In the third season of Parks and Recreation, Aziz Ansari’s loveably obnoxious character Tom Haverford makes the comment, “Luckily when you’re a guy, you can just tell people she’s crazy” after explaining that his ex-girlfriend broke up with him without an explanation. In the show, the line is comical and ironic because Tom is frequently seen as the one doing ridiculous things when it comes to women (such as when he talks about giving copies of his house key to random girls he meets). But what’s neither ironic nor funny is how true that idea is in real life.
How many times have you heard of a female referred to as “crazy” or a “crazy bitch”? And seriously, what is a crazy bitch? A female with too many emotions? One who wants to talk about her feelings? One who gets mad at her boyfriend for ignoring her/cheating on her/lying to her? Sure, a lot of girls get possessive in relationships, but guys do too. So why is it seemingly more common for girls to acquire the crazy label? And (at least in my opinion) it seems much worse for a girl to be thought of in such a light because of that really stereotypical image that almost immediately comes to mind –– you know, some relentlessly whiny, needy, and incapable girl with her boyfriend’s phone number on speed dial, who’s always picking fights and complaining about one thing or another. That girl. But when a guy is referred to as crazy, what does that usually even entail? Maybe he calls too often or he threatens her guy friends, but there’s really no equivalent to what we think of when a girl is described as crazy in the context of heterosexual relationships.
Someone calling you out for craziness, especially in high school and college, is exponentially worse for girls; it can give you a reputation that makes you seem like the kind of person that guys would want to avoid (because guys don’t want “clingy” girls who speak their minds, of course). But when a guy is referred to as crazy, I honestly feel as though it isn’t even much of an insult since craziness in a way denotes aggression and passion, which are already masculine traits, so why would they be offended by it?
Unfortunately, just like Tom Haverford, guys love to use this kind of terminology when describing women. Not only does it make break-ups seem less embarrassing or awkward, it makes it incredibly easy for them to justify their actions and/or words while pointing out the “erratic” behavior of the girl involved. I wholly believe that both guys and girls are capable of the same foolish behavior in relationships, but it’s much easier for a guy to brush off his wrongdoings and tell his girl to just stop being crazy.
And unfortunately, it kind of works. I’ve had many girl friends vent to me about their dating dilemmas and ask, “Am I just being crazy?” And I’ve definitely wondered the same thing about myself. Should I keep my feelings to myself? I don’t want him to think I’m crazy. I would imagine it has to do with the fact that social conditioning has compelled us all to believe that females are much more dramatic than males, but wouldn’t you think that in 2013, we’d be less inclined to play the blame game according to age-old gender stereotypes? And wouldn’t you think that we’d be less inclined to question our thoughts and words lest we seem mental in the eyes of a male lover? No girl wants to be thought of or referred to as the dreaded “crazy”type, so we oftentimes feel as though we have to keep our mouths shut when we should rightfully be able to speak our minds.
One of the most awesome things about dating or being in a relationship with someone is having the chance to really open up to them about your feelings — all of your feelings. No one should ever feel as though they’d be better off keeping quiet just for the sake of not stirring up trouble, especially if you have a legitimate reason for wanting to address something. Not only that, but associating individuals with genuine mental instability with a false and totally sexist stereotype is ridiculous.
No one should ever prevent you from saying what’s on your mind. If you think you’re being taken advantage of or lied to, then speak up! Believe me, you won’t be a “crazy bitch” if you do.
Written by Nicole Woszczyna