Opinion: Women aren't crazy, men just aren't listening

College students must stop using gender slurs to discredit women

“Bro, I had to break it off, she was crazy!”

This is something I hear thrown around in conversations about why 'so-and-so is not hooking up with that girl anymore.' It's usually not the woman being 'crazy,' but instead being vulnerable with her emotions. 

Calling a woman crazy — or various other gender slurs — is often the go-to reaction when referring to a woman who doesn't conform to expected norms or is perceived as overly emotional.

College students, especially college men, need to stop using these slurs toward women.

"'Emotional’ is a term used to label women whom you don’t want to have a voice in a situation," Matthew Zawadzki, Ph.D., said in an article for Refinery29 by Amber Madison. "It’s a way to discredit her instead of having to listen; the words ‘you’re acting crazy’ really mean ‘I don’t have to pay attention to you.’”

College students see this in movies, music and in everyday life. During the 2016 election, Donald Trump infamously coined the term "nasty woman" in reference to Hilary Clinton.

Regardless of any political or moral views toward Clinton, the interruption by Trump shows that it does not matter how powerful one may be, gender slurs can still be used to discredit a woman's voice.

Now, it is necessary to fight the impulse of using these words in everyday interactions.

Of course, there are a number of gender slurs that get thrown around for all genders — and all are inexcusable. The slurs directed toward women, however, seem to be the most pertinent across all social platforms and in day-to-day life. 

Calling a woman crazy rather than facing the truth behind her words can tend to be the easier option for some. 

These gender slurs even show themselves in the corporate world where assertive men are admired while assertive women are considered bossy or "bitches."

Aviva Dove-Viebahn, an assistant professor of film and media studies in ASU's English department, said that it isn't about stopping people from using this language, as people should be allowed to speak freely. Instead, it's about changing the mindset of those who use any derogatory terms. 

“It’s to shift people's mindsets around why that kind of language is derogatory and leads to other issues like rape culture and harassment,” Dove-Viebahn said. “Helping people understand that they are not just words, they are words that inspire other actions or behavior.”

This arsenal of words college men use to describe women with whom they disagree or don't understand has created a stereotype around women that they are crazy and overly emotional. 

“The objective seems to be to make the woman question her own reactions, to plunge her into a dilemma of either playing along or being judged to be uptight and humourless, when, of course, she is neither," wrote Barbara Ellen in a column for The Guardian.

It all plays into gender norms, and the idea that women are driven by emotions. It is important for male cohorts to see women’s arguments for what they are rather than dismissing them with a one-worded slur. 

Next time, do not just call her "crazy." Evaluate her feelings and actually consider her point as an equal peer. 

Reach the columnist at psaso@asu.edu and follow @paytonsaso on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the authors’ and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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