I was at happy hour last Friday when a guy (someone I barely know) looked around his group of friends and asked, “Isn’t there a difference between ‘good crazy’ and ‘bad crazy’ when it comes to girls?”
He looked at me and asked again. Since he asked I offered, “Well, they’re both sexist as shit.” My sister groaned next to me. She was right — I should have been a little more socially acceptable.
Balance is a bitch, right?
If you had asked me at 18 if I was a feminist I would have cringed. I still don’t have a firm grasp on the word — I don’t want to lay claim to a term that identifies women who have spent their wholes lives working towards a singular cause — but I’ve grown so much in the past six years, sometimes I barely recognize myself.
I used to question girls who championed sexual abuse awareness. Isn’t that shitty? I used to wonder, “Well, what happened to them?” Flash forward a few years and I stand with them with a ferocity that can turn into biting anger in a flash. I do what I can, such small things, like sharing Facebook posts and making sure certain events — volunteer opportunities for a rape hotline — get entered into the calendar of the paper where I work.
I don’t have the answers for what is and isn’t sexist, what’s offensive, what’s “OK.” I can take a joke. I think. The lines often blur.
I smile and wave when someone honks at me, and I mean it. I genuinely consider it to be a friendly gesture.
I’ve stood, baffled and frozen when a stranger groped me in a bar.
I’ve had plenty of slapping-the-shit-out-of-assholes dreams. Just dreams, though.
The happy hour guy didn’t mean to be a jerk when he asked about girls being good and bad crazy. He flipped the question quickly and asked, “Well what about guys being crazy?” My sister and I agreed that guy-crazy sounds like domestic abuse. “Exactly!” he proclaimed.
But it’s not “exactly.”
It’s: use a different fucking word. You know how it’s common knowledge not to flippantly throw around “gay” or “retarded”? Crazy falls under that category too.
It matters so much because it implies so much. I get pissed just thinking about men who flip a switch on a girl the minute she becomes something they don’t like. Too drunk? Crazy. Too clingy? Crazy. Too chatty? Crazy.
And for the most part the use of “crazy” is nothing more than annoying. I think most men don’t mean any harm when they talk absentmindedly about the women in their lives.
But it’s the ones that do. The ones that let crazy, and often, drunk, slip into something else. “She wanted it. She should have wanted it. She’s crazy, who cares?”
If you do anything today, stop using that word. If you’re dating a girl and she’s texting you more than you’d like, maybe think, “I believe this chick and I should discuss our communication issues.”
Not, “What a crazy girl.”
As for me, well, I won’t call a near-stranger out for sexism if he isn’t hurting anyone with his words.
(The thing is, he always is).