Don’t Scare the Boys, Crazy Woman

Every woman has been called crazy at least once in their lives. Whether it’s on a professional or personal context, calling a woman crazy is one of the oldest tricks in the book.

It’s the one thing people know it’s going to make you angry. It’s a way to undermine a woman’s feelings and ideas. The minute we are called crazy, it’s like everything we said doesn’t matter. The foundation of our words is corrupted, questioned and dismissed.

We are constantly told that we need to act a certain way as to not be perceived as insane. We can’t be too emotional, but we can’t be too rational. If not crazy, then frigid.

We must constantly be careful as to not be too forward or come on too strong because we might scare the boys.

We have to behave and put up with all the subtle sexism embedded in people’s minds. The fact that we are cut off more often than our male counterparts, the change in voice tone when we’re spoken to and the classic thought “did he think that was a sexual advance?”.

In fairness, most people don’t do this on purpose. The mindset is so strongly a part of our society that it’s hard to snap out of it.

Women have to be classy and ignore unwanted advances, accept being called a bitch and keep going. If we respond in certain way, we were asking for it, if we are outraged, we are crazy.

Which is why it was refreshing to see the word “crazy” given a new meaning in the Nike ad “Dream Crazier”. It left me thinking of all the wonderfully crazy women in the world and everything they have done.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, multi-award winning Nigerian novelist, gave an inspiring TED talk in 2009 about “The Danger of a Single Story” and how cultural underrepresentation can narrow down a person’s mind and alienate society to diversity. In 2012 she gave another TED talk “We should all be feminists”, using her own experiences as an African feminist.

Crazy.

Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights activist who fights for the right of female and child education, is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient. The 21-year-old
helped the BBC cover Taliban’s activities in Pakistan at the age of 11 and was a victim of an attempted murder at the age of 15 due to her activism.

Totally insane.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, American Supreme Court Justice, fought for women’s right to equality in the 1970’s, winning five out of six cases. She graduated top of her class in Columbia Law School, was appointed to the highest court in the land in 1993 by President Bill Clinton and is currently the oldest member of the Court.

Absolutely mental.

There are many, many other women who have incredibly crazy achievements. They fight hard, they swim against the tide, they believe in themselves and their crazy ideals even when no one else does and they help make the world a better place.

I can only aspire to make it to the list of crazy women one day. What an honor that would be.

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