Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cray-Shaming: Slut-Shaming's Uglier Cousin

Someone brought me to task the other for saying that a woman in a commercial who had HUMONGOUS pupils had “crazy eyes”. This is a physical condition seen in most Looney Tunes cartoons, comic book supervillains, and people who have very, very large round eyes, and usually larger-than-average pupils and irises. I believe the term is called mydriasis. My protester’s objection to my use of the term is that many men use this to describe women with extra large eyes, who may look somewhat surprised all the time, and that this is a physical feature that let’s you KNOW that a woman is probably “crazy” and will do something that will drive you nuts. Urban Dictionary coins the term crazy eyes as “When you look in a girl's eyes and you just know that b**** is f***in’ crazy.” -_- ...never use Urban Dictionary.

She went on to say that the only times she has heard this term is when it is attributed to women, and the accusers were bros. At that point, I was a little bit offended, because I attributed “crazy eyes” to men and women alike, like James Holmes and...um...uh…(s***)...She also said that when said bros describe their past experiences with the “crazy eyes”, it was usually things like, “She kept hounding me! We met a week ago, and I got a text from her EVERY DAY!” or, “Why would she want to know what’s going on with us? We only f***ed three times!”. It was not anything like, “She poured tar and feathers all over my car when I said I thought her chicken french was a little dry!” or , “It was only a week, and she made an anatomically correct life-size model of me with rabbit ears on the genitals!” or even, “She broke up with me, but then showed up at my door at 2:00am. How did she get in? YOU HAVE TO BUZZ INTO THE BUILDING!!!”...that last one definitely happened...Hearing her point, I had to think about how/when I used the term “crazy eyes”, and now I am subjecting you to my introspection.

I first started using the term “crazy eyes” after the 2005 runaway bride case of Jennifer Wilbanks. She got cold feet about her wedding in Duluth, Georgia, ran away, and then called from Albuquerque, New Mexico, saying she was kidnapped by a now-known imaginary Hispanic dude and his girlfriend. The media ate this story up. It had everything: a pretty white woman missing, a countdown to a special event, and even placing blame on some brown people! As soon as the story broke that “a Hispanic man and his girlfriend” kidnapped her, I knew the story was BS, and sure enough, she fessed up a few days later. Oh yeah, and she had HUGE eyes. Every picture she took looked like she was a deer in the road, accidentally sitting on a fusilli Jerry. A physician came on CNN, and explained that the “crazy eyes” could have been a tell that Ms. Wilbanks was prone to poor and extreme judgement in her actions, and one should be careful of people with this feature. Since the physician was a woman, I thought that she MUST have known her stuff and would never just say any tripe to get on TV. Now it’s a few years later, and I realise that EVERY minority group has its Alan Keyes, and this physician was one for women.

There is a long, prickly history between women and scientific, medical, and psychological institutions. Both industries, since their inceptions, have treated women like vulnerable, incoherent animals, not humans of the same species as the practitioners. This goes back farther than just turn-of-the-century hysteria and nymphomania diagnoses. Go back hundreds and thousands of years. Woman have been put in asylums for just speaking their minds, or trying to read and do math, or question what a man says, or wanting their own land, or wanting to vote. There is no telling how many women have been deemed witches and drowned or burned at the stake because they just asked a simple question in church or strived to learn more than cooking and cleaning. How many women were diagnosed insane because they liked the feel of pants compared to corsets and dresses? I’ll bet you that millions, possibly billions, were killed because of things like this. I’ll bet you that any “doctor” who examined them deemed them insane or “over sensitive” or something ridiculous. The Crazy eyes diagnosis reeks of this. Now, how could I, as a black and Hispanic man in America, two groups who ALSO have had a long, prickly relationship with the scientific, medical, and psychological communities, NOT see the bulls*** for all the trees? We have had almost as bad a relationship! Scientists have tried to classify us as another species, attempted to deem us physically inferior and too simple-minded to operate complex tasks, and have LITERALLY made us test animals for testing diseases and vaccines! Amidst all this, we Jesse Owened the f*** out of the Berlin Games, Tuskegee Airmanned the Air Force, and Mae Jemisoned motherf***ing SPACE! Yet and still, there are “scientists” who try to claim that black and brown people are either physiologically or psychologically different from white men. The only difference is a little bit more affinity for Vitamin D...maybe more rhythm…

The same thing still happens with women as well. Routine practises for women are being legislated upon in nearly every state at some level. The treatments for women, if they DO get access to, say, birth control, sometimes do a lot more to mess with their chemical balance than if they never got treatment. Side effects of some forms of birth control are insane! The people who created them honed in on one issue and did not care one bit about the possible side effects. I hear complaints from women all the time, even female physicians, that when they go to their GPs, it can be like a woman going to a mechanic. The dismissive tone is ridiculous and dehumanising. I should know, because the last old white male doctor to whom I went had EXACTLY the same tone with me.

So this is somewhat of an apology to the woman I offended, and will hopefully see again to apologise in person. The whole correlation of “crazy eyes” and mental instability is about as valid as phrenology. The only “phrenology” to which people should take heed is the Roots’ 5th studio album. With terms and phrases with bad ethnic histories getting thrown around nowadays as if they wouldn’t bring up ghosts of the past, I should have been more aware of the use of “crazy eyes”. Crazy eyes connotes cray-shaming, an ugly cousin of slut-shaming. One attacks a woman’s mind, and the other attacks a her body. Both attack her character though. A “man” uses the term “crazy eyes” when a woman is explaining her emotions and actions, and instead of him reciprocating if he doesn’t feel the same way, he just armchair diagnoses her cray and runs away. From now on, I’ll only call people crazy who make anatomically correct papier mache models of me with rabbit ears on the genitals. And even then, it could be just an art project! Who am I to judge?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Disqus for The Chronicles of Nonsense

Follow by Email