Lifestyle

Bitches Be Crazy: How The Media Views Mental Illness in Women

It’s no secret that many men like to refer to women as being “crazy.” In fact, Parks and Recreation displays this through Tom Haverford’s quote from episode 3.3 “The Time Capsule” when he says, “She broke up with me. Didn’t really tell me why. Luckily when you’re the guy, you just tell people she’s crazy. ‘Hey Tom, I heard you and Lucy broke up.’ ‘Yeah man. Turns out, she’s crazy’ That’s what they always do on Entourage.” While we like to laugh at this, at the end of the day, when men defend themselves by calling women crazy, they leave out what they did that would cause her to behave in the way that she did. They leave out any extra circumstances which may be valuable to include. While this is rude and may hurt a woman’s feelings, it can end up being damaging to women as whole when they are called crazy and have a mental illness that needs attention.

The media encourages this type of response with characters such as Crazy Eyes from Orange Is the New Black, as well as through the borderline crazy behavior of Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation. These are of course on different ends of a spectrum, but in the end, they both end up hurting women. While we may like to make fun of people who behave in a way that is strange and different from us, it severely diminishes the public understanding of mental illness when we so frequently use people with them as the butt of our jokes. The question is never what is specifically wrong with that person or what we can do to help others like her.

The idea of someone being crazy also is very ambiguous. There could be any number of issues that that person suffers from and it does not tell which it is at all. This idea of craziness also teaches us to not make their mental health problems about them but rather causes us to focus on how that impacts us. The person “suffering from depression” may be feeling immense pain and may need help to make it through this time in their life. The person who “is crazy” has probably done something to you that you do not like.

The media teaches many people how to respond to certain circumstances whether or not this is conscious. When we see someone with a problem thought to be “crazy” we learn not to pay attention. When someone we see on the street is behaving strangely, we may be inclined to brush it off and call that person “crazy” rather than digging into the problem. As a person with mental health issues, it is daunting to look for the help we need at all. It is even more difficult to be willing to get help when we believe that no one will understand or we will be mocked. Showing the concept of women being crazy and them not getting any help or respect only perpetuates the lack of understanding of people, especially women, with mental disorders.

Photo credit 1

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s