In our culture there exists a stereotype of a crazy girlfriend. This is an overly possessive or overly talkative woman who seems incapable of leaving her boyfriend alone. She’s dependent, emotionally unstable, and insecure. I hear boyfriends complaining about their “crazy girlfriend,” when this is who he supposedly loves. This stereotype makes me feel paranoid that I may be acting that way. Is my boyfriend calling me crazy to his guy friends? I know I’m not naturally a crazy person; I’m logical, levelheaded, and frankly pretty unemotional. But, that stereotype is so prevalent that I overanalyze if I’m being controlling or demanding too much affection or attention. Do any other women feel this sort of paranoia? This stereotype, like most stereotypes is detrimental. The reason being that it makes it seem absurd for us to ask closeness of a person who should already be close to us.
Women are taught to be more social than men, whether it’s in our nature or not is moot, because it’s engrained in us from the time we’re born. We’re taught to play with dolls or play pretend games with our other friends, both of which develop verbal skills. Boys are taught a whole different set of skills with their toys: trucks, action figures, etc. The way girls interact with each other, even as they grow older, is mainly by conversing. I have found this not to be true about boys; they play video games, watch or play sports, play music, or other non-verbal activities. They view this as bonding, while women crave more direct interacting.When a conflict arises between a man and a woman, I’ve found this difference becomes blaringly obvious. Women need to work it out right away; they need to talk with their significant other, whether it takes hours or not. Men try to avoid conflict. They’ll often give a half-hearted apology to get through it faster or will need some space from the issue. Neither of these tactics is right or wrong. It is equally stressing to both men and women when trying to resolve something and not understand where the other is coming from.
However when men, or even other women, put down an angry, babbling girlfriend, for being illogical it not only doesn’t resolve the problem, but it is harmful to the way we, all women, view ourselves. We let it all out because we are taught to do this and it feels good to do it. It is damaging to ignore that need. It would be beneficial to teach men these verbal skills from young ages just as women learn them, so that there is more equal communication between the genders. At the very least, we need to understand where each person is coming from when there is a disagreement and try to come to understandings in our own individual lives.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/70887333@N06/7375024722/”>marsmet451</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>