Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Crazy Bitch Stereotype

Don't you just love it when a woman is labeled as crazy for being jealous? Or calling a guy "too many" times? Or getting mad at a guy? Yes, women are constantly under the threat of being put into the "Crazy Bitch" category, and this threat is one more way for the patriarchy to keep us in line.

We see it all the time in the media: reality shows where women have tantrums, breakdowns, and catfights. We see it in TV commercials where women stalk men. There's even a saying "bitches be crazy." Some people say that all women are crazy. But how can one gender, as a whole, be crazy?

Now, I don't want to excuse all negative female behavior. There is a line between being understandably mad at someone and flying off the deep end and actually assaulting or verbally abusing someone. However, the problem is that our culture identifies pretty much all reasonable anger and jealousy with being a crazy bitch. Because women aren't supposed to get mad. Ever. If they are mad or upset, it couldn't possibly have any merit, they're "just overreacting," or they "have issues" - or our feelings are just dismissed as being PMS.

There's still the expectation that women should be calm, pleasant, agreeable, and passive. These aren't just gendered expectations, they're still seen as the norm - there's the idea that all women are like that, and anything outside of that gender norm is usually labeled as crazy.

The problem is our negative emotions still aren't being taken seriously. If a girl gets mad at her boyfriend, it's not because he did something to upset her, there's no behavior or action that needs to be examined, no legitimate problem in the relationship that needs to be addressed - well, no problem other than her attitude. If she's upset, it's because she misunderstood something, she took something too seriously, she overreacted, she made a big deal out of nothing, and SHE needs to get her act together. It's not that he should stop flirting with other girls, she needs to be okay with it. He doesn't need to answer his phone, or return her calls or texts, she needs to be more patient.

The Crazy Bitch Stereotype doesn't just exist in heterosexual relationships, either. It exists in friendships as well, and roommate situations. A girl who gets mad at her roommates for not doing their share of the work, or having too many loud parties, or eating her food, is nuts. Unbearable. How DARE she tell others what to do? How dare she put her needs ahead of someone else's? Why can't she just deal with it?

This stereotype is just another way for our culture to keep us in line by demonizing women for getting too angry or upset, jealous or "obsessive." In other words, for feeling emotions that are deemed unladylike.

No comments:

Post a Comment