Language can be weaponized to exert power or control over a group of people. There is language commonly used towards women, which demeans them. In this case, I want to examine two very crucial ways in which often-used speech forces women into subservient positions.
You are acting crazy.
1. You are not crazy
Despite what the world has taught you to believe, you are not crazy. Being misunderstood by the patriarchy does not mean something is wrong with you. It means that the picture painted for us, of us, is not painted by us.
Sometimes it does seem that men and women are from different planets. The way we see and feel things is so different. Some of this is biology, some of this is society. Having a certain biological predisposition does not equate to a worthier human being. Differences don’t inherently mean something is wrong with us.
Men carry themselves in a certain way. Strength is their power. Any display of emotion is weakness, making women, by comparison, the weaker sex. That so-called strength can be used to oppress, it can be used to exert power over, it can be used to harm femininity.
This is where the problem lies. The way women express themselves and their sensuality is used for profit and power. The strength of the dominant sex is used to weaponize words and keep women in a delicate state. It is used to keep women as victims.
The term “crazy” is a dreadful anti-feminist term. It originated in the 1570s to mean: Diseased, full of cracks, broken, full of flaws.
This term is now widely used as defacement of women. It’s a term used to subjugate those who speak up against their abusers or acts of violence. Using the word “crazy” is a very effective way for men to suppress the stories of women by labeling them broken or sick.
When a woman is called crazy, it undermines her message. It tells others that there cannot possibly be substance to her words; she is deeply and internally unwell.
We see you, woman, and we are proud of you.
You cry too much; why are you so emotional?
2. Being emotional doesn’t mean you’re weak
The word emotional has also been weaponized against women. Emotions are beautiful in their many forms. When we hear the term emotional, we may think of out-of-control anger or profound sadness. What about happiness? What about passion? Would we be called emotional for a vast expression of these emotions?
I’ve never had a man complain about me being too passionate.
They love to see me happy. They love to see me embody something I love and exhibit desire, passion, sensuality.
I have been told that I’m too emotional, though. That I feel too deeply or care too much. Being blamed for being emotional, as if it is a curse to bear, undermines the essence of who I am.
Emotionality is not a deficit. Having true empathy for others is not a weakness. It is something I value, something special, a unique way I get to see and experience the world. This is a part of the immense power of women. The ability to express love, happiness, and yes, even anger or sadness—that is all part of the package.
The word emotional, when used correctly, could mean to be so moved by something that one is brought to a state of emotion. To experience this vast array of emotions truly and purely is a gift. You may see things in a way that others do not.
When the word emotional is used as a weapon, you may suppress these emotions to appear more “normal.” This is immensely painful and detrimental. Think of emotional suppression as shaking a can of soda. You keep jerking the can, and the pressure builds until the can is hard as a rock and, if opened, will explode everywhere. Emotions were not made to live bottled in a can.
Think about who defined the term “normal” regarding emotional expression. If normal is a flat affect and stoic disposition, I will always choose to be emotional and see the world with all its beautiful colors and shades of feeling. I hope you do the same.