No we’re not.
I recently read this article about why women aren’t crazy. And I related. In it, the author uses the term gaslighting to explain the phenomenon of making women “emotionally mute.”
Those who engage in gaslighting create a reaction—whether it’s anger, frustration, sadness—in the person they are dealing with. Then, when that person reacts, the gaslighter makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure by behaving as if their feelings aren’t rational or normal.
If you identify as a woman, I’m guessing, like me, this seems familiar.
But gaslighting can be as simple as someone smiling and saying something like, “You’re so sensitive,” to somebody else. Such a comment may seem innocuous enough, but in that moment, that person is making a judgment about how someone else should feel.
I can’t count the number of times this has happened to me. What I like about this article is that the author not only names and explains the phenomenon, but he also talks about why it happens. Why women are the targets.
It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our female friends, our girlfriends, our female employees, our female colleagues, than for us to impose them on the shoulders of men…It’s a whole lot easier to emotionally manipulate someone who has been conditioned by our society to accept it.
I tend to express frustration with men in my life “trying to shut me up.” I like this article because it puts a label on something so many of us experience and, ultimately, it speaks to men. This isn’t a “hey women, just be strong enough to overcome it” article. Instead, it’s about holding men accountable.
But isn’t the issue of gaslighting ultimately about whether we are conditioned to believe that women’s opinions don’t hold as much weight as ours? That what women have to say, what they feel, isn’t quite as legitimate?
I think so.