It's been awhile since I posted, and I actually wrote this particular entry last year when these feelings were fresh. In light of recent events though, these feelings have resurfaced and made me remember what I had written so long ago. Reading this now helped me feel better about myself and relationships in general and I hope it might open the minds of those who read it. So read away my peeps.
I’ve never really been personally effected by sexism. At least, I never thought I had been. Of course I've heard sexist comments and jokes and the dumb memes about "crazy bitches" and "clingy exes". That stuff is everywhere. All over social media. And I admit I've laughed at it and thought "omg that's so true, some bitches are craaaazy, I wonder if people think I'm crazy? Oh well" I don't take them seriously because I know they are only words and they really don't mean anything. I've never taken offense or even thought twice about it. Until now.
I love jokes and I admit, I'm not perfect, I am guilty of making fun of people. Shoot me. I have a sense of humor. I laugh at myself. And others. I never take myself/life too seriously. I really just don't care because I'm ok with who I am. And I know nobody is perfect. And if people don't like me for who I am then that's ok. "You can please all the of people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time." - a quote my mom used to say to me all the time but she would always mess it up. Anyways, back to the topic.
So this whole thought process started last year. I was at lunch with two of my guy friends. They kept making comments about women who, in their eyes, were "crazy". For example: women with baby daddies or women named Tiffany (ok this is actually kind of funny cause I do know a couple of Tiffanys, who will remain nameless, that are a little out there). They mentioned all the female attention that they get (no over-exaggerations at all I'm sure) and have to turn down cause they aren't into crazy slutty girls. I didn't think twice about it because, yeah, I can see how at a bar/night club (one friend works as a bartender) people, men and women, get drunk and sometimes act crazy. Whatever, nothing I hadn’t heard before. So, I went on with my life.
But then, a couple days later I was chillin at school and I got a text from a guy I had just started talking to. He sent me this meme:
I get it, it's funny. Whatever. Girls have mood swings sometimes. Not even 24 hours earlier though, I was sent by another guy friend this "crazy/hot" scale chart (excuse the low res):
Ok nice, haha good one buddy. Honestly. Whatever, it's a joke. So stupid, but again nothing I’d never heard before. Now like I said, I had never before been personally offended by this stuff because I know it was just meant to be a joke. And I can tooootally take a joke. I also know that not all men think this. But holy crap this is a pretty long running joke. Like everyone is talking about how crazy women are. Including me on occasion. But some big wave of wonder washed over me and I thought
"What the hell? Why are there so many memes/posts about this?"
It actually affected me in some weird mysterious way. It was like an instant of
"ok ok we get it that's funny but it's getting old"
And for some reason, it just wasn't sitting well with me.
Ok. Let me just give you a disclaimer of sorts. I respect and appreciate men, and their opinions and feelings are very important to me. We are all equal, though clearly, biologically, we are different and that's a beautiful thing. We compliment each other. Men are strong providers and protectors. Women are nurturers and are very in tune with their emotions (yes sometimes women can get extra emotional, cuz hormones).
Because men are stronger in many aspects, and may be less inclined to show their emotional sides, does not mean they are superior to women. And just because I believe that men may be stronger than women in some aspects does not mean I am thinking of myself as inferior to men. You're probably like "well, duh, that's common sense" and I agree. I mean hopefully it is! But common sense isn't so common anymore.
After all of this wondering, I began to think, “am I acting crazy by letting this bother me?” I usually shrug this stuff off, but this time I wanted to understand why it was really bothering me. I wanted to get to the root of the issue. Not just the issue of me being annoyed by these comments, but the issue as to why men think it’s ok to call a woman crazy.
I researched a bit and thought back on some previous conversations I’d had with the men in my life. Why do men think women can be so crazy? Now it’s not the name calling itself that bugs me “sticks and stones” ya know. What really gets to me is that these particular men I’d interacted with, and others I assume, based on how often I see these memes/photos/quotes, must have this condescending view of women.
It’s as if a woman’s worth is to be judged by her “emotional stability” or something.
Sometimes, because men and women are wired so differently, it's hard for one sex to understand how certain things that are done or said, that weren't meant to harm, can make the opposite sex feel. When a man calls a woman "crazy" it puts a certain pressure on women or better said,
it creates a doubt in a woman's head that what she is feeling is irrelevant.
It makes her think that she shouldn't be feeling that way or acting upon those feelings. If something makes her feel a certain way, i.e. She's bummed out or upset because her boyfriend didn't call when he said he would, she needs to stop feeling that way or else she's "gonna look crazy". Or if she is feeling a little left out or misses her man and wants to spend more time with him instead of him hanging out with his friends all the time, she looks "crazy" or "clingy".
In case it may be difficult for some of you to hear this from a woman’s point of view (because I may be biased and apparently sometimes crazy), amidst my research I found an article written by Harris O'Malley (a man) that sums up my point. One chunk that stood out to me was this:
“As soon as the 'crazy' card is in play, women are put on the defensive. It derails the discussion from what she’s saying to how she’s saying it. We insist that someone can’t be emotional and rational at the same time, so she has to prove that she’s not being irrational. Anything she says to the contrary can just be used as evidence against her.
More often than not, I suspect, most men don’t realize what we’re saying when we call a woman crazy. Not only does it stigmatize people who have legitimate mental health issues, but
it tells women that they don’t understand their own emotions, that their very real concerns and issues are secondary to men’s comfort. And it absolves men from having to take responsibility for how we make others feel."
Men, it’s not always her hormones that are making her seem “crazy” to you, take a step back and look at yourself. Look at how your actions might be affecting your girl’s emotions. Have you thought about what you may or may not be doing to nurture her happiness?
Seriously read the article though. It's short and makes a good point. It helped me to understand why I felt the way that I did when I had my big wave of wonder moment I talked about earlier.
Disclaimer: I am not trying to point fingers at ALL men, but in light of recent events involving the young men of my generation and those on social media, I have decided that maybe this article should be read by more of my peers. Men and women. To help men understand that being called "crazy" is condescending and could potentially crush the spirit and dim the light of an emotional, wonderful and beautiful woman in your life. And to appreciate that your woman and every other woman out there has been blessed with the ability to feel and love deeply in a different way than you. To compliment who you are.
And to help women see that it's ok to have feelings and that having the ability to deeply feel is a gift, but is also a big responsibility. It's up to you to control your emotions ladies, not be controlled by someone else. Use this ability to your advantage. Appreciate it and
know that your feelings are valid.
Let's face it, nobody is perfect, nobody is superior or inferior to another, and in relationships, we should build each other up and appreciate the good and bad and learn from each other and inform each other and see the beauty in our differences. Men will never understand a woman's brain and vice versa. But that shouldn't be an excuse not to practice empathy. Men bear with us. We have emotions for a reason and sometimes, more often than not, they will be different than yours, but don't give up on us when things get a little messy. Next time you experience us pouring out our hearts to you, don’t brush us off and make the excuse that we are just being “crazy”. Empathize, work through the conflict, and grow together and it will likely pay off.