It was right out of that comic where a couple goes to therapy. The husband is overbearing and tyrannical and unable to accept responsibility for anything that's gone wrong. They're in couples therapy, the therapist asks the woman what the problem is and the husband jumps right in and yells "What's wrong? SHE'S crazy. YOU fix her."

Assholes all the way down.
posted by nevercalm at 4:44 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Women are all too often labeled/dismissed as "crazy" when they're having normal emotional responses that their partner doesn't want to deal with. But the problem with this whole genre of article is how it invites people with genuine mental health issues (or just severe neurosis) to say "I'm not crazy! You're gaslighting me!" I know very few people who need *more* reasons to dismiss those who question their behavior.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 4:51 PM on November 15, 2013


" It's a lot easier to dismiss someone as 'crazy' when you're already primed to think of their desires as coming out of a place of reactive, hormone-driven emotion, whereas yours are coming from a plane of pure objective logic."

Which dovetails with the piece we were talking about the other day here where seeing someone naked makes you think of them as less rational and more emotional/sensitive.
posted by klangklangston at 4:54 PM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I find that if you really want to destroy a person who is acting against their best interests or hurting others, calmly explaining the evidence to them in neutral terms is the best way to go.

Calling someone 'crazy' to themselves or others is quite insufficient.
posted by poe at 5:03 PM on November 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


A few doors down, we've got an fpp about this Lookadoo guy who gets invited to schools to talk to kids about dating and he's all "Girls are so emotional! Us non-emotional guys love that about you!"

So on the one hand I guess I'm happy that there are people who are apparently completely unaware of the long history of specifically gendered use of "crazy" (used to be "hysterical") and understand it to mean something different. But on the other hand, that history exists, and is explicitly being perpetuated, and I don't think it does anybody any good to either remain ignorant of that or pretend it doesn't exist.
posted by rtha at 5:10 PM on November 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


I'm just saying, man, if a woman were to do the passive-aggressive, catty, "It's not like I really care but here's why you're the wrongest person to ever wrong" performance art that has been your contribution to the thread, I think you know what she'd be called. Maybe that's the joke?

Goodness, I hope that's not the joke. And I'm just going to pretend you didn't just double-down on the name calling. It should at the very least amuse you that you continue to use the same rhetorical devices the original article dismisses as inappropriate. Namely, reducing someone else to a caricature of what they actually think. Why am I biting at such low-hanging fruit? Who knows. That's just like, your opinion, man. I'm sure at the end of the day we all seek the same ends, and the wider problem I describe probably falls at the feet of teh anonymous internetz. More often than not, participation in threads like this involves a feigning interest in actual resolution from multiple parties. We smack each other around in disagreement for a couple of hours, and then a few cat videos come down to the pipeline. Free market sanity.

Anyway, changing the subject. I'm kind of curious how deep these stereotypes go. I was watching an old movie on cable access yesterday, and the woman was portrayed as being sexually out-of-control and the man was avoiding her advances. I didn't watch the whole movie and I wonder if I was watching a comedy or if this was a real thing. I don't have enough film studies under my belt to think any which way, but it seems like at one point men might have portrayed as "being in control," and maybe this feeds into the "crazy" legacy.

These days, honestly? I find the reverse to be true. I find a lot of my male peers being the crazy ones. Wild, boyish sexual urges, extremely delayed maturity, sometimes well into their 30's. That "having deep emotions" and "wanting commitment" is what man-boys in all seriousness call crazy. Maybe this is an awful reduction of a lot of things that are going on. But my understanding of the madonna-whore complex is that it does not describe wider, group interactions, but rather a deeply personal, sexual phenomenon. Wiki describes it as "Where such men love, they have no desire, and where they desire, they cannot love."

I think this is pervasive. And insofar as you buy into Freudian psychology, this is arguably a far deeper, self-destructive form of craziness than, you know, "women being crazy."
posted by phaedon at 5:13 PM on November 15, 2013


I absolutely believe all of the article's points. "You're crazy", "you're being irrational", "you're just hormonal", all that shit is culturally loaded with manipulations, gaslighting, and outright marginalization with the singular purpose of oppressing women. If they were too unmanageable, off they go to the sanitarium. The history of those institutions is horrifying, with state-sanctioned rape to cure "hysteria", overmedication, and emotional and physical torture. I do not call women crazy or irrational or hormonal, even when maybe they are, because the overall cultural legacy is much more important and fraught than any specific or isolated case.

It poses an interesting problem for me lately, because I don't have the easy words to describe recent experiences. To be clear, that is not anyone else's problem. I'm a big boy, I can handle it. But if I am avoiding not simply the words but the general implication, because the archetype of "the crazy ex" is incredibly dismissive when it's not actively damaging and hurts far more people than any individual situation hurts me, it does make it difficult to work through some of those issues.

But, like I said, I can take care of myself and figure something out. I have a lot of sympathy for the guys who are grappling with this stuff and measuring against their own experiences. The thing about a situation like the legitimately disordered ex-partner is that it is an outlier, a very memorable and persistent one, with traumas that can extend far beyond the normal recovery period of a broken relationship. I get it, and we do need to find ways to express our feelings constructively about those kinds of relationships and events. But what we need to not do is let any genuinely painful situation become social cover for the real fucking assholes out there to execute the usual campaigns of abuse and neglect.

I'm willing to bet a lot of us have had some version of this conversation:

Decent Person: Yeah, my crazy ex. Glad to be done with her.

Horrible Douchebag 1: Bitches, am I right?

Horrible Douchebag 2: They're all fucking crazy.

Decent Person: Um, no, not all women, just her, and not even at first, and there was some good stuff too, and...

But it's already too late. You inadvertently reinforce that structural prejudice, your singular experience now just one more datapoint in the idiot's analysis of all women everywhere. That's the problem with using the culturally loaded term. Sure, it's easier, but it carries that baggage, and you can't get rid of the baggage by insisting that your case is special, because you didn't make it special. There's no nuance available once you lean on the stereotypes.

Even though some meaning of "she's crazy" may be accurate, the real bad ones are far more hurtful and come to the surface much more quickly because of their historical weight and latent presence in our culture. I feel y'all, but men made the situation this complicated, so it's kind of our job to figure out a solution, because you know what the jerks are going to say about any woman who advances one.
posted by Errant at 5:14 PM on November 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


Women are all too often labeled/dismissed as "crazy" when they're having normal emotional responses that their partner doesn't want to deal with. But the problem with this whole genre of article is how it invites people with genuine mental health issues (or just severe neurosis) to say "I'm not crazy! You're gaslighting me!" I know very few people who need *more* reasons to dismiss those who question their behavior.

Do you have any evidence you can point to that there's an actual cause and effect relationship here?
posted by kagredon at 5:20 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


But the problem with this whole genre of article is how it invites people with genuine mental health issues (or just severe neurosis) to say "I'm not crazy! You're gaslighting me!" I know very few people who need *more* reasons to dismiss those who question their behavior.

"Genre of article"? Perhaps it's less that than more a lot of different people observing the same phenomenon, and writing about it. I can't say I'm too worried about the threat this poses to treating actual mental illness.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:21 PM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you're involved with someone who is having real mental health issues, the appropriate way to deal with it is to have a sensitive conversation about how you care about them and that you think they would be able to get to a better place with therapy/etc and how you're going to help them get that if they want it. Not to get into an argument and call them crazy and expect them to take it somehow as a serious call to change.

"Crazy" as applied to the ex situation is almost never really a synonym for "has a mental health disorder". I mean, there's some overlap, but I was smitten once with a girl who was borderline; she's not one of my crazy exes, because she never made a deliberate effort to hurt me, physically or emotionally. Clearly there are a fair number of people who use it to mean "had feelings in an inconvenient way". An absence of articles mentioning this is not going to turn this into a good way to let your partner (or former partner) know about treatment options.
posted by Sequence at 5:45 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the article:
There are certain words that are [sometimes] applied to women specifically in order to manipulate them into compliance: "slut," "bitch," "ugly/fat" and, of course, "crazy."

From a comment:
[Some] Men use gender specific derogatory remarks as a way of trying to maintain male dominance and to undermine women. These words are very specifically chosen for effect.

Quantifiers, people.

Quantifiers are your friends.

Without a quantifier, claims like this are naturally interpreted as universal quantifications, as in "lions are carnivores."

Do men use the word 'crazy' to manipulate women into compliance? There's no way to answer that question, because it's ambiguous as between a universal and an existential quantification. Some do (I'm told), some don't. Those of us who don't can legitimately object when the quantifier is left off, thus suggesting that we do.

(Also, a separate point: in the vernacular, "crazy" doesn't necessarily mean has a disorder in the DSM. I've known crazy people of both sexes who may very well not have any official disorder. They were just nuts. A good friend of mine has an ex who is crazy. Really, really crazy. We say this of her when we discuss her and her craziness, which he is forced to deal with because of offspring-related issues. We don't say it to her, we don't say it to manipulate her, we say it because it is the truth. My father is also crazy. Totally fucking crazy. Dangerous crazy. Evil crazy. Does he have anything in the DSM? I don't know. I don't care.

I'll take people's word for it that some men use e.g. 'crazy' to e.g. manipulate women, that it's common enough to warrant articles on it, and that it's more common for men to do it to women than vice-versa. That sucks. They're assholes. I've never seen it, but, then, I don't hang out with assholes.[)]
posted by Fists O'Fury at 5:55 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do men use the word 'crazy' to manipulate women into compliance?

SIGNS POINT TO YES
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:00 PM on November 15, 2013 [28 favorites]


Do [some] men use the word 'crazy' to manipulate women into compliance?

SIGNS POINT TO YES


FIFY
posted by Fists O'Fury at 6:07 PM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the use of that vulgar phrase that people under 35 say they have been hearing for a decade or so is evidence that the power gap between men and women is not as wide today as it was formerly. Because women now are earning nearly equal money, have reproductive choice (at least for now), often they don't have to depend on men for those things. In order to maintain dominance, men now use this crude threat of withholding any kind of relationship as a way of intimidating women into behaving agreeably. It's the same power game by the same patriarchy

I've been hearing it for a decade or so, and I've never heard it mean any of that. AFAIK it's always been some way of saying "think with your big brain, not the little one" - don't start something with someone who you don't actually want in your life, just because you're horny and not thinking beyond getting laid.
It's using crazy as an umbrella term for both meainings - of mental illness, and/or inconveniently emotional (any emotion is inconvenient if you didn't actually intend to start something) - but not in some sense of being a new tactic to preserve dominance or finding new ways to oppress the newly independent. Someone who is independent is less likely to become Overly Attached Girlfriend, and so if anything this advice is suggesting you should be seeking someone independent.
posted by anonymisc at 6:20 PM on November 15, 2013


fwiw the definition of "men" is the plural of "man", it does not mean "all men". When I made my comment earlier about men getting defensive, I did not mean "all the men" (or, conversely, the individual who decided it was just about them). This "please make sure you write SOME men" thing that comes up over and over in these threads is tiring. No one imagines or claims that ALL men do this stuff all the time. But the people who do it are invariably men. So could we maybe just from here on in take the "quantifier" as read? If something about "men" is stated and it doesn't apply to you, then be safe in the knowledge that "men" means "some men" or "other men" or in general the plural of "one man", and don't make us type it out every. goddamn. time.
posted by billiebee at 6:22 PM on November 15, 2013 [14 favorites]


I think the use of that vulgar phrase that people under 35 say they have been hearing for a decade or so

I'm 38, and I first heard it in college.
posted by KathrynT at 6:24 PM on November 15, 2013


FIFY

The quantifier argument is such a needling non-issue I can't believe anyone still seriously makes it. The word "all" isn't in there, either, but there's always a few who leap to this inference anyway. Then instead of actually discussing the subject, it becomes this tedious exercise in what sentences mean, and that no, no one means all men everywhere. It's pretty tired. But then you say you haven't even seen "crazy" used like this, so who knows.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:26 PM on November 15, 2013 [18 favorites]


The reason we don't use a quantifer when we describe sexist interactions is because it becomes too easy for men to absolve themselves of responsibility. By demonizing a class of obviously sexist men and going 'well I'm not as bad as that,' we ignore our own casual internalized misogyny and our cultural power hierarchy over women. Men have the privilege to ignore these inherent power dynamics in every gendered interaction. Women do not. And unless we recognize that because of these dynamics we often create sexism through ignorance and inattention, which is just as damaging as intentional sexism, we are part of the problem.

In other words, your correction of Marisa's comment was incredibly patronizing and sexist, FoF. She knew exactly what she was saying.
posted by Conspire at 6:30 PM on November 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


I think the issue is that saying "sometimes men call women "crazy" in order to shut down their legitimate reactions and men should not do that" is pretty obviously true and doesn't leave much to discuss. Yeah, that's a problem and let us encourage people not do that. Ok, now what?
posted by Justinian at 6:32 PM on November 15, 2013


One of my favorite things about the TV show Homeland is how the main character really is crazy. Or at least she's severely bipolar and periods where she's off her medications and manic are a recurring plot point. She's regularly dismissed as "crazy" when in fact she's right. Then again sometimes she really is just being crazy. All in all it depicts the intoxicating appeal of mania in a way that seems pretty interesting for a TV heroine.

I love Homeland and could talk about Carrie all day. Thought experiment: imagine Carrie doing her job and being treated the way she does by a lot of people, but pretend she isn't bipolar and doesn't struggle with any mental health issues. That's the kind of treatment that many women get every single day in the workplace.

When the show started going down that path, it hit kind of close to home for me. I love my career and constantly work hard at learning new things, understanding things better and trying to find better ways to do things. I know for a fact that I put more time into studying, learning and really trying to understand how things work and why than almost every single one of my dozen or so counterparts. I don't tape all my stuff on the wall like Carrie, but I have stacks and stacks of highlighted newspaper clippings, research reports, studies etc surrounding me and organized by topic in binders and folders. I usually have around 2-5 independent research projects going at once that are not part of my actual job at all, I do it because I love it. I definitely don't think I'm exceptional or the cleverest person around but I listen closely to other people I work with and rarely hear anything from any of them that I don't already know.

So. We have frequent meetings and I can't tell you how many times I've been in a meeting and spoken up to add something that I've put a great deal of thought and consideration to (I never speak off the cuff) and my manager either 1) explains the basic concept of what I'm talking about to me, as if I don't fucking understand even the basic premise of what I'm talking about, or 2) says nothing, and then moves onto discussing something else. I've also seen this happen to some of my other (few) female colleagues. Then one of the guys might say something that is kind of stating an obvious point and he gets a "That's a great point!" from our manager.

This bothers me so much. But I don't know if I'm not being taken seriously or if I'm being too sensitive. And if I'm good at my job and am saying things that make sense or if I'm deluding myself. And there's no good way for me to find out. Because if I ask, that would make me seem a little....crazy, wouldn't it?
posted by triggerfinger at 6:36 PM on November 15, 2013 [14 favorites]


Without a quantifier, claims like this are naturally interpreted as universal quantifications, as in "lions are carnivores."

I find that the only people who make pronouncements like this are people who aren't necessarily afraid such a claim is universal - they're actually more afraid such a claim is about themselves.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:38 PM on November 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


I've been hearing it for a decade or so, and I've never heard it mean any of that. AFAIK it's always been some way of saying "think with your big brain, not the little one" - don't start something with someone who you don't actually want in your life, just because you're horny and not thinking beyond getting laid.
It's using crazy as an umbrella term for both meainings - of mental illness, and/or inconveniently emotional (any emotion is inconvenient if you didn't actually intend to start something) - but not in some sense of being a new tactic to preserve dominance or finding new ways to oppress the newly independent. Someone who is independent is less likely to become Overly Attached Girlfriend, and so if anything this advice is suggesting you should be seeking someone independent.


Wait, so is it saying "don't sleep with someone you don't want around" or "don't sleep with someone you don't want around because they're crazy"? Your first paragraph seems to imply the first, and the second implies the second.

If it's the first then...okay, I suppose. That has not been my experience of the phrase, but it could be that we've just heard it in different contexts because of regional/demographic differences. The construction of "stick your dick in" is still gendered in a way that kind of raises my eyebrow, but that's not really different from the usual construction of men as the initiators and choosers of sex. Problematic, but in a background-radiation way.

The second interpretation has more to pick apart--there's a clear association of clinginess/being "inconveniently emotional" with being female. I think that, unlike in the first case, that can't be attributed only to the use of "stick your dick in" as a slightly crude and gendered metonym for "have sex with"--as you point out, it's playing right off of things like "Overly Attached Girlfriend". I do think there's a pretty clear way that denies independence to women--it makes men the sole arbitrators of how much emotion is appropriate.
posted by kagredon at 6:40 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hmm, I always figured it was a variation of

"Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom's. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own." Nelson Algren, A Walk on the Wild Side (1956)

Which if you think about it is the sort of advice that everyone followed, well, good luck finding people with exactly as much trouble as you have! But yeah, "don't fuck crazy" sounds ruder, and is probably worse.
posted by hap_hazard at 6:46 PM on November 15, 2013


The (particular, not generic) man refuses to explain what he wants. When the frustrated woman demands an explanation, he calls her "crazy."

Similar: editors and writers, bosses and workers, teachers and students, parents and children. Particular bad, editors, bosses, teachers, and parents. In the latter case, the term of art is usually "immature."
posted by bad grammar at 6:52 PM on November 15, 2013


What's really fun is when you are "crazy". Then people can just dismiss your legitimate reactions to things, and use it to make you doubt yourself even more. It's great when you have an argument with someone who has actually hurt you, and they completely dismiss your hurt as you just being "crazy" again. There is no way to win.

Imagine having some variation of this conversation:

"Hey, this thing you did upset and hurt me."

"Have you missed your medication? Do you need to go see your therapist again?"

Even when the person has good intentions, it starts to make it impossible to bring up any sort of complaint about anything. Eventually, it's hard to tell what reactions are acceptable or not, to the point that it's easier to just not react at all.
posted by madelf at 7:07 PM on November 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


* I've been hearing it for a decade or so, and I've never heard it mean any of that.

I was making an observation about new wrinkles in an age-old game, a side remark only, not an attribution of intent to any of the players. We're all caught in the web our generation weaves until we wise up although, sadly, some people never do. I'm quite certain, however, the phrase is vulgar.
posted by Anitanola at 7:35 PM on November 15, 2013


Yes - hap_hazard probably has the etymology - years ago the phrase I would hear was "Don't stick your dick into anyone crazier than you", and over the years that more often got shortened to "into crazy." I haven't personally heard it used other ways.
posted by anonymisc at 7:37 PM on November 15, 2013


Not sure how much it matters, but I always heard "don't give crazy a baby". I figure that's the older version, because of the slant rhyme. It dovetails with the stereotype of crazy women being wilder or better in bed. So, "fuck them, have your fun, but don't hitch yourself to them". I assume the later metamorphosed version is "don't even fuck them, it's not worth it".

None of which is to say it's not the same old patriarchy, because it is, but that's my theory.
posted by Errant at 8:01 PM on November 15, 2013


There's a strong media/cultural push for men to think of relationships in a certain way, and that way precludes any kind of commitment or loving or even respect.

It's the fact that men are encouraged from birth to consider women to be subhuman, which gives them an extraordinary amount of power in any interaction with female people.

Trying to consider the viewpoint of an inhuman creature is a waste of time. It's perfectly logical in an appalling way.

I now want to watch some alien movies thinking about it as a lens onto gender relations, but it would be too depressing.
posted by winna at 8:01 PM on November 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


"I'm 30, and hearing "don't stick your dick in crazy" is extremely common."

Yeah, I had an awkward moment at dinner a couple nights ago when we were talking about my brother's ex-wife, and she said the, "Don't stick your dick in crazy," and I tried to clarify: I think she's a terrible person, just weirdly cruel and arrogant, but I don't think she's crazy.

Without a quantifier, claims like this are naturally interpreted as universal quantifications, as in "lions are carnivores." "

That's not true at all, certainly not "naturally."

I do think that you've articulated something that I often find baffling and is a recurring miscommunication. When I see a phrase like, "Men use gender specific derogatory remarks as a way of trying to maintain male dominance and to undermine women," I read it as true because a significant number of men do behave that way. Similarly, if asked true or false, I'd say that, "Men ride bicycles" is true. Men do ride bicycles, even if it's obviously nowhere near all men.

Even to move it further into your example, "Men are carnivores," versus, "Men are omnivores." Both of those are true, while still not being entirely descriptive; some men are vegans. Or, if you prefer to remove gender, "Humans are carnivores," or "Humans are omnivores."

That doesn't mean one can't be more correct than the other; "humans are omnivores" is more true than "humans are carnivores," but that doesn't falsify "humans are carnivores," or even really require it to have a quantification.

Am I just more comfortable with ambiguity and context?
posted by klangklangston at 9:02 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thing is, we have different definitions of crazy in our vernacular. There's "thinks weirdly/differently compared to most people," and there's "they seem to be living in a different reality from the rest of us." Crazy doesn't always mean CRAZY, you know?
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:07 PM on November 15, 2013


This is one of those "The patriarchy hurts everyone" things too: labeling all forms of unpleasant behavior as "crazy" devalues legitimate problems. I've known men who have stayed in relationships with cruel, abusive, and at times violent women, because "Hey, they're all crazy, right?" Not only does it remove agency from women ("She can't help it, you know how sensitive they are"), it gives otherwise well meaning men a poor meter of what to expect and when to stand up for themselves in the face of truly nasty behavior.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:01 AM on November 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not a bad article, but why is it in the "women's section" of HuffPo? I have a feeling that most women know this stuff already.

Probably so we can bookmark it and send it to dudes when they ask why we dumped them
posted by NoraReed at 12:08 AM on November 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


It's a matter of being dismissed - that's the part that sets off the inner fury.

Calling a woman "crazy" and then walking past her like she doesn't exist is really no different from dismissing an old person because "everyone old has Alzheimer's" or ignoring a young person because they're "too young to know anything - just another cocky punk kid" or refusing to acknowledge a fat person because they're assumed to be ignorant, lazy and greedy or refusing to wait on a black person because you're a raging racist or ignoring a customer who's Mexican because they're "probably illegal and don't speak English anyway" or walking away from the person in the wheelchair because "crippled people give me the creeps" or ... whatever; it's all just a signal that you're superior to the other person and don't need to trouble yourself with them.

I've found you can either get angry or get sad when treated this way, or, best of all, think of it as a challenge - the person calling someone "crazy" desperately needs enlightenment.
posted by aryma at 1:55 AM on November 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wish people would use different language to describe abusive vs crazy. These two things overlap, but I think only the word "abusive" is needed if you're trying to explain your ex treated you badly. Maybe there's a way to soften that word so that it encompasses a wider range of harmful behaviors than comes to mind when people use the word "abusive".

Because what you're trying to say is "My ex hurt me, and it was their harmful behavior that was the problem, not mine."

If that's what you want to say, say that. There are lot's of very kind people with various types of mental illness or developmental problems who put in a lot of work to not hurt their partners and dealwith conflict as peacefully as possible or knowing when to break up because of incompatable needs. And if you're just trying to say your ex was high maintenance or had expectations that didn't like, say that.

Some people like fall in love quickly, hang out every day, some people like to hang out once a week or never make commitments and none of these relationship desires or needs mark a person "crazy", just incompatable. Harmful behavior would be when the difference in needs is discovered and one partner starts shaming, attacking, labelling the other partner crazy, insulting, or trying to manipulate or control, or actively being aggressive/violent to force the other person into having different needs than they do.

I knew one guy who wanted a committed relationship that is temporary without any intention to ever get married or make a longer term commitment and to have sex on the regular once a week and otherwise have almost no contact. He talked about how women who are "healthy" in their sexuality don't have needs for commitment and only like "in the moment" sex without desiring love from anyone but themselves; but he keeps meeting all these damaged crazy women who have sick emotional needs.

This is an example of wrongful application of crazy.
posted by xarnop at 6:51 AM on November 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


When I see a phrase like, "Men use gender specific derogatory remarks as a way of trying to maintain male dominance and to undermine women," I read it as true because a significant number of men do behave that way.

When you see the phrase "Women care more about babies than careers" do you read it as true because a significant number of women do care more about family than work? Is the number not large enough to be significant? Or does the willingness to infer a qualifier where none is stated only apply to certain groups?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:02 AM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


[We've had the "shouldn't it really be 'SOME men'?" discussion an awful lot over the years, maybe we can skip that derail this time? Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:29 AM on November 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


There's some triggering stuff in here, just FYI.

This is one of those things that always drives home to me what different worlds men and women live in, and just how little most men understand about what it's like to be a woman. Even the best, most empathetic and enlightened men I know could still stand to spend a little more time listening to women, both in real life and in media. It's hard to get away from the male gaze and the male as default, but the effort is worth it.

"Crazy" is a very loaded term for women. It wasn't that long ago that simply being female was almost a pathology in itself. See female hysteria. See The Yellow Wallpaper. Talk to women like my mom, who had a childhood friend who was given a lobotomy then disappeared for "having sex" with a bunch of older boys in the woods behind her house. It's not that overt now, but these things don't just disappear once people start pointing out that they're wrong. They're still there. Women are disproportionately assumed to be unreliable narrators. We're dismissed and ignored and psychoanalyzed on an almost daily basis whenever we are inconvenient or even, God forbid, demanding or angry or actively standing in the way of something.

This affects our careers, our daily lives, our access to medical care, and our own confidence in our perceptions on a daily basis. Not long ago, some guy blew through a red light as I was crossing an intersection and I just barely got out of his way before he t-boned me. And my first and lingering thought was, "Was my light really green? Am I crazy?" Not long before that, a doctor I saw diagnosed me with 'stress' and 'malaise' and sent me home with a bunch of lifestyle type instructions when I saw him for what turned out to be a serious medical condition. His dismissal actually made me question my own perceptions and experiences to the point that I just dutifully went home and got sicker and sicker until my symptoms became visible to the casual (male, natch) observer.

So just because we're unlikely to be given lobotomies or sent to institutions (not that there really are enough to hold us anymore), we're still being diagnosed with wandering uteruses in dogwhistle form.

Women have been saying these things forever. Sucks that some dude has to come along to confirm it from a male perspective before some people will listen, but hey. That's just the way it is.
posted by ernielundquist at 8:46 AM on November 16, 2013 [30 favorites]


What's really hard to describe, as a woman, is how deeply internalized these sorts of gender dichotomies are. It's nearly impossible to convince anyone else of them when you still have the questioning tape of 'am I crazy/overbearing/ overreacting here.' So it's not just the men that need to hear this message.

It is so incredibly empowering though, to stop that internal messaging. Not just the female=overemotional, but the male=super rational. You can see people as just people. What's really there. Somehow this makes it so much easier to keep yourself safe. (And probably others as well.)

Two anecdotes from my recent re-entry into dating.

I went out on a date with a married man. I had been told by mutual friends he was separated. During the course of the evening, his story changed several times. In the old world, I would have assumed that male= super rational, and that he was lying intentionally and therefore being a jerk, and I would have reacted badly. But he wasn't. He was just a fairly nice guy in the middle of an emotional maelstrom of pain and confusion. Seeing this made it super easy to have a lot of empathy for him, and reach a mutual conclusion that he had a lot of stuff to work through and we shouldn't see each other again.

Another person I dated I chose to stop seeing due to some worrying signs of emotional immaturity. Having stopped believing in the rational/emotional male/female dichotomy, I was not only able to see this where I might not have before, I was able to walk away without trying to change myself to change his behavior and 'make it work.' Further, when the 'We shouldn't see each other anymore' conversation went unsurprisingly south (for more than an hour) I had no qualms about ending the discussion with the really hard to say 'Were both upset, let's cool off. Call me when you're ready.' And I'm totally ok that I never heard from him again.

Soooo, long stories short, I was able to get myself out of two sketchy situations because I no longer believed that men always act rationally, and I saw emotional turmoil for what it was.
posted by susiswimmer at 11:51 AM on November 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


Has anyone else been half-expecting the institutionalised wife of Lady Edith's missing newspaper editor boyfriend to reappear at some point? And it will turn out that she's perfectly sane, but her husband had her committed for being a suffragette or otherwise inconvenient? (Of course this will never happen because Tory agitprop.)
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 12:27 PM on November 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


The 10th Regiment of Foot: It's up to you to change the crazy inside you, not up to anyone else.

Unless it's up to the courts.

Nope, it's still up to you. "Lead a horse to water", and all that. The courts can put you in a ward, and force you onto a drug plan, but only you can fix you.

Usually with professional guidance.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:32 PM on November 16, 2013


it will turn out that she's perfectly sane, but her husband had her committed for being a suffragette or otherwise inconvenient

It took me a while to figure out that this was a Downton reference!

But even better, here in NI we have a charming real life version of that. Namely Iris Robinson, the wife of our First Minister and a member of our parliament, suddenly announced a couple of years ago that she was leaving politics because of long-term mental health issues and because she needed psychiatric treatment for depression. Everyone was a bit surprised, but a big deal was made of how it was brave of her to come out with this as it would raise awareness of mental health issues and help take away some stigma.

Of course a month or so later things became clearer. A BBC documentary revealed she'd been having an affair with a man much younger than her and had used her political position to secure him money and the tender for a local business. Peter Robinson was also implicated in widespread corruption charges. So basically, when they knew it was going to come out, her husband (a nasty piece of work anyway) got to work first with the old "she's clearly mad" defense which she had to publicly back up. That meant, of course, that he could deny all wrong-doing himself, declaring his innocence and pinning the blame on the "crazy lady". (Allegations of his domestic violence towards her have been rife here for many years, and rumours had it that while he claimed she attempted suicide when he discovered the affair, he actually hospitalised her. So she wouldnt have had much choice about defending herself against the "mentally ill" allegations.) That was in 2010 and she has basically disappeared from public view ever since. So we don't need to look to fictional dramas of a hundred years ago for stories of inconvenient wives being labelled mad and sent away.

(Although its hard to feel too sorry for her given her views on homosexuality.)
posted by billiebee at 1:49 PM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: You run into an asshole in the morning, you run into an asshole in the morning. You run into assholes all day; you're the asshole.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 3:18 PM on November 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Assholes in the morning
Assholes in the evening
Assholes at supper time
When assholes are on the internet
You can have assholes any time

posted by kagredon at 3:24 PM on November 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Ugh dammit that is my all time wormiest earworm, to the point that one of my dog's pet names is Pizzabagel. Fuck. Thanks, Kagredon and/or Obama.
posted by Sara C. at 3:31 PM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Women: "Women are frequently accused by men of being crazy in order to discount perfectly legitimate emotional responses"

Men: "But one time I met a woman who was SUPER CRAZY though!"

posted by showbiz_liz at 1:47 PM

... perfectly describes the beginning of the shit-storm that erupted on my facebook after posting the OP link. I abandoned the thread about an hour in, afraid to read the multiple comments that have not stopped rolling in.

The next top fire-starter in that thread? My ex-husband saying "... in defense, I've heard the statement "You're just like a man" to achieve the same effect".

*twitch* This from the man that, while the ink was still drying on his psychology degree, spent 16 hours of a holiday ignoring the children in order to convince me I was crazy, because I had left the marriage, until I allowed him to take the children and admit me to a psych ward. (They let me go long before 24 hours, as soon as the buses were running, with a caution to avoid him.) *twitch* I thought it was a good time to abandon thread before I caused our two now-grown daughters to have to pick who they wanted at any future weddings. (Why is my ex on my flist - family facebook politics; I wish I'd never started on fb.) Or before I gave myself an aneurysm trying to give him one through the computer.

Most of the men on my friends list that commented on the thread, particularly of those that commented in one of of those two ways, consider themselves "feminist". That was often their defense (in fact, the males with the insightful comments never did claim to be anything). *cries* I don't even know how to begin...
posted by _paegan_ at 5:42 PM on November 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


« Older With the holiday shopping season upon us, it might...  |  Especially Heinous: 272 Views ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments