your sexist shit is driving me crazy

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).

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3 thoughts on “your sexist shit is driving me crazy

  1. No, crazy absolutely does not fall into the category of “gay” or “retarded”… People don’t choose to be homosexual or to have a congenital cognitive learning disabilities. However, everyone has control of their actions. You don’t get a free pass for chucking a lamp at someone’s head because he liked a girls picture on Instagram. That’s lunatic behavior and I’ll reserve the right to use my free speech and call said person crazy. You’re also making wild jumps from someone calling someone crazy to calling someone crazy in order to validate sexual assault… Also “Too drunk? Crazy. Too clingy? Crazy.” – women do the exact same thing when discussing guy. There are so many more valid points and causes to champion when it comes to feminism. But keep pushing the safe space, speech limiting narrative… 😒

    1. Hi Dan,

      Thanks for your thoughtful response. As for your one hypothetical situation, well if someone’s throwing a lamp at your head, I’d recommend calling the police.

      “You’re also making wild jumps from someone calling someone crazy … to validate sexual assault.” Dan, I hate to break it to you, but I’m not making a wild jump, just drawing from my personal experience, and from the experience of other women I’ve met in my life.

      “Everyone has control of their actions.”
      Unfortunately, you don’t have control of your actions when you’re being assaulted. Being pinned down, choked, etc. generally prevents that.

      Being sexually assaulted is a major bummer, FYI. Not sure if you’ve experienced it, but after it happens, you wonder what you can do to help other women (or men) in the world.

      You’re right, there are plenty of feminist causes to support. I chose a very, very small one. Dan, you can use the word “crazy” all you want. But there are people out there perpetuating “crazy” until it becomes a violent act, and I had a, well, crazy, idea that I could suggest a different way of viewing things to maybe stop just one of those violent acts from happening.

      I’m just doing what little I can, using my words, to try and make a difference. I’ve had a number of people tell me that I’ve made them stop and think not just about their words, but about the ideas behind them. And if that’s not worth championing, I don’t know what is.

      Connelly

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