Are You A ‘Crazy Woman?’

rachel bloom crazy ex girlfriend

by Lucy Vine |
Published on

An obsession with the TV show Crazy Ex Girlfriend has columnist Lucy Vine thinking about the stupid women-be-crazy trope...

I just Googled ‘crazy women’ and found some LOVELY websites. The first page of results shows me (so turned on by that name), which says ‘All women are basically crazy’. The (bro bile, amiright?) explains, ‘Why women are crazy’. have done a piece called ‘50 signs you’re dating a crazy chick’, while ‘’ asks innocently, ‘Are all women crazy?’

laughs gently No,, not all women are crazy. winks

I think this is what we call the ‘manosphere’, and it is delightful. But this old trope of women being ‘crazy’ isn’t restricted to the lame dude living in his mum’s basement hating women because they keep rejecting him even though he’s such a Nice Guy and he’ll only call you a stupid bitch if you don’t reply to his Tinder smiley face.

It’s an idea totally engrained in society. And, particularly if you’re a single woman over 30, you will have come up against it over and over, you mad cat lady, you. I literally just opened a dating app ten minutes ago and a perfectly normal looking man has sent me a message that reads, ‘So how come a good looking girl like u is single? Ur not crazy are u? x’ To be honest, he lost me at ‘u’, but it’s almost too eye-rolling-ly normal and pathetic to care about.

But then I got obsessed with Netflix’s new addition My Crazy Ex Girlfriend, which brilliantly spoofs the whole idea. It’s about Rebecca Bunch, an unhappy lawyer who bumps into her first love on the street and spontaneously quits her job to move across country to be near him (my review: it’s so funny and there are SONGS!). The theme tune sings cheerfully about ‘My crazy ex girlfriend,’ while star Rachel Bloom (who, by the way, is also co-creator, co-writer, and co-writes the songs) interjects, ‘That’s a sexist term,’ and then, ‘It’s a lot more nuanced than that.’

Because of course it is always more nuanced when someone is behaving erratically. Putting aside the problematic word itself (that many mental health charities have an understandably big problem with because it stigmatises mental illness), we are all just people, and people are ‘crazy’. We are all high maintenance. We are all needy. We all get hangry and we all have mood swings. We all nag and whine. But these are words we only use about women. Accusing a woman of being crazy or using any of these other gendered words when referring to women is just another way of trying to control behaviour. So that she thinks, ‘Oh, I mustn’t let any of my insecurities or worries out. I mustn’t cry in front of him or ask for what I want, or tell him I find the Flora advert really moving, because he will think I’m like his ex-girlfriend who he told me was totally crazy.’

Gurl, you’re not crazy. I find that Flora advert really moving too. Dinosaurs do love plants.

The Guardian this week pointed out that ‘perhaps the rise of the craziest man in the 21st century will force a rethink’, referring to the presidential candidate who ‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘joked’’’’’’’’’’ about the murder of his female opponent this week. I’m not going to examine Donald Trump again here because I have to stop obsessively talking and tweeting about that guy, it’s taking over my life. But it’s a good point, because we so rarely look at ‘crazy men’ – even though I’ve always seen and experienced far more total nutso levels of nutso behaviour from men than I ever have from women. About once a month I have to ignore yet another email from a guy I had two dates with three years ago. But after centuries of perpetuating the idea that it’s a female tendency – that our wombs and vaginas make us hysterical – we don’t seem able to see men that way.

It’s called bias confirmation. Every time you hear a story about a girl acting crazy, it confirms the idea you already have, that women are prone to craziness. But every time you hear about a boy acting crazy, you hear that story on its own. We see it as a random act of craziness, not part of a pattern of female, period-having madness.

Honestly, I don’t like the word anyway, because of the stigma around mental illness, but I don’t have an issue with people thinking I’m ‘crazy’. I certainly understand that shouting in bars about countries that still haven’t made marital rape illegal doesn’t put me in the category of low maintenance. But I am so bored and sick and bored and sick and bored of it being a Female Issue. So, and the rest of mankind, stop calling us crazy. Especially u on the dating apps.

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