Recently, Harris O’Malley, a “dating coach” who apparently thinks being a groveling subservient is the way to success in dating, penned an article for HuffPo titled, “On Labeling Women ‘Crazy'”.
The biggest fallacy of this article, right out the gate, is the premise that labeling is something that men are doing to women. As shown in Diana Davison’s article, “It’s a woman problem”, most of the people calling women names are other women. But the stupidity does not end there.
The core thesis of the article seems to be, “There are certain words that are applied to women specifically in order to manipulate them into compliance: ‘slut,’ ‘bitch,’ ‘ugly/fat’ and, of course, ‘crazy.'” Now, I can agree that the words “slut” and “ugly/fat” are indeed used to manipulate women into compliance… when used by other women in intrasexual competition. Unenlightened women don’t like other women who “cheapen” what they see as their primary commodity, and they’ll use cruel words to undermine the confidence of rivals.
Men do use “bitch” and “crazy,” of course, and often together, but the idea that this is to obtain compliance is ridiculous. Any man who has been in an tumultuous relationship can tell you that using these words is more likely to further enrage the crazy bitch, rather than cause compliance. Most of the time, even as acknowledged in the article, men use these words in the presence of their friends as an expression of their frustration and bewilderment. It is most often venting their anger, in a relatively benign way, at women whose behavior is controlling or irrational.
O’Malley’s article is mostly about the “crazy” appellation, so let’s focus on that. Now when a guy calls a gal crazy, what does he tend to mean? It’s usually not any sort of diagnosis of mental illness, but an accusation of stubborn irrationality. In fact the number of women with irrational behaviors and expectations are so common that they have become a part of popular culture.
A classic is the expectation that a man can know what a woman wants without her saying so. The statements “Oh, I don’t need anything for my birthday,” “Do whatever you want,” “No, I don’t mind if you go out,” are all classic traps, women wanting men to do things for them not because they asked, but because they should want to themselves. Even when men would be perfectly willing to accommodate a woman’s true wishes if asked, not spending the time/money the woman expects is seen as insulting, and a justification for anger. Other behaviors, like bringing up old, seemingly resolved disputes, or even dragging out confessed shame from the man’s past, behaviors far more common from women, are also worthy of both the “crazy” and “bitch” titles.
Another example, in the same vein, is in the utterly one-sided dating dynamic. Men are expected to know when and how to “make a move,” initiate contact, flirt with the right level of subtlety, all while being judged for their worthiness. And if a guy comes on too strong, he can be forcibly and angrily rejected, without any acknowledgement that that level of initiative would not only be accepted, but required to keep another woman’s interest. Guys are attempting to do their best without any real cultural standard, so yes, reacting angrily when they violate your personal, unknowable timetable is both irrational and “bitchy”.
Further, to a guy, screaming and crying are behaviors that are only permissible in extreme circumstances. Indeed, the sort of frenzied screeching women are free to engage in with their partners, and men in general, would be seen as threatening and abusive coming from a man. Which, of course, is because those behaviors are threatening and abusive, whoever they come from. If someone has driven you to the point that such behaviors are justified, the correct response is to leave, to end the relationship. Thus, whether justified from a cultural standpoint or not, these behaviors are irrational, or “crazy.”
Another gem is, “When women are told over and over again that they’re not allowed to feel the way they feel and that they’re being “unreasonable” or “oversensitive,” they’re conditioned to not trust their own emotions.”
When a woman asks, “How do I look?” what is the proper response when you don’t like how she looks? For many, the expectation is a compliment. You see this a lot in the interactions of women with each other, too, where they ask how they look, or even insult themselves, fishing for compliments. Here’s a clue: to many women, honesty is not the right approach. Or rather, it is, but only if you’ve properly conditioned yourself to always see them as the most beautiful creature in any room.
But, all too often, women interpret the actions of men (and other women), only through the lens of how it affects them. This is where the “unreasonable” and “oversensitive” labels are applied, when a woman takes offense at something you say or do, when your reasons for doing so have nothing to do with them. Indeed, that may well be part of the source of their offense, because these women expect all of your actions around them to be about them.
And should women “trust their own emotions”? Is not irrationality built into the very definition of emotions? Emotions aren’t wrong, in and of themselves, but trusting them as a guide to action absolutely is. People’s emotional reactions to events often include triggering from past, unrelated events, and it is completely unfair to unleash this torrent of emotion without first rationally examining it. Further, it is possible, in most situations, to misinterpret the action or intent of another, thus rendering your initial reaction unjust. You need to clarify before you react. Finally, you may be carrying subconscious prejudices and assumptions that cause you to react in an irrational way, even without these other factors. In other words, no, you shouldn’t “trust your emotions,” whether you’re a woman or a man.
Yet, in part from the encouragement of white knights like O’Malley, women think that their emotions are always fully justified, that they are faultless in their overreactions to the perceived offenses of males, and that men calling them “crazy” for reacting with irrational high emotion to relatively mundane events are being oppressive.
Hate to tell ya, ladies, but avoiding accusations of irrationality, unreasonableness, and oversensitivity requires that you actually approach life rationally. You must examine your emotional reactions thoroughly before you act on them. Accept honesty when you ask a question. Don’t expect others to conform to your unstated demands. Clarify the intent or meaning behind words and events before reacting. Until you do these things, bitch, you crazy.