‘’You know her husband is trying to prove her crazy to get the custody of kids he abandoned “ I shared with my husband over a cup of morning tea, this shocking detail about an ongoing divorce of his female relative. Suddenly I step back. ‘Did I see a sarcastic smile being wiped from my husband’s lips in haste but after making sure that I see it’ (I concur- won’t comment-avoid quarrel kind of smile!). I leave with my cup of tea! And I wonder about the smile!
How can my husband smile like that when he knows all the details of the case? A woman abandoned six years back with a son and daughter still in kindergarten by her cheating, lying, and physically abusive husband belonging to a reputed family. The woman besides coping with her abandonment and the stigma attached, with no formal degree and experience started her work as interior designer from scratch, learning on the job. Single-handedly not only does she manage to give them good education in the best school of Delhi but does not even neglect their extra-curricular activities. She makes time to drive her daughter to Russian embassy for ballet classes and son to British Council besides giving best medical aid to her asthmatic son. How much she must have struggled to do all this alone as a single parent? Meanwhile her husband vacillated between different jobs and different girlfriends before slamming the divorce case on her after six years. He never gave a dime for their education, health, food, rent and he had the gall to try to prove her ‘crazy’. Sure ‘crazy’ to have survived with her kids on Rs 1700 he left her with!
And here was my husband-a mature, stable, kind, responsible, intelligent, supportive person, the best of the lot maybe who just smiles reflexively on hearing a woman called ‘crazy’ Concurring with the general diagnosis of women who stand up in this men’s world. I was ashamed of my husband that moment, a husband I adore. And a disquieting thought settled on me- ‘If my husband who is maybe in upper 5% of ‘evolved’ men can show knee-jerk reflex (or lip-smirk reflex!) like this what can be expected from general men who are still with reptilian brain as far as evolution goes!
It’s so easy to call a woman ‘crazy’. She can be called ‘crazy’ for any number of reasons or for no reason! It is the cloak which fits on every kind of women under any circumstances. In fact it’s so mundane to call a woman ‘crazy’ that it shows lack of creativity on man’s part as far as abuses go. It’s a very handy, easy, boring insult! It’s an abuse reserved exclusively for women though. Man can only be ‘crazy in love’ and then crazy sounds and means ‘cute’. Woman ‘crazy in love’ is not even cute-here the woman maybe a stalker or someone texting a man every hour. Maybe because her intuition tells her that he is cheating her! It doesn’t matter if he is actually with other woman. She is ‘crazy’ to have intuited the truth right? And still ‘crazier’ for asking him uncomfortable questions about his lies and she is ‘craziest’ if she leaves him after he keeps on repeating his transgressions killing her in bits and pieces.
Calling her ‘crazy’ dismisses her in one word. It’s easier to discredit her than having to explain. You do not want to take responsibility of how you made her feel? Easy! Call her ‘crazy’ and throw your accountability out of the window. Now the onus to prove her sanity is on the woman. And know what? Proving your own sanity is an onerous and futile task! How will you prove it? Will “I AM NOT CRAZY” do? Of course not! We all are too aware of the maxims ‘Insane never calls himself insane’or ‘Insane do not have horns‘! We know how ‘crazy’ has lost touch with reality and is not aware of one’s mental condition. That’s the medical definition of Psychosis- isn’t it? So now what the woman labelled so do? Keep on arguing to the deaf wall of general prejudice increasing her decibels a notch each time, she feels unheard till she is shouting at the top of her voice and hear herself. To her horror she realizes that she just proved herself unhinged,’ crazy’! And tears well up in her eyes and drown her words! And you, a mute and deaf provoking spectator shrug your shoulders and take a bow before the world and your malicious smile say “Look I told you that she is crazy. Isn’t she?”
‘Crazy’ is used like a magic wand to dismiss ‘troublesome women’ in a flash. “You are crazy”- Whoosh!!! No more trouble… Welcome back sanity! ‘Troublesome woman’ can be dysphemism for anything. The term comprises a wide range of perceived insults and troubles caused by women in lives of ‘troubled’ men like “she stood up for herself”, “she argued with me and won”, “she showed emotion”, “she questioned my judgement”, “she picked up my stupidity”, “she saw through my lies”, “she tore off my mask”, “she dumped me”, “I dumped her and she asked me why ?”,“she succeeded and I couldn’t”, “she became my boss”, “she took a wise decision on her own”, “She proved right” ….. And so it goes. Anything a woman does to ‘trouble’ man can be a reason enough to be called ‘crazy’. And man doesn’t need much provocation to get ‘troubled’.
You keep on texting her, call her and seduce her. But if your smitten behavior makes her believe that you are in committed relationship with her –‘She is desperately crazy’. If your inconstant behavior provokes her intuition to warn her that you are probably lying and betraying her- ‘She is suspiciously crazy’. If instead of doubting her own memory, perception and sanity as your gas lighting intended, she plays detective and proves that her intuition about your shitty behavior was true– ‘She is desperate, suspicious, stalking crazy’.
You break up with your significant other without decency to explain or give her closure- she cries with her broken heart and ask you for a valid explanation- ‘she is crazy’. She is emotional and in your dictionary ‘emotional’ is ‘unreasonable’ like ‘crazy’ is ‘unreasonable’. So very quickly you apply the algebra rules you learnt in school (most probably by woman maths teacher!) that if a=b and b=c then a=c. So if ‘emotional’ is ‘unreasonable’ as per you and ‘crazy’ is ‘unreasonable’ as per medical science then emotional is crazy. Right? Problem solved. QED. Expect a pat on your back? You are wrong Mister! You see your presumption is cockeyed! Emotional is not crazy! You can wonder and clap at this new discovery. It can be perfectly logical to be emotional. In fact it’s ‘crazy‘ to hide your emotions beneath aggression, anger, bullying or silence. And we all know who do that most of the time!
Ironically emotional men are lauded for showing emotions! Recollect how we all loved Aamir Khan on getting emotional and weepy on the sets of ‘Satyamev Jayate’? Oh how sensitive of him! We lauded. Imagine Barkha Dutt weeping like that on the set? Either her tears will be labelled as crocodile tears or she as ‘crazy’
By calling her ‘crazy’ you want her to no longer trust her own feelings. By calling her ‘crazy’ you discredit her, invalidate her when you lack courage to answer her, acknowledge her. You call her ‘crazy’ to silence her when you lack courage to hear your truth in her words. You call her ‘crazy’ because you are a ‘coward’. Period.
Make her scream her voice
Coward then call her crazy
Silence her with abuse
Note- as Mothers lets raise our sons not to be cowards to call her ‘crazy’ or at least have better imagination and creativity. More importantly let’s teach our daughters not to be cowered into silence by this abuse. Maybe she can wear it as a badge of honour complimenting her strength and individuality when a coward calls her ‘crazy’
Originally published this post at mycity4kids.com on 29Sept2016