On Labeling Women “Crazy”


Fashion runway bride, with bridal straightjacket.

Today’s insight comes from Dr. Nerdlove. Though not an official doctor or anything, good advice for every one involved.

Because finally, there is someone willing to call out the casually passive practice of calling a woman “crazy” for what it is,  abusive.

I’ve had to quit telling stories about crazy exes or women I’ve dated.

The problem was that I started realizing that when my friends and I would talk about our crazy exes or what-have-you, more often than not, we weren’t talking about ex girlfriends or random dates who exhibited signs of  genuine mental health issues. Now I did have a few where I would qualify my story with ‘No, I don’t mean ‘we broke up and I can’t be bothered to figure out where things went wrong, I mean that she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and was starting to show signs of genuine paranoia,’ but for the most part, crazy meant ‘acting in a way I didn’t like.’

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’.

….

‘Crazy’ may well be the most insidious one of the four because it encompasses so much. At its base, calling women ‘crazy’ is a way of waving away any behavior that men might find undesirable while simultaneously absolving those same men from responsibility. Why did you break up with her? Well, she was crazy. Said something a woman might find offensive? Stop being so sensitive.

When someone talks about the woman who he broke up with because she called too often or seemed get emotionally involved faster than he was comfortable with, because she got angry with him over the way he acted, she was always arguing with him about stuff or even that she wanted different things from the relationship, it’s not uncommon to hear ‘That’s why you don’t stick it in the crazy.’ The man is absolved of any responsibility for the break up; it’s not because he was willing to pretend to be on the same page as her regarding the future of the relationship because it was convenient and meant that he could continue sleeping with her, it’s because she was crazy. It’s not because he was unwilling to discuss her concerns. She’s crazy, case closed, time to move on to the next woman without pausing to reflect.

…gaslighting is a term used by psychologists to describe abusive behavior where a person is made to feel as though their emotions and reactions are irrational, even (dare I say) crazy. By constantly minimizing and dismissing someone’s reactions, we make them feel uncomfortable with themselves and cause them to start to doubt their own feelings. If they’re being told over and over again that what they’re feeling is irrational or unreal, that what they’re feeling is somehow out of whack, then they start to accept that maybe it is.

Gaslighting – minimizing their feelings, reframing them as being unreasonable – is classic abusive behavior. It’s telling someone that they don’t have a right to the way they feel because what they’re feeling is wrong. Their feelings or their concerns or behavior isn’t “rational”. Once you take away their right to their feelings, it’s that much easier to manipulate a person into the way you want them to behave.

The trend of labeling women ‘crazy’ is part of the culture that socializes women to go along to get along. 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. Their behavior – being assertive, even demanding or standing up for how they feel –  becomes an “inconvenience” to men and they’re taught not to give offense and to consider the feelings of others before their own.

Read the entire article at http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2012/07/labeling-women-crazy/
And for those still curious about the “why” of this behavior, as in why do some men do it. The Dr. even offers a bit of insight.

I was notoriously self-absorbed. It wasn’t that I thought that I was the greatest thing ever, it was just that I didn’t really stop to spare too many thoughts for others. I was willing to make an effort for others, but only so far as it didn’t really inconvenience me past a “reasonable” point. I didn’t want to have long drawn out conversations about how my behavior made my girlfriend feel and I certainly didn’t want to get dragged into what I saw as unnecessary drama.

As a result… well, I wasn’t willing to consider how others were feeling. When the woman I was dating would try to explain to me how the way I treated her felt,  I would tell her that she was seeing things. She was overreacting to inconsequential stuff. She was being over-sensitive, reading things into what I was saying or doing that just weren’t there.

The subtext to everything I was saying was simple: “You are behaving in a way that I find inconvenient, and I want to you to stop.” I wasn’t willing to engage with her emotionally and address her very real concerns because I was too wrapped up in my own shit to think about other people.

In a nutshell, run run run the next time you run into a guy who constantly minimizes your position.

The Big Fat Feminist Critique in The Middle of The Room


Brought to you by the words Autism, Female, and Tech World — Eds

Okay, Feminism, It’s Time We Had a Talk About Empathy

by 

Growing up with autism is a never-ending series of lessons in how people without autism expect the rest of the world to relate to them.

….

‘Don’t be so direct, don’t you know you’re being insulting?’ ‘Put yourself in her shoes — when are you going to develop a sense of empathy?’ Invariably, the autistic behaviour is marked as less-than, called out as needing to change. So we adapt; we learn to keep our “abnormal” attitudes and behaviours to ourselves in the hope of blending in,  and when we discover communities where, by chance, we fit in a little better without having to try so hard, we cling to those safe spaces like a drowning man clings to a lifebuoy.

I stumbled into my first such space when I was eight, and its name wasFidoNet. I didn’t think of myself as a programmer back then, just a girl who liked fractals and science fiction and BASIC on my IBM PCjr, …. In a very real sense, I did most of my growing up online.

Nobody on FidoNet ever told me ‘no girls allowed’ — or even implied it, at least to an extent that I might have picked up on — and as a result, the assertion that “technology is a boys’ club” has always been foreign to me. Sure, I was always one of a scant handful of girls in the after-school computer or science club, but none of that mattered when there were NASA missions or flight simulator games to geek out on.

I have since been made painfully aware that my experience is atypical. Every time, it has been a woman who has done so. Every time, it has been a lesson in how the woman I am talking with expects the tech world to relate to her and other people like her.

Ironically, I have been discriminated against in the tech world because of my gender; I just didn’t notice until it was brought to my attention long after the fact.

What does leave me feeling snubbed, however — not to mention “scapegoated for the endemic misogyny in our field” — is being told that talking about my overwhelmingly positive relationship with the tech community is nothing more than a callous announcement of ‘fuck you, got mine.

What I’ve got, and what I wish the rest of the “women in tech” community who rage against the misogyny they see everywhere they look could also have, is a blazingly single-minded focus on whatever topic I happen to be perseverating on at the moment. It has kept me awake for days puzzling out novel algorithms and it has thwarted a wannabe PUA at a conference completely by accident. It is also apparently the most crashingly successful defense against attempts to make me feel inferior that has ever been devised. When I’m someplace that says on the label that it’s all about the tech, so am I. I may have come by it naturally, but it is a teachable skill. Not only that, it’s a skill that transforms the places where it’s exercised.

The “women in tech” experience is not monolithic — not for the women who feel uncomfortable in the tech community, and not for the women who feel comfortable in it, either. None of our stories are universal, but when we look at any landscape of stories from enough of a remove, we begin to see patterns. Right now, the dominant narrative about women in tech is overwhelmingly woven of antipatterns. We know a lot about how to go from problems to bad solutions, but if we’re going to make a tech community where people feel welcome, we have to figure out how to go from problems to good solutions — and disparaging women like me as gender traitors makes those of us who aren’t too socially thickheaded to know better far more reluctant to speak up so that there can even be a narrative about amelioration patterns. This isn’t “fuck you, got mine,” this is “damn you, why won’t you let me give you what I have?”

Read all of it at https://medium.com/dear-blank/bd6321c66b37

Sapiosexual Is a Word? And Other Stories


So a curious word was in my Facebook feed today. The word was sapiosexual. “What’s this?” you ask. I’ll tell you.

Sapiosexual is “a behavior of becoming attracted to or aroused by intelligence and its use.”

OMG right?

Basically it goes like this:

Me? I don’t care too much about the looks. I want an incisive, inquisitive, insightful, irreverent mind. I want someone for whom philosophical discussion is foreplay. I want someone who sometimes makes me go ouch due to their wit and evil sense of humor. I want someone that I can reach out and touch randomly. I want someone I can cuddle with. I decided this all means that I am sapiosexual.

I feel like this is …  has been the feelings of most people who have a bent towards rationality and logic; however,  never before has this abstract idea been laid out in such a concrete way. (By the way, the word sapiosexual is a neologism.)

And, as so often happens when you (or I at least) discover new knowledge, more intellectual knowledge/information in regards to intellectual love spewed forth. This time in the form of an old(ish) website post about “the needs of an INTP” spouse or mate. It definitely struck a chord with me. Maybe it will with you too.

Below is what I found,  a general gender-neutral statement about what an INTP mate needs. After the jump is what an INTP woman wrote about in regards to her INTP needs in a mate.

Cheers!

-=Eds

IGANOKAMI’S GUIDE TO THE INTP MATE

1. Lots of sex 
I dont think it is just me as an INTP who finds this a very important part of a relationship and the most important physical expression of love in a relationship – it is NOT a selfish act for selfish physical satisfaction. but hell, it is damn pleasing, too

2. Moral support 
It is a tough world out there for INTPs

3. An equal 
INTPs have no wish to dominate, and are crushed by domination

4. Someone who is next to unoffendable. 
INTPs tend to lack tact, but also want and need to be brutally honest with thier intimate partners – they want someone who they can playfully insult, who will then either laugh in thier face or give it right back.

5. Someone who can accept them for who they are and not try to change them. 
INTPs appear erratic to the casual observer in a relationship, for example – they appear to demand solitude one moment, sex the next. Non-INTPs find this VERY hard to reconcile with their typical conception of “love”

6. Someone who accepts the peculiar WAYS they show thier love. 
Be it really, really sappy hopless-romantic type drivel or passionate physical expression, or just a touch or a simple look. The INTP way is very hard to catch, if you blink, you miss it. Non-INTPs tend to want tokens and words, not a slow dance in a room with no radio, not a quiet cuddle in front of the TV at the end of the day, or the other strange and random expressions that INTPs tend to give. [This ties in with #5.]

7. SPACE [as in both physical and emotional space
In case it was missed, I’ll mention it again: SPACE!! INTP men need their free time to pursue intellectual pursuits, and CAN NOT be:
a.) disturbed 
b.) told they dont love thier partner because they spend too much time “alone”, etc. 
INTP men disappear for a while, then come out swinging. this FORCES most non-INTPs to think that the INTP partner only wants them for sex. This is wrong, but if the non-INTP is not capable of #5 and #6, they are forced to believe it.

8. Comforting. [this goes along with #2.]
The world sucks, particularly for INTPs. They are capable of an utterly staggering amount of patience and responsibility, but in the long run, without #2 and #8, the relationship will ultimately die, or the INTP will DIE a very real death. With #2 and #8, an INTP can take a spectacular amount of abuse, responsibility, and patience in life, as long as his partner supplies #2 and #8 in sufficient quantities.

9. An intellect. a person who can hold their own in a debate. 
The words “you always think you are right!!” are the LAST words an INTP wants to hear from their mate. The INTP wants debate! Wants intellectual stimulation! If they doesnt get it at home, #7 becomes very very very important. If their mate can not handle #7, there will be PROBLEMS. If the mate can supply #9, the INTP will be very happily occupied with their mate for a long, long time.

10. Someone to learn with. [This goes with #9]
Someone who is interested in learning and intellectual stimulation. The INTP needs someone who they can learn with and enjoy the mysteries and adventures of life with. Someone who can understand their interest in the esoteric, show appreciation for their interests, and even join them in these interests, or introduce them to new ones. 

11. Someone capable of self reflection and self analysis. 
Often the INTP finds that they are the only one “growing” in a relationship, the only one who can see the problems in the relationship. This usually forces the INTP to be the one to change, to be the one to compromise for their partner. Because many non-INTPs have no true ability to self reflect the non-INTP thinks they are ALWAYS right. The INTP spends their life examining themselves and their relationship to see what they need to do to make it work. So they spend all their time critically analyzing it, and the mate does nothing but demand that they change. This will eventually lead to the spiritual DEATH of the INTP, if not the actual PHYSICAL death of the INTP. To avoid this, the INTP person NEEDS a mate who can examine the relationship WITH them, so they can grow TOGETHER

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Foo Fighters Friday


Over the summer, the band the Foo Fighters went on a summer tour. However, this wasn’t any normal rock arena concert tour. Nope. Instead of doing that, the Foo Fighters went on a garage tour. They picked ardent fans (I think they are all ardent), and criss-crossed across the USA and (Canada’s Toronto) and played their garages. The video below documents what happened.

Enjoy.

White People Sh*t Wednesday


I saw this scene in this movie with Clint Eastwood. In the scene, Eastwood is teaching some “nip” kid how to speak like a “real man.”

The scene starts with Eastwood walking into a barber shop and saying:

“How ya doing Martin, you crazy Italian prick? “

The actor playing Martin responds:

“Walts! You cheap bastard! I should have known you’d come in, I was having such a pleasant day! “

Prior to the greet, the barber says this when Eastwood walks in with the “nip” kid:

“Perfect! A Polak and AND a Chink!”

So now Eastwood tells this kid.

“Now you go out and come back in and talk to him like a man, like a REAL man. Come on! Get your ass outta here! Come on back now. “

And the kid comes back in and says:

“What’s up ya old Italian prick? “

And Martin, the barber goes:

[pointing rifle at Thao] “Get out of my shop before I blow your head off, you goddamn dick sucker! Go! “

Eastwood goes:

“What the hell are you doing? Have you lost your mind? “

Thao, the character who’s trying to talk like a “real man” says:

“But that’s what you said. That’s what you said men say.”

And the scene ends like so:

Walt Kowalski: You don’t just come in and insult the man in his own shop! You just don’t do that. What happens if you meet some stranger? You get the wrong one, he’s gonna blow your gook head right off!**
Thao Vang Lor: What should I have said then?
Barber Martin: Well… why don’t you start with… eeehm… Hi or Hello…
Walt Kowalski: Yeah, just come in and say… eeeehm… Sir, I’d like a haircut if you have the time.
Barber Martin: Yeah, be polite, but don’t kiss ass.
Walt Kowalski: In fact you could talk about a construction job you just came from and bitch about your girlfriend and your car.
Barber Martin: eeeehm… Son of a bitch, I just got my brakes fixed and eeehmm those son of bitches really nailed me, I mean they screwed me right in the ass!
Walt Kowalski: Yeah, don’t swear AT the guy, just talk about people who are not in the room… eeeh… you could talk about your boss… eeeh… making you work extra time when there is bowling night.
Barber Martin: Right, or… eeeh… my old lady bitches for two goddamn hours about how… eeeeh… they don’t take expired coupons at the grocery stores. And the minute I turn on the fucking game, she starts crying how we never talk! ***

The point of this little rehash is about differences in culture and societal norms.

One afternoon, I was listening to a co-worker talk about how he was having an argument with a bus driver.

The back-story is this, the bus driver took off when this co-worker was standing at the door to the bus. This is the second time it had happened to him and the problem was that a bus only comes every hour and this was the bus he needed to get to work.

So he goes to a stop where he knows he can catch the bus.

The co-worker finally comes face-to-face with the bus driver and he recounts what he said to the bus driver to us.  At some point the co-worker called the bus driver  “motherfucker.” And the co-worker goes on to say that as soon as he did that, he realized that he lost the argument he was trying to make.

The bus driver called the co-worker in as “belligerent” and refused to move the bus any further. Reminder, this was not the first time my co-worker just got left by this bus driver. So you’d think he’d have every right to call him a motherfucker, but apparently not.

As Eastwood’s character says…“don’t swear AT the guy.”

My immediate reaction to this phenomenon that my co-worker described and even Eastwood’s character’s reaction was “white people shit.”

Where I come from swearing is a signal to another person that they have

A) crossed the line, and

B) pissed you off

And the gloves are off and we are one step away from fisticuffs or a brawl.

No decent human being wants to cuss out another. It is an uncouth practice and at the same time, if another person is already doing something uncouth, then to the person cussing, the situation has already been brought to an uncouth level. (Well hell, I tried to be good but you’re still being an ass and I will not be the toilet for your shitty dump.)

I’ve always understood that cussing, in my social world, is more like a warning signal.

It means that the person will not back down and that they are capable of going apeshit on your ass. It would be the same as giving someone a passive warning that this is the wrong way to go and you might get hurt if you continue down this path. (Not only that but apparently cussing makes you feel better.)

My reaction was uttered in mixed company, with white people and non-white people. The white side of the room remained quiet while the non-white people laughed.

I understand this “white people shit” difference (now) but as someone who is from a different social background, where this type of behavior is grounded in acceptance because it relates to a social identity, it really bugs me that others not from this background are so quick to judge people (specifically me) being like this.

It makes saying things like “It’s alright as long as it’s all white,” sound reasonable.

In professional relationships it’s one thing (it’s just not professional at all), in personal relationships it’s a big deal (this is how I was raised, this is my identity and its always been okay, until I met you. Plus, because everyone [in my community/society]knows the everyone is capable of  doing this, we do our best not to let it get to this level).

Even if you don’t like people swearing at you, to respond to this behavior with something like “this is not how proper people behave” is rude and insulting because as I wrote earlier:

Swearing is a signal to another person that they have

A) crossed the line, and

B) pissed you off

And the gloves are off and we are one step away from fisticuffs or a brawl.

So say you can’t handle that type of confrontation: Say that you want to talk but you want some ground rules. Or let them have their say and once you’ve listened to them and the problem has been settled, take the time to talk to them about things like this.

Is it so wrong to ask for others to accept your societal norms as much as you accept theirs?

But this sh*t?

“This is not how proper people behave”

Automatically leads to:

Kiss it (_|_)

I’m glad my co-worker relayed that story to me though. Now I know how I can relate better to others even if they aren’t sensitive enough to try and relate to me. (Jerks, assholes, punks, ccksckers. Hey, I’m making myself feel better.)

*I also considered naming this post, WASP Aspiration Wednesday, since the value I’m talking about it is more of a societal class value then an ethnic one but WASP Aspiration Wednesday doesn’t have quite the same ring at White People Sh*t Wednesday.

** My mom always said don’t try to make someone angry, you don’t know what type of crazy you’ll get.

*** See the movie scene below

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Music Filler – La Roux


(Old post that I just fixed.)

I was in a musical wormhole when I landed on the group La Roux. La Roux is an English synthpop band comprised of the singer Elly Jackson and Ben Langmaid, who does not perform in live performances.

Jackson’s outspoken ways and androgynous look has made a splash over in the UK and most recently the singer has been adopted as the muse for the designers Viktor & Rolf.

The act has been added to the revived Lilith Fair, did Coachella, and are currently on tour in the United States.

In May2o1o, La Roux with Major Lazer put out a free mixtape called LAZERPROOF (free meaning give us your email address and we’ll let you download this) that you can get here.