A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not "Crazy"
You're so sensitive. You're so emotional. You're defensive. You're overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Sound familiar? If you're a woman, it probably does. Do you ever hear any of these comments from your spouse, partner, boss, friends, colleagues, or relatives after you have expressed frustration, sadness, or anger about something they have done or said? When someone says these things to you, it's not an example of inconsiderate behavior. And this is the sort of emotional manipulation that feeds an epidemic in our country, an epidemic that defines women as crazy, irrational, overly sensitive, unhinged. I think it's time to separate inconsiderate behavior from emotional manipulation, and we need to use a word not found in our normal vocabulary. I want to introduce a helpful term to identify these reactions: gaslighting. The term comes from the 1944 MGM film, Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman. And the act of gaslighting does not simply affect women who are not quite sure of themselves. Why?
• Women's rights