Recently an article was published in The Washington Post noting that men really need to stop calling women "crazy." In the same vein as "bossy" or "slutty" this adjective is predominantly applied to women in a way that is meant to demean or undermine who they are. Typically when a man is going through a traumatic time, he's referred to as "going through something," or "acting a bit emotional," but usually never "crazy." This is one of two double-standard terms that I'd like us to end today.
The other is calling men "dicks." These two terms, "crazy" and "dick," often come up when there is a break-up afoot. Imagine your best friend parting ways with her long-term boyfriend. You're sitting there over drinks and she is complaining how things ended poorly. An easy go-to would be to say, "He sounds like a real dick. You deserve better," and move on. I've found that in talking with friends in this situation, some women tend to justify break-ups without obvious endings by the man being a dick in the same way that some men I know will blow off a break-up by saying the woman was simply crazy. Both are incredibly offensive.
First of all, just because a woman has different emotional needs than her partner does not mean she has a mental illness. It's disrespectful to say that a woman who may come off as clingy, or controlling, or just wants different forms of communication than you, is mentally ill. I have no idea how it came to be such common parlance but for any men reading, let's please cut that adjective out of our dating/break-up vocabulary.
On the flip side, I have no idea how it became okay to reduce men to a physical body part when they act like a jerk. A guy blows you off and pulls the slow fade? Wow! What a penis. See what I did there? Instead of calling a man a coward I said that he is simply nothing more than that one part of his physical anatomy. I mean, it's ridiculous that either of these terms are used so frequently. But seriously? A dick? That's almost as bad as a group of men sitting around a pub calling a woman the c-word.
But I offered the complaint so I'll also offer a potential solution. Without further ado, here are some ways we can describe that person who mistreated us:
- Emotionally unavailable
- At a different point in their life than you are
- A horrible communicator
- Not ready to be in a serious relationship
- Not the one for you
All of these terms of more descriptive than saying someone is "crazy" or a "dick." They actually describe one aspect of the problem at hand, and looking at that problem directly is going to help you long-term, as opposed to glossing over it with catchy derogative phrases. Plus, the writer in me feels like we are butchering the English language when we reduce our complicated emotional framework to words like "crazy" and "dick." Let's expand our vocabulary, treat the gender we prefer with some kindness, and be a bit clearer when we explain how our exes are just motherf*ckers.
Photo Credit: Getty Images; Lodro Rinzler is the author of
The Buddha Walks into a Bar" and the founder of the Institute for Compassionate Leadership.