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You're crazy and its ilk are a tactic rather commonly used to silence and dismiss feminist speech by insisting or implying that the speaker has some form of mental illness, with the implication that their speech therefore is invalid. This tactic is heavily supported by deep-rooted ableism against people with mental health conditions, as well as institutionalized and systemic sexism. Racial minorities are also disproportionately affected.
It is a direct descendant and not much more than a word-swapped version of the now obsolete The woman's hysterical!
Framing feminist speech as "insane" can involve using the following tactics:
- Associating or equating non-conformity and pretty much any culturally rejected personality trait, no matter how natural, with mental illness. Can be weaved with respectability politics into a false dichotomy, in which "no wholesome woman would $ACT way because it isn't lady-like/respectable/Christian/whatever, therefore $ACT must be a sign of instability".
- Framing speech of oppression (especially personal testimonials) as paranoia, victim mentality, or delusions of persecution.
- Framing feminist anger as a symptom of a mood disorder. A form of Tone policing.
- Framing disagreement and straightforwardness as an unhealthy symptom. Also a form of Tone policing.
- Using any real or imagined history of psychological or psychiatric treatment or counselling as an Ad hominem "proof" that their speech is invalid.
- Concern trolling with phrases such as:
- "I get what you're talking about but this much anger just isn't healthy."
- "You sound really upset. Perhaps you should consider counselling to help face your extreme emotions."
- Playing kitchen psychiatrist and analyzing any act or lack of thereof as a sign of an unhealthy mindset, defensive mechanism, or outright disorder.
- Accusations of being paranoid or over-reacting may be used to dismiss real and warranted concerns of things like online harrassment and outright physical threat.
- Framing staying on topic or choosing and keeping a theme (in a blog for instance) as obsession.
Institutional sexism Edit
Institutional sexism does exist in the field of psychology, for instance when sexist ideas on how women should act takes the place of what is normal. This can lead to systemic re-victimization and medicalization, especially when women facing intersectional prejudice (geek, nonconformative, WOC, sexual or gender minority, etc) are concerned. From a feminist point of view, this is especially problematic because institutional sexism can:
- breed mistrust and frustration, which is counter-productive to improvement
- dismiss and misattribute valid and natural anger as unbalance or an outright symptom of a disorder
- shame women for the way they feel or the intensity of their feelings, or for their non-standard way of life
- contest women's choice, especially implying compensation for emotional needs
In addition, due to the circumstances of psychological and psychiatric treatment and counselling, even individual-level sexism of a single psychologist/psychiatrist can have devastating effects, potentially doing more harm than good for the person. Outright malpractice can occur due to such prejudice, potentially resulting in a multitude of personal issues for the person and furthering negative associations of the mental health system.
Geek concerns Edit
Geek women face some specific prejudices:
- spending a lot of time on the computer and/or on the Net gets associated with depression, ignoring the specific activities -- it may be her favourite hobby for instance. Computer activity is not as readily interpreted as a sign of depression for geek men.
- Being logical and rational can be perceived as abnormal for a woman and subject to inappropriate scrutiny.
- Players of violent video games are stereotyped unfairly in the media. Female players of violent video games face even more extreme stereotypes.
- Geek women that write fanfiction containing violent, sexual, and other "controversial" themes may be scrutinized. This may occur regardless of the original work's contents and tone.
- Geek women prone to the flow phenomenon may stay up late or feel a lowered need of sleep when passionately engaged in their favourite activities. This can be easily overplayed in importance as a symptom of some serious disorder even when other manic-type phenomena are missing.
- Geek women, if they have social ineptitude qualities (in the vein of Asperger's Syndrome), are introverted, or simply prefer to engage in their preferred activities than socialize with the available group who might not meet their social profile at all, are easily conceived of being abnormally withdrawn sue to the idea that women aren't normal if they're not social butterflies.
- Geek women of Asian descent easily gain the preconception as an academic perfectionists who's ready to "snap" at any moment under too much stress.
- "Covert" techniques for testing memory for evaluating possibility of disorders such as Disossiative Personality Disorder may yield misguiding results if the tested has the typical geek trait of paying little attention to details they consider trivial.
- Any lengthy verbal delivery can be framed as a "rant" just for being lengthy, rather than a sign of intelligence and passion.
- Consumers of science fiction and fantasy, video game and TTRPG players, and fanfiction writers can easily be interpreted of "living in their own fantasy worlds" and being disconnected from reality. Avid reading, playing or writing habits do not face such quick judgement if the genres are more conventional, such as historical romance, classic board games, or poetry.