Why we shouldn’t get our relationship advice online


Editor’s Note: The author, Amanda Miller, is a student in the fall 2010 Women’s Studies Program Special Topics course, That Chick is Crazy: Women and Madness, at The University of Akron.

Recently there was an article written by Madeline Murphy that let the cat out of the bag about all women. It exposed the biggest lies she said “all” women tell. 

These “essential five lies ALL women tell” are a valuable asset to men, according to Murphy, because now that men have learned about the manipulative lies their women are telling, women will become more “straightforward.”

You must be wondering what these five infamous lies ALL women tell could be. Well, if you’re a women you probably already know them quite well, but in a nutshell the first trick in our liar handbook is the lie, “I’m not mad at you.” All women, of course, use this lie to avoid confrontation and defend emotions because, as Murphy states, all women dwell on their thoughts, and get overly mad about the slightest things.

The second lie used was, “I don’t mind if you go to the strip clubs with the boys,” which of course is a dead giveaway because all women are mad, crazy, jealous beings whose self-worth is measured by the insecure neediness satisfied by our boyfriends.

Next is the little white lie to “soften the rejection” of a man and make ourselves look empathetic and independent which is, “I’m just not ready for a boyfriend right now.”  Because of course we couldn’t actually NOT be interested in a relationship, or be allowed to cherish freedom and independence from men.  Why can’t women value being single as much as men do?

 The next lie, “I don’t mind picking up the tab tonight; you always pay anyway,” is a straight up lie because women “always expect men to pay.” 

The last faulty lie was “that was f*cking great!”  Which of course we would lie about because it would just hurt the man’s ego if we said how we really felt, not to mention women are not supposed to get enjoyment out of sex anyway.

I don’t know about you, but to me all of this seems quite biased; women can’t be the only liars in a relationships. This got me thinking, what about all the lies men lead women to believe?  Shouldn’t we be wary of our male partners lying habits just as much? 

After much inquiry, I came up with my own list of the top five lies ALL men tell to women, along with some ways women can detect these lies, and what they should do when their man tries to pull one of these over. 

The first lie is, “I don’t check out other women.”  Women, this is a lie ALL men tell. Of course he is checking out other women! 

Lie number two is used even more often especially when they know their in-trouble which is, “You look beautiful.”  Note to all women, if your man calls you beautiful, he is lying; he is just trying to get some later.

The third lie ALL men tell is, “I Love You, Baby.” You know he is lying when first of all he just met you, and second he isn’t even over his last girlfriend yet, which includes the two sub-lies, “I‘m over her or I‘m single.” Yet again, beware, he is just trying to get some once again with this line.

The fourth lie is, “I’m adventurous.”  This is a lie because if you call playing video games, sitting on the couch watching ESPN, and occasionally taking us out for fast food “adventurous,” then we have problems.

Finally, the last lie ALL men tell is a tie between, “I’ll take care of that next week” and “Yes, I’m listening.”  These of course speak for themselves, but we won’t hold our breath waiting for some chores to be done around the house or for them to remember something.

Of course how valid could these lies really be for both men and women to ALL use?  Obviously this is doing nothing for relationships but making people more hesitant about trusting and ultimately crazy because our guards have to constantly be up.

Relationship advice 101: Don’t get your relationship/dating advice from an article or any other less credible source!  It is simply too easy to go about making generalizations about the other sex, and I hope you can now see how anyone could come up with information such as this to stereotype the other sex, something which Murphy has mastered.    

 

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Menopause and menstruation don’t make women crazy


Editor’s Note: The author is a student in the fall 2010 Women’s Studies Program Special Topics course, That Chick is Crazy: Women and Madness, at The University of Akron.

The other afternoon, over coffee, my mom and I were talking about menopause. I honestly don’t know that much about it other than hormone levels fluctuate and your period stops. The latter part sounds like it’s too good to be true to me.

My dad overheard us, froze and asked, “Is that when you go crazy?” The fear in his voice was slightly unsettling but mostly just annoying. It’s as if he thinks that once my mom goes through menopause she’ll turn into a distant animalistic version of herself and we’ll have to lock her away.

Society projects this idea of “crazy” onto women. What does it mean to be crazy anyway? Is there some sort of scale in which to measure yourself on?

Everyone reading this will have a different answer of course. Crazy isn’t any one thing, just as women aren’t any one thing. Although, I beg to differ when someone says that perfectly natural things that happen to a woman’s body, menstruation, menopause, and so forth, are “crazy.

Historically, men’s bodies have been seen as the medical norm. So anything that falls outside of how a man’s body functions needs to be fixed. More specifically, the woman’s body. I can’t think of a single bodily process that is specific to males that we associate with madness.

What does a woman’s body do that freaks men out? It bleeds. We bleed for a week, and we don’t die. Men treat this as if we have some sort of mystical powers. I think this attitude toward periods stems mostly from the fact that they have no idea what is actually going on. In other words, they just have no clue what a period even is. To them it’s a hint to avoid us for a week like the plague. It’s not contagious, I promise!

Throughout history we have put periods through hell. As a society we have tried our hardest to delay the onset of menstruation in young girls. Now, once you’ve started your period you’re bombarded with commercials for pills and shots to stop them all together. Who are we really stopping them for, though? I’ll admit they’re pretty inconvenient at times, but you come to appreciate your period in an odd way. It’s your body’s message that things are running smoothly.

I’m thinking this whole avoidance thing could be for one of two reasons. Because of the hormonal changes going on before, during, and after a period, emotions tend to run a little high for some women. Of course, expressing any emotion short of pleasant and passive lands women another stamp of crazy. Changes in emotion associated with crazy caused by menstruation. Bam! She’s a wacko.

Or maybe, it’s something much more. Something men aren’t consciously aware of. As I’m sure you’re aware, starting menstruation means a woman now possess the power to bear children. Something men, try as they might, will never be able to do.

So without women there would be no continuation of the human race. Without women there would be no men!

Maybe they see this as something hanging over their head, something to be feared. Perhaps the fear is that women will figure this out and stop having babies or stop having as many. Which would mean women gaining greater control over their lives, which takes opportunities away from men. A battle of the sexes.

TV’s stereotypes make women look crazy


Editor’s Note: The author, Justin Wilhelm, is a student in the fall 2010 Women’s Studies Program Special Topics course, That Chick is Crazy: Women and Madness, at The University of Akron.

After watching Dee Reynolds (a character played by Caitlin Olsen on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia) lose her mind and her temper after being repeatedly harassed by her brother to peel him an apple, I began to wonder why comedies or sitcoms take such a stereotypical approach to women.

Of course I understand that comedies draw on common stereotypes to make their characters funny and to relate them to the people and thoughts of their audience. (Yes, it’s true, your favorite shows do rely on stereotypes for humor and appeal, and you can read more about the negative affects of this practice.)

So I began critiquing some female characters in my mind and comparing them to some male counterparts. This thought experiment provides what I believe to be a good snapshot of how society — or at least the TV writers trying to gauge society — thinks of women.

I started by considering all shows in general and discovered that television shows that fall into the “drama” or “action” category came up the same. A lot of shows in this genre had strong, dominant female leads, but it seems as though their respective heroines are interchangeable.   A characters’ personality can be seamlessly inserted into the character of another show without disrupting the flow of the plot. Each is one branch cut off of the same proverbial tree, if you will.

Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Law and Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, Hawthorne, Weeds, and many other shows of this nature feature a leading or supporting woman.

Here’s what I discovered:

  • Each is outwardly strong and dominant because women must always appear to be in control.
  • Each is outspoken and often confrontational, especially when it pertains to her male colleagues because women are meant to be quiet and not rock the boat, hence the reason why this tension creates such drama.
  • Each is, in truth, is much more vulnerable and lonely then her tough exterior image projects because, at heart, aren’t all women just poor, emotional beings with fleeting emotions who suffer behind the scenes from the pressure of being a tough women?
  • Not all, but most, feature intense focus on her love life because women are simply waiting for their male character to come and rescue them, aren’t they?
  • And lastly, most feature women working to succeed in male dominated fields like law or crime or medicine because drama is created from watching women struggle against men who may not respect them.

So what about comedies then?  Dramas are meant to provide entertainment through a glamorized female role that deviates from most of society. That’s why it is so edge-of-your-seat entertaining.  Comedies, through their stereotypes, offer a much better perspective — ”woman” as seen by most people.  Here the cookie-cutter female character is much more crazy, out of touch, and seems to be in constant struggle to keep up with the plot, which makes these shows funny.

Here are some examples:

  • Remember Friends? Of course, me too. Rachel was fashion obsessed, Monica was constantly cleaning or devoting attention to the home, and Phoebe was odd (as she was different from the rest of the women).
  • How about Two and Half Men? Judith (the ex-wife, a favorite role of many comedies, it seems) is constantly portrayed as a money-hungry bitch.
  • That 70s Show featured Donna, who was mocked for being tall and boyish, and Jackie, who was the typical skinny, cheer-leading, ditz that got the boys’ attention.
  • You can also add It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Modern Family, Scrubs, Saved by the Bell, or even cartoon portrayals of women like Marge from The Simpsons or Lois from Family Guy, to the list of shows where hilarious moments ensue from stereotypical women having crazy outbursts at the men around them.

Another interesting element is how different the situations are when we compare two similar characters of different genders. Monica (Courtney Cox) from Friends is a good character to use because she is constantly cleaning her surroundings and ordering things in a typical “women is the consummate homemaker” role.

Monk (from USA’s detective show Monk) is her male counterpart.  Each is attentive to detail and will force the other characters to be tidy and orderly, as they are.  Yet in Monica’s case it is only natural for her to be this way because she is a woman.  Monk, however, suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and is a germ-a-phobe, because men are not meant to be clean and organized so some other factor that is out of his control must be what makes him so “womanly.”

If you stop to think about, we’re hit with damaging stereotypes everywhere that we look.  TV is just one of many good examples of how society views women.

But don’t take my word. Look for yourself.  Think of your favorite shows or movies and how they portray women.  Then, think of the shows and movies that are most popular today and how they portray women differently.  You should see a stark contrast.

PMS doesn’t mean crazy


Editor’s Note: The author, Lauren Welsh, is a student in the fall 2010 Women’s Studies Program Special Topics course, That Chick is Crazy: Women and Madness, at The University of Akron.

Crazy, psychotic, a bitch, mad, mean, nuts, and scary are just a few words that men use when describing a woman who is on her menstrual cycle. How many times have we heard, “Oh, it’s that time of the month again” and “Are you on your period, or what”?

Why is PMS a constant reason for why there could be a change in a woman’s mood? The assumption of the seven-day bitch curse has been a reoccurring topic that men seem to be disgusted to talk about, but love to throw the around like it’s a football.

Now I’m not saying that a woman does not undergo different feelings during her menstrual period that could temporarily change her mood, but who wouldn’t be a little irritated when for six to seven days you are bloated, cramping, breaking out, tired, craving, bleeding, and having muscle aches? Sorry, boys, but the whole idea of women turning into “monsters” may be just a tad over-exaggerated.

Most doctors do recognize that PMS is a real medical condition that carries along real psychological and physical symptoms. For some lucky women out there, PMS is nothing but a small annoyance as they go on with their day, but for others PMS can be serious enough to interfere with everyday life.

There are many websites and magazine articles that help those troubled men deal with the craziness of evil women who are PMS-ing, and some of the helpful tips are:

  • Don’t ask her if she’s PMS-ing or if it’s that time of the month.
  • Don’t comment on what she is eating or how much she is eating.
  • Make sure there is a lot of Motrin around.
  • Surprise social engagements are never a good idea (camping, parties).
  • Presents out of nowhere are always a good idea.
  • If she seems upset, don’t do something that makes it worse.
  • Have a drink, or four, so you can handle moods and screaming in a more relaxed way.

The problem of the male human species commenting on the moods and attitudes of women while on their period may not seem like a huge deal to women. In fact many women even say that they are PMS-ing and do get a bit moody.

The problem seems to be that every negative action, bad mood, sensitive moment, or “bitchy” situation that comes up, tends to always result in women who are accused of being on their period, even when they actually are not. The whole idea that women who are on their period are crazy, or better yet, that whenever a woman is acting crazy means she is on her period, seems to be a little false.

Below are some creative, funny, and possibly offensive meanings for the acronym PMS:

The Top 10 things that PMS stands for:

  1. Pass My Shotgun
  2. Psychotic Mood Shift
  3. Pack My Stuff
  4. Perpetual Munching Spree
  5. Pardon My Sobbing
  6. Plainly Men Suck
  7. Permanent Menstrual Syndrome
  8. Pissy Mood Syndrome
  9. Pimples May Surface
  10. 10.  Pass My Sweatpants

The truth is, PMS should not be a diagnosis for men to give women when they are upset, irritated, somewhat bitchy, or having a bad day. And no, we are not certifiably crazy when we are on our menstrual cycle … just a little crazy.

🙂 Just kidding.

 

Society and body image: Is that chick really crazy?


Editor’s Note: The author, Myeisha Marshall, is a student in the fall 2010 Women’s Studies Program Special Topics course, That Chick is Crazy: Women and Madness, at The University of Akron.

Society portrays women as some kind of “perfect” beings, with perfection requiring a perfect body structure. This, of course, is impossible.

The perfect body is tall and skinny, with a flat stomach, straight hair, and flawless skin. This is not possible for anyone, as the images we see in the mass media are airbrushed. Websites such as gloss.com shows celebrity photos before and after airbrushing.

How are women supposed to gain these perfect bodies when celebrities don’t even look that way in real life? Women are stuck with these images of “easy breezy beautiful cover girl” from commercials that sell all kinds of make up. Every other commercial shows how you can lose this ridiculous amount of weight or clear up your skin with Proactive.

Women are surrounded with pressures to be a size 4, while the average woman in America is a size 12. The average height for women in America is 5’3”, but what you don’t see is a model or actress of this height. Even the average height for Miss America is 5’6”. The point is that average women aren’t really portrayed as beautiful or desirable by the media.

Society affects women in many ways, and here are just a few:

  • Ÿ  Music videos that tend to show women with less clothing revealing their bodies.
  • Ÿ  Women’s magazines that tell us what healthiness looks like.
  • Ÿ  Commercials on television that constantly show what an average woman is supposed to look like.
  • Ÿ  Watching fashion models who tend to weigh 23% less than the average female.

Some of the effects of not being able to achieve these body types include:

  • Ÿ  Depression
  • Ÿ  Binge eating
  • Ÿ  Disordered eating
  • Ÿ  Bulimia nervosa
  • Ÿ  Anorexia nervosa
  • Ÿ  Plastic surgery

Overall, you can see that women have a lot of pressures placed upon them to achieve things that are impossible.

There is no perfect woman out there. Even the woman that they call the “Barbie woman” can never look perfect. There are effects of feeling inadequate, that you can’t live up to the standards of society, but every woman has gone through that stage. You are not alone in feeling that you may not be just like the women on television. These women who are on television don’t even look like themselves.

So is that chick really crazy? The woman standing in the mirror holding in her stomach or pulling back the skin on her face to get rid of wrinkles is not crazy. She is just dealing with the everyday stressors of being a woman in this day and age, when everyone is expected  to be perfect while keeping a sound mind.

Who’s really the crazy one? Women – or the people behind the media?