6 Reasons ‘Why Women Aren’t Crazy’ is Only Part of the Story

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GMP Senior Editor Mark Greene is an Emmy Award winning animator and designer. He blogs and speaks on Men's Issues at the intersection of society, politics, relationships and parenting for the Good Men Project, HLN, Talking Cranes, The Shriver Report, The Huffington Post, Mamamia and Role Reboot. You can follow him on Twitter @megaSAHD and Google.
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  1. As I’m guessing Green already knows, # 1 is just another expression of patriarchy. We all need more feminism. However, a man feeling trapped in this system is not in the same position as a women trapped, who is repeatedly being told that she is not trapped, that she is ‘imagining things’ and she is just being too emotional/crazy/sentimental/a shrew/a sourpuss (find other maddening adjectives).
    Just for belonging to the group of privilege, the man is in many ways in a less frustrating position. What you are saying is along the line of ‘Oh, the elites also suffer you know. They have to keep up the appearance! They have to meet these impossible expectations!’ etc etc. Of course the very class position can entrap a person in a position of power. That doesn’t mean that he/she can compare notes with those being systematically disadvantaged.
    #2 Ali didn’t portray gaslighted women as powerless. On the contrary. The less-aware gaslighted women become passive agressive. Even when they cannot properly grasp the whole structure, they do identify the outlines and contours of the double edged sword and they can/do figure out ways to navigate the possible traps set on their horizon. The fact that they don’t often manage to see the whole picture (from inside the picture) and don’t call BS on it in so many words is not their fault at all. As a woman, let me assure you, NOT ALLOWING each instance of gaslighting is not one of the options. If it were, it wouldn’t have existed as long as it did. The fact that we are speaking up against it now (after AGES of careful self-reflection to see if the fault lied with ourselves) is a form of non-allowance, OK?

  2. Hank Vandeburgh says:

    The truth is that both genders do this. And it depends on the individual. Women, who generally are more skilled psychologically, are often better than men at it. I think the issue is really “How free is an individual to dump someone who is doing this?” Because the behavior is extremely deep rooted, and no doubt comes from parental modeling. Or, in rare cases, one partner could be a sociopath.

    In Ali’s article, the women are probably less free (economically) to leave relationships, and that’s where I think it becomes poignant. It’s similar to spousal abuse in that case.

  3. If you are seriously using CDC as a valid source of insightful data, consider this – 76% of female rapes go unreported. The CDC does not tend to include data pertaining to reported rapes of women where rape kits were not processed, the backlog of rape kits unprocessed in many municipalites go back THREE years. Rape kits are rarely if ever collected on men, most rape reports reported by men are not required to be upheld to the same standards of rape reports in women, its laregely heresay. CDC underreports rapes of women whereby no rape kit had been processed. If you are seriously going to attempt to justify an article on systemic social subjugation of women in any context, get your facts straight and use valid sources of data.

    The entire tone of this article was patently biased, and demonstrated with an unusual level of clarity the extremism patriarchy goes to defend itself. The tone was highly judgemental, the language filled with examples of invalidation, evaluation, judgement, coercion, and manipulation, as were the continued defensive commentary.

    The CDC’s rape statistics are renowned for being skewed and inherently useless for any serious researcher. They rarely include women as victims of coerced oral sex (underreported due to inadequate education and training – most women don’t know they can report coerced oral sex as rape, and most police officers are not trained to handle such a report), sexual enslavement (rarely reported by victim for fear of prosecution for prostitution as well as fear of retribution), enforced impregnation (underreported for fear of retribution), or forced marriages – all highly women-centric issues, and all underreported by victims.

    Gaslighting is merely the introduction to socially accepted coercion tactics forcing many women into unwanted relations daily. The more recent statistics say three in four women endure some form of unwanted, forced physical, often sexually explicit contact from a man.

    WHO and IWE would be only incrementally more reiable data collectors on rape statistics. I do not dispute that rape and emotional victimization occurs among men, but I will continue to emphasize that it is well known by investigators and therapists alike that rape or other forms of abuse are systemically underreported in female victims.

    systemic sexual oppression should be likened to racial prejudice. Women continue to be objectified in nearly every country. Social systemic oppression of women has programmed the reactivity Inherent throughout this poorly researched article, as well as the feedback throughout.

    I am here to tell you these practices are alive and well, as a survivor of such brutality. The goal of any society should be to make slavery, objectification, rape, emotional abuse and physical abuse as distasteful and shocking to its people as cannibalism.

    I can tell you sir, given your language throughout this article it is unlikely you have experienced isolation, oppression, gaslighting, rape, or coercion in your relationship, to the extent the average female has, as your tangled logic and your manner of communication clearly demonstrates you are the manipulator and the power holder in your personal relationship. To the editors of this blog and the author of this article,I would endeavor to suggest a course on NVC prior to subjugating your readers to any further biased, ill-informed, inflammatory articles.

    • Isis, do WHO and IWE do any data collection on men forced to penetrate? I collect links to studies to try get an understanding of how much abuse goes on by type, gender, age, etc. CDC’s NISVS 2010 is the only one I’ve seen so far address males forced to penetrate.

    • Isis,
      Yes, many instances in which women are raped go unreported. I agree 100%. But your comments say nothing to suggest that the rape of men also goes underreported. It is a startling omission. Men do not report violent abuse by their partners nor do they report being victims of rape for a myriad of reasons. Not the least of which is being laughed at by the men and women police officers who are to investigate such claims. If you are demanding that others rely on unbiased assumptions then please do so yourself. Otherwise, you’re not in dialogue, you’re just shouting other voices down.

    • Mark Neil says:

      “If you are seriously using CDC as a valid source of insightful data, consider this – 76% of female rapes go unreported.”

      There is so much wrong with that one sentence, it’s mind boggling. For starters, how can you get such an accurate account of how many rapes go unreported if they are UNREPORTED? Next, what percentage of male rape goes unreported? Are you honestly going to suggest that men are more likely to report being raped than women? How can you pretend this claim says anything about the validity of the CDC’s statistics when what you say here doesn’t disprove the CDC, and furthermore, your figures ignore men’s rape, and so you can’t speak one way or the other regarding it? So attempting to deflect the findings of the CDC with regard to male victims by giving statistics that 1: couldn’t possibly be factual (can’t report on the unreported), and 2: utterly ignores men as victims, is actually quite offensive.

      It should also be noted the author wasn’t restricting his discussion to only rape. In fact, he cited the 1in3 and 1in4 numbers as rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime, yet that CDC study actually excludes men from being raped by definition. So that 1in3 includes rape, but the 1in4 does not. So yes, the CDC figures are skewed, but they are skewed in favour of women. But this is rreevant, because the point wasn’t who has it worst, it was “men are abused too”, and that seems to be a problem for you… why?

      “Rape kits are rarely if ever collected on men, most rape reports reported by men are not required to be upheld to the same standards of rape reports in women, its laregely heresay”

      Care to back that up with some evidence? Furthermore, care to demonstrate that it isn’t also the case for women? Rape kits help synch a case, but there have been many men convicted on false accusations, meaning no rape kit, only heresay.

      “The CDC’s rape statistics are renowned for being skewed and inherently useless for any serious researcher.”

      Care to back that claim up as well? Who DO you see as a reliable source? RAINN?

      I find your dismissal, your attempt to marginalize, even hide male victims, and attempt at oneupsmanship to be very offensive. Why does it irk you so to acknowledge male victims exist, at least in greater numbers than the nonexistent you would have people believe? What do you have against men?

    • @isis

      “Rape kits are rarely if ever collected on men, most rape reports reported by men are not required to be upheld to the same standards of rape reports in women, its laregely heresay.”

      Are you accusing the male rape survivors of lying?

  4. chrisfs says:

    Mark, For the first 3/4s of your article, your criticisms of the original article come across to me as simply more elaborate versions of the same objections that seem to be made almost whenever some discussion of feminism is made. The last 1/4 is not enough to convince me otherwise. If you want to make a positive contribution, you really need to re-examine your views and/or recraft what you are saying.

    1) “Men are gaslighted too”. So what? Is your point that if men are treated badly too, we are at some equality of being treated badly and so nothing is wrong and no one should be pointing it out? I don’t understand the point of this reason if not to simply shut down the conversation. I can not think of a reasonable person who would, after reading Ali’s article, think “oh but it’s ok to gaslight men, because the article doesn’t mention that.” It’s wrong to gaslight anyone man or women. There’s no other conclusion to reach from that article. Stating men are gaslighted too is not a good criticism.

    2)”Women are potrayed as powerless victims” To me, this argument boils down to “well if you didn’t act like a victim, no one would pick on you…”. Responsibility for their role? In the example of a boss calling an employee “stupid” once a day, and when the employee protests, says ‘you’re over reacting” what is the responsibility of that employee? Are they supposed to console themselves saying ‘ the boss didn’t mean it’, that’s a decent short term thing, but it doesn’t excuse the behavior. Are they supposed to have some supernatural power over the boss’s actions ? Are they simply supposed to not be stupid? I’m sure the employee is not doing that intentionally, and the proper response on the part of the boss is to either correct them or fire them.
    You say ” In order for gaslighting to work, you have to allow it continue.” That’s called ‘blaming the victim’. If only the person being gaslighted had behaved differently, the boss wouldn’t have been compelled to gaslight them. That’s not true, In this specific example, the employee can quit, but in real life, the need for and rent sometimes prevent that (this can apply to relationships as well), and even if they did quit, it would not make gaslighting any more ok.

    3) ‘Ali blames and pathologizes’. The point of Ali’s article was to point out responses and comments that hurt and were manipulative by denying that hurt. In a situation where someone is being manipulative, there is going to be blame and a pathological situation. If someone says ‘you’re hurting me’, the immediate response can not be ‘well let’s be careful because that takes us ” down a path defined by pathological and abuse markers”. If someone is doing something blameworthy, it’s best to assign blame. With regards to the suggestion that 3 months of therapy might be helpful, I think you are trying to shift the context of the situation. You can’t bring your boss into three months of couple’s therapy. You can’t bring the multitude of anonymous internet commenters into 3 months of therapy. And for partners that you could possiibly do so, the worse offenders would simply repeat that therapy isn’t needed because the person was simply being overly sensitive or dramatic

    4) ” encourages his readers to employ simplistic binary assumptions”.
    No, I don’t think he does. I think you are overgeneralizing and misinterpeting what he means.
    ” Ali writes: “A remark intended to shut you down like, “Calm down, you’re overreacting,” after you just addressed someone else’s bad behavior, is emotional manipulation—pure and simple.” … Is it his intention that we should believe the recipient of this statement NEVER overreacts?”
    The answer to your question is No, Ali is assuming his readers are intelligent adults and discern the difference between different situations and understand nuance without him having to cover every possible exception to the detriment of the article. He presents a rather specific scenario. He presents a rather specific scenario. If you are addressing someone’s bad behavior and that same person tells you to ‘Calm down’, that is manipulative. That’s different from say a 3rd person makes that statement. One can’t come up every exception and expect to have a readable article of decent length.
    The advice ‘when someone comes at you with a knife, run away’ does not cover the knife salesman sells you one or your aunt bring you the carving knife at Thanksgiving. It’s still good advice. The person is supposed to recognize that. Ali isn’t encouraging binary assumptions, he’s expecting his audience to be able to see the distinction.
    I am glad you have the relationship you do with your partner, but unless your over-reaction is when you call out your partner’s bad behavior, then I think it’s not an applicable example. A boss patronizing you, a stranger catcalling and then saying “Calm down”, is not an unclear situation. Stating that doesn’t state that there are no gray situations.

    5) ” misidentify strengths as weaknesses”. Again context matters in this situation and stating exceptions doesn’t invalidate a general statement. You ask ” How is it that expressing an issue or concern should not be done in a gentle way?” When the gentle way is not done out of a friendly concern, but out of a fear of being told that you’re too sensitive or too dramatic. That’s when. That sense of being told you’re too sensitive by someone when you point something out about their behavior towards you is the main point of the article and statements within it should be viewed in terms of that and not as a general commentary on behavior, which is what you are seeming to do.

    6) ” encourages counterproductive binary arguments”. There’s not much here except that statement, so I can’t say much more than no it doesn’t. If you read into the examples that all men are awful and constantly gaslighting women, then I think you’re the one that is encouraging conterrpoductive arguments.

    The Ending
    “Thank you, Yashar. I know your heart is in the right place” after having read 6 criticisms written over 2 pages, this phrase “Thank you, Yashar. I know your heart is in the right place” comes with an implied “but you are over reacting” attached to it. You spend the rest of the article saying how men are just as vunerable as women, but as I said at the start, that’s simply a non argument.. Proposing the need for appreciative inquiry seems to either undermine or at least miss the point. There are plenty of situations where it’s clear that when you point out someone’s bad behavior and they respond by telling you that you are too sensitive, that it was not coming out of a desire for appreciative inquiry.
    I hope you do mean for people to get into a better place and respect each other and communicate better. However if you do, I think you need to recraft that message. A response of
    doesn’t convey that to me.

    • Mark Neil says:

      1) If both sexes are being treated equally bad, then there is a level of equality there. That doesn’t mean the issues don’t need to be fixed (although, it also doesn’t mean there is an issue that needs fixing ether), but it DOES mean the blame and the solutions can’t be one sided. The fact Ali’s article DID present the issues as one sided does demonstrate a view that it’s only a problem when it happens to women. The outcome of 40 years of one-sided domestic abuse awareness demonstrates that quite well. If you believe it affects both men and women, and is as equally bad when done to both, why do you support an article, written on a mens site, that completely ignores the effect on men, and seems to entirely lay the blame at men’s feet? Is your ideal of equality to reverse to oppression roles you believe exist? When a gender neutral problem is presented in a one-sided, gendered way, it needs to be called out. See how the predominantly male wartime death rate gets glossed over in a gender neutral brush for an example of the same thing in reverse.

      2) Ironically, you further perpetuate the idea of “treating women as victims”. At no point do you demonstrate he’s wrong. You call an expectation that women should be willing to stand up for themselves “blaming the victim (there’s that victim portrayal again)”, as if one has a right to be treated nicely and respected, without ever needing to earn it. In you hypothetical, a simple, “Hey, you’re out of line calling me stupid. Stop it” Is not to much to ask. If the boss continues, report them. Both actions are “the victim” taking responsibility FOR THEIR OWN FEELINGS. Both actions should be expected of anyone who feels they are being treated unfairly. Whinging about gaslighting is just coddling people, treating them like children who can’t manage to speak up for themselves. How weak, pathetic and meek do you think women are? It’s not “blaming the victim”, it’s expecting women to act like an adult, and tend to their own feelings instead of expecting the world to shift to make her happy.

      3) The point of Ali’s article was the same as most, to portray women as victims of the big bad man, in order to socially engineer (through guilt and shame, as has always been the case) male behavior into something more to women’s liking. You say “If someone is doing something blameworthy, it’s best to assign blame.”, and that blame is clearly being assigned to men (despite your admitting it isn’t a gendered issue in point one)… but what if the blame IS only the person being accused of overreacting? Are you familiar with the recent donglegate fiasco? The woman there overheard a dongle joke (AKA a dick joke) and took great offense, and instead of asking the guys to stop (you know, that reasonable expectation that you call blaming the victim), or discreetly informing a staff member of the conference, she blew it up by posting her complaint to her 13,000 twitter subscribers and demanding the pycon management do something, via twitter. That exposure cost a man his job, because she can’t handle a simple dick joke told in her general vicinity… Is it unreasonable to call that an overreaction, overly sensitive or dramatic? Is it victim blaming to suggest, maybe, instead of whinging about it to the world, she could have simply confronted the guys and asked them to stop? Ali (and yourself) seem to presenting any accusation of a woman acting overly sensitive or dramatic as being completely unfounded, as if women (or men) CAN’T act irrational, or overreact.

      4) “No, I don’t think he does.” But he does. You can not accuse someone of being irrational or suggest they deal with their own feelings without being accused of gaslighting or victim blaming. You guys have left no way in which to criticize people, at least women, without meeting YOUR standards of what’s reasonable. But I don’t know you from Adam. If you want to argue common sense, then I need to point out, if common sense was a factor, people wouldn’t be losing their jobs over a dongle joke, and the tech and feminist media wouldn’t be in an uproar over it, now would they? Common sense isn’t very common these days, and where that line stands is different for different people and different agenda’s… So common sense is not a sufficient answer for where to draw the line, because it is entirely subjective.

      5) “When the gentle way is not done out of a friendly concern, but out of a fear of being told that you’re too sensitive or too dramatic.” It could be argued that if you’re coming to the realization, on your own, that you may be deemed “too sensitive or too dramatic”, you may actually be doing so. Remember your claims in number 4, about nuance or grey situations? It could also be argued that doing so undermines your efforts to be taken seriously, and will, in turn receive a likewise non-serious response.

      ” That sense of being told you’re too sensitive by someone when you point something out about their behavior towards you is the main point of the article and statements within it should be viewed in terms of that and not as a general commentary on behavior, which is what you are seeming to do.”

      And again, we return to having no way to tell someone who IS being unreasonable they are being so. And I’m not exactly sure where someone feels they have the right to judge and criticize others behavior without having their own behavior judged and criticized in return?

      6)”There’s not much here except that statement, so I can’t say much more than no it doesn’t.”

      He says as he enacts a counterproductive binary argument.

      ” I know your heart is in the right place” comes with an implied “but you are over reacting” attached to it. ”

      The attachment couldn’t possibly be “but you’re doing more harm than good”, or far more likely, given the articles content “but your views are incomplete, and sexist against men”… I also find your own arguments, such as ” I think you are overgeneralizing and misinterpreting what he means.” that likewise can be said to have the implied “you’re over-reacting” attachments to them, to be amusingly ironic.

      “You spend the rest of the article saying how men are just as vulnerable as women, but as I said at the start, that’s simply a non argument..”

      Then why is it so hard to get acknowledgement… ON A MENS SITE? Why does the original article have to be gendered? What benefit comes from gendering it, when the issue applies to both, except to include that oh so common implication that it is only women who are affected by it, and only men who need to modify their behavior? You’ll need to explain this, above all else, to even have a chance at justifying it as anything but encouraging counterproductive binary arguments, like the one you are engaged in right here.

      “Proposing the need for appreciative inquiry seems to either undermine or at least miss the point.”

      AKA you’re overreacting, Mark. And how is it undermining the discussion to point out it’s not a gendered issue, when it has become so very common to only discuss one side of non-gendered issues, and in turn, see only one-sided responses, such as in Domestic Violence (if I have to explain this, well, the term ideological blinders come to mind, and explains why the “but but but” doesn’t work on you), education (Title IX implementation, or 60% female attendance rate and politicians concern is getting more women in STEM fields to widen the gap further) , family courts (reasons for no-fault, or how alimony is now a problem because women don’t like it when they have to pay), etc.

    • Love this. You nailed it.
      I found this article very condescending and convoluted.

      Someone is addressing an issue in a very straightforward way, and someone else needs to fill in the gaps with academic prowess. I’ve experienced this backlash when I published an article discussing ‘enlightened’ men and their methods of pursuing women. Not discounting queers and the plights of men, not claiming to be a feminist – just a direct commentary on an issue I had personal experience with and had witnessed happening to the women in my life. Needless to say there was considerable ostentatious jargon flaring up in defense from leftrightandcenter.

      At least we can extract that if an article is triggering elaborate mental responses, it is touching on something worth considering; defensive, critical dialogue is a step up from complete ignorance.

  5. This whole article is gaslighting.

    • Whole article is Gaslighting? Yes I got that feeling too. Oh wait I’m a woman, I must be over reacting and unwilling to admit it. :-0 Thanks to the author for helping me to understand that when my feelings are dismissed, minimized or ignored, that I should be a “good girl” and admit I am over react. Heaven forbid we consider that women expressing opinion, being in leadership positions etc. might ever get an UNneccesary negative reaction.
      I found myself reminded of a conference when a female speaker was attempting to get the attention of the audience. Apparently she wasn’t ladylike enough about it and her fellw speaker said.loudly to her “If you are going to talk like that, you should be wearing a black leather mini skirt and holding a whip” I “over reacted”on her behalf by saying to the male speaker “I wonder how you’d look in that outfit”. Funny thing was he didn’t seemed to think it was so funny when it was said to him (though he thougt it was appropriate to say to her.

      • Big problem is a lot of women DO over-react but do so in a manner that isn’t good. Being abusive, yelling, screaming, hitting, slapping are all times when it’s warranted to say someone is over-reacting (unless they’re defending themselves). Some will use it to shut women up but others will use it regardless of gender. I’ve told women AND men before when they’ve over-reacted because having your ear screamed off isn’t good. There are ways to express anger without having to be so aggressive, and yes I’ve been told I’ve overreacted too before and they were right.

        It’s not women that are crazy though, it’s individuals that act abusive, selfish, arrogant, etc whom appear “crazy”.

        • Yes both men and women can over react. I’m not arguing that.

          But what I do notice is that the label of being overly emotional, over reacting etc. is applied more to women. And it is sometimes done in a way that is meant to minimize or dismiss their opinion and sometimes their right to have an opinion..

      • Hi Kathy,
        I want to suggest that you’re painting with a very broad brush here. Now, in that moment, am I gaslighting you? No. I’m responding to you as an equal in a conversation between equals. If you, by virtue of your gender can dismiss any dialogue between us as gaslighting, then I suppose you’ll have to determine what kind of conversations you’ll be having with any man you meet. Some men gaslight. Some women do too.
        And when I say your comments are too broad brush, I mean your comment about women in leadership positions. Why my article inspired you to discuss a blanket rejection of any opinions any woman might have, I do not know. But its a leap that is far too easy to make. It seeks to undermine my ideas by association.
        As for the asshole you describe in your story… He’s an idiot. But he’s not proof that all men behave this way. I can tell you a hundred stories of women I have worked under who have run roughshod over me in meeting after meeting. That is not a by product of their gender. I have worked under others who we’re terrific to work for.
        And for the record, run Michelle Obama for President and I’ll vote for her.

        • Mark, I will reply when I am at my computer again. My phone does not seem to be compatiblle with this site. Kathy

  6. mark kern says:

    Mark Green.
    Well done. I wrote my own response to the original article to someone on FB. You were more comprehensive than I.
    Again I say well done.
    I think that most of your critics are superimposing wrongs onto your contribution that were not there.
    I understand why one would do that who has found mostly arguments in this world that are hostile to women or to victims.
    Here is what I wrote.

    Not to refute anything said by the author of that article I would add the following;

    Gaslighting is a tactic of the one up person in an un-even power relationship trying to keep the un-even status quo.
    It happens among men and it happens among women.
    It happens when women are one-up to men in the work place or in relationships.
    It happens between races when one is dominant in the culture.
    It happens within races when one has power over the other such as Blacks who hold lighter skin as more worthy than darker skin.
    It happen among children when one is older and has more power than the other.
    It happens between parents and their children.

    It is a trait of the human ego.
    We are all guilty of it.
    When a victim comes to a one-up position of power they are just as likely to Gaslight the one-down person or group.
    While there is value in calling upon the compassion in the one (or the group) who is one-up to begin to become conscious of the negative value perpetrated upon the one-down person and indeed to the society and to that one-up individual/group as well, there is still greater value to addressing the human ego; to teach all how to begin to become the being whom we truly are vs the unconscious-robotic-ego-programming which often rules our lives if unchecked.
    It is the mission in life of each individual to begin to dissolve that negative ego stuff so that the human community has a little less of it swirling around.
    When we are successful at this, our beingness begins to contribute to a greater ease for all those who encounter us to become their own true being and to let go their own ego negativity.
    In fact once most or all ego is dissolved in one’s psyche, there is nothing overtly to do but to be who you are as you live your life and the natural fallout of this is the beginnings of release for others.

    Both the victim and the perp are participating in an egoic relationship which may be dissolved from either side or both (preferably both).

    Wanna change the world. Start right here, with self”.

  7. Your argument completely fell apart at #2, and never recovered. I am appalled that you would claim women have a responsibility to not let themselves be victims of ‘gaslighting’ when the whole point in the article you’re arguing against is that women are not being listened to when they do stand up for themselves. I think you should slow down and read the original article more carefully and with your defenses at ease before trying to refute the argument.

  8. You do realize that the article is a form of gaslighting?

  9. There are some valid points in this article, but from the first one I was questioning their relevance as a response to Ali’s article. This is because conditioning someone to only think and feel in certain ways is not at all the same as portraying someone as crazy for how they think and feel. It is true that men are brought up to only express a limited range of emotions. But so are women. The difference is that this “gaslighting” that Ali references occurs even when women express emotions that fall within the range that has been assigned to them. We are telling women how to feel, then labeling them as crazy when they do so. This may occur on a smaller scale for individual men, but it is not a widespread phenomenon as it is for women. Ali is referring to a phenomenon by which thoughts and feelings expressed by males are validated while thoughts and feelings expressed by females are invalidated. The limited range of thoughts and feelings each gender is encouraged to express is a separate conversation, so the points made here are not actually in contrast to the points Ali made.

    • Mark Neil says:

      “This may occur on a smaller scale for individual men, but it is not a widespread phenomenon as it is for women. ”

      Just because you aren’t willing to examine the issue outside of a woman focused lens, does not make what you believe true, or the problem not to be widespread. Men are most certainly told how to feel, and then when they do feel that way, are labeled, not as crazy, but as dangerous. Not only to themselves and strangers, but even to the people they love, even their own children. The domestic violence and sexual grievance industries are built on doing precisely that, so don’t go playing off the women have it worst angle by ignoring how men are affected. That’s one of the problems Mark Green is trying to point out, that you can’t get beyond your gender focused lens.

      ” Ali is referring to a phenomenon by which thoughts and feelings expressed by males are validated while thoughts and feelings expressed by females are invalidated. ”

      Actualy, Ali is talking about an issue that affects both women AND men and portraying it, through specific examples and the ignoring of related instances, as an issue that only affects women… And when Mark wrote an article pointing out the one sidedness of the original, people went and did that precise thing you are denying happens to men, to mark. Read through the comments and you will see him gaslighted throughout.

      “The limited range of thoughts and feelings each gender is encouraged to express is a separate conversation,”

      Why? Why does it have to be separate? So that you can ignore the impacts on men and focus slely on women, with a clean conscience? Well, the issues isn’t separate, it’s the same problem for both sexes. Hell, not only do you claim they are separate issues, you then marginalize men’s side of the issue by claiming men then don’t experience it nearly as much as women.

  10. brazil nut says:

    I wrote this on the Facebook post, but I see that most of the responses are directed through here.

    I sense a lot of tension in this article, and maybe a bit of resentment towards the feminist movement? I used to be very anti-feminism because I misunderstood the move behind it. The way I used to feel about it would have come out something very much like this article. Now, however, I am more informed. I can respect Mark’s desire to combat the original “Why Women Aren’t Crazy” article; however, I kindly disagree with most points made here.

    #1. I didn’t read in Yashar’s article that men cannot suffer from gaslighting. In fact, he says, “…ALL OF US, especially women, have dealt with it at one time or another”. The original article is not framing all men as big bad bullies and all women as soft docile victims. He is simply bringing to light that this behaviour towards women is common place, and that’s fact. Women being crazy is a view shared by all of society, both men and women alike, as he also pointed out. He has written right in the article that women are also perpetuating the problem. That is not to say, however, that the women who are the victims and the women who are the bullies or the instigators are always one and the same.

    #2. Where did you get your statistics from? “Some substantial percentage of women (say 50%) don’t have to sit and take the kind of silencing Ali describes”. This 50% based on what study exactly? Your perception? Your perception as a man, at that? It’s true – most women should not have to take this abuse, but the reality is that many of them don’t even know it is being done. It’s not always as obvious as statements like, ‘you are stupid’, and it’s certainly not as blatant as being hit. Gaslighting is not simply name-calling, as some seem to think it is. If you are unsure of what it is, or what it is like, I suggest you read more on this behaviour. In fact, read about brainwashing, which has a lot of similarities, albeit gaslighting is likely carried out with more charm and smaller, subtler attacks that build up over time.

    #3. I don’t think any harm is done by putting a name to the behaviour. Abuse is abuse by any other name, so let’s just call it as it is.

    #4. The difference between a situation in which someone says “you are overreacting” and when Mark’s wife suggests the “reason for feeling reactive may be fear-based or seated in some perceptions that I might want to reconsider” is that the latter is allowing/inviting the person to view the situation from another perspective. It is constructive and caring, and allowing the individual to think and feel for themselves. The former is a form of defining, which is a type of verbal abuse. “You are”, “you think”, “you feel” statements are all telling a person who they are and what their intentions are as if you are them – this is abuse. It is shutting the person down and telling them how they should or should not be acting.

    #6. The men in this article who are true gaslighters ARE two-dimensional beings! The type of people who carry out this type of abuse are often, if not always, classified as narcissists. *note, this is not to say all men are narcissists or all narcissists are men* Narcissistic behaviour is characterised, in part, by their sheer lack of empathy and compassion for others. “Narcissists do not consider the pain they inflict on others; nor do they give any credence to others’ perceptions,” Enough of You, Let’s Talk About Me, Dr. Les Carter

    Did you research the subject before writing this bit, or was this a quick reaction to what you saw as an attack on men? It reads as the latter.

    I can guarantee that you (Mark) have never experienced this type of gaslighting. It is referred to as “crazy-making behaviour”, and this is for good reason – it is literally crazy-making. It’s not as cut and dry as choosing to be a victim or not. I, for one, never saw it coming, and had no idea it was happening until someone else saw the behaviour and expressed concern. I suggest you do some more reading on this type of abuse before writing about it.

    • Dear Brazil Nut,
      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.
      I’m not going to respond to all you have said here, but I do need to say this.
      You’re comment: “I can guarantee that you (Mark) have never experienced this type of gaslighting.”

      You simply can not say that. You simply do not know for sure. And this is where gender really comes in in these dialogues. The assumption that ONLY women experience certain things is not supportable. Perhaps they experience it to a higher percentage, but as men become more progressive and gender neutral in their behavior, they too will fall prey to many of the challenges that women face. It’s not about body parts, its about power. And power is shifting in some places and in come cultures.

  11. You know, even though the original article calls out men for their behavior, I can’t help but feel that it serves less to do that and more to inform women about how it’s possible they are emotionally mute, when they (surprise) aren’t able to express that. I sent this article to a few women friends and we discussed it. For some of us, myself included, it was a tuning fork going off, illuminating before unnamed or unrecognized issues in relationships, some dating back to childhood. Others couldn’t relate. I think the women who aren’t susceptible to this particular type of emotional blackmail know who they are instantly. They are not going to relate to what was written. It is not their experience with the world or in relationships.

    I think the women who have been or are, I guess we’re not supposed to use the word “victims” of gaslighting because that’s somehow weak and we shouldn’t want to self-identify with a word the rest of the world sees as weak and helpless, so let’s say women who have been subjected (does that ease anyone’s conscience at all?) are going to read the original article and take something away far greater than getting to claim victim status or assign blame. They’ll become more aware. And awareness helps you tell the difference between someone trying to hit a mute button because they don’t like dealing with your uncomfortable reaction and someone legitimately beseeching you to settle down for your own good.

    Arguing whether the original article was right or wrong and whether or not this rebuttal is valid or invalid is stupid. The original article speaks a truth that will resonate with some people and won’t resonate with others because it’s not a behavior they recognize. And that’s why it’s been circulated so widely. We don’t want a “get out of jail free” card to act out, but it’s nice to validate that there are patterns that lead to losing your voice and diminishing your natural emotional responses. There’s no need for anyone to be right or wrong here.

      • The most eloquent comment so far. I know you don’t need my validation but I’m giving it anyway. Well said.
    • I think I know you ; ) and I think you are brilliant!

    • Well said, Andee! Both articles struck a cord for me for different reasons and gave me a lot to think about. That’s uncommon for internet topics, so I appreciate the insightful and well-thought approach from both authors.

    • Some of us women gaslighting started in childhood, my dad is a sociopath. Gaslighting is a learned behavior and is not acceptable. Mental illness is 5 percent genetics and 95 percent behavior issues. Behavior modification is the best thing a person can do for themselves. Best way to deal with bad behavior is to call it for it is and not accept any excuses.

    • that was exactly how i felt! not a victim, but acknowledgement from outside of my little inside world, that what i’m feeling is right and i should keep saying it, and stop suppressing.

    • Before reading the original article, I would often think something was wrong with me. But now I can see that I have been “gaslighted”, and it has happened often. The article created an awareness in me, and now, whether the person is doing it consciously or not (and he was very clear in the article that it is not always intentional), I am able to own my feelings without thinking it means I am crazy. I feel that your article gives permission for anyone guilty of gaslighting, to disregard the original article and continue to either do it intentionally, or remain in the dark about what they are doing. As far as your argument that men and women are both guilty of gaslighting, and that the article should have addressed that, I say get over it. It is impossible for every article to cover every aspect of a subject, and this article was written from a specific perspective. Sure, there are women who do it too. I have been gaslighted by women. But this article was about men gaslighting women, and the fact that it doesn’t doesn’t cover the other side doesn’t make it any less effective or true.

    • What I was going to post has already been said better than I would have by Andee, Jessica, and a couple of others. I find it interesting that so many humans seem to confuse “incomplete” with “incorrect”, and then so often take it upon themselves to “prove” why another person’s ideas and observations are “incorrect”. Where does this extremely common habit of confusion originate, and why is it so common, I wonder? Maybe I’ll do a survey… :) (What does that smiley face mean? I can tell you, but you’d have to actually ask me; I’ll give you a hint though, Yashar is closer to the mark)

  12. Well said!

  13. While I appreciated reading your thoughtful response, I’d question your use of CDC statistics. You include the percentage of male and female victims of intimate partner violence as evidence that women can be just as abusive as men. The statistic doesn’t speak to that at all. It states that men can be nearly as often the victim. The perpetrators sex is unlisted. I’d argue a good number of abused men are abused within the confines of same-sex relationships.

    • Mr Supertypo says:

      so in other words Kathryn, just to clarify you are suggesting that women dont abuse men?

      • Women certainly do abuse men. Emotional abuse is all too common. Men are “gaslighted” too. “I can’t believe you lost your job AGAIN”, “You’re acting just like your father!”, “You need to control your temper”, “You’ve gained a lot of weight”, “Why are you so lazy?” and the list goes on.

        I somehow doubt that women rape men as often as men rape women. Not because women are the kinder sex, but because it’s rather difficult to rape an unwilling male unless you are also male and equipped to “force” yourself on him. I believe Kathryn was just pointing out that these stats are overly broad and do not paint a complete picture of THIS situation because the stats don’t exclude unrelated data.

        • Mr Supertypo says:

          there are several way how a woman may abuse sexually a man. Way more efficent than hiding in a bush or a street corner. Allow me a memory, when I was living in Italy, my gf uncle and his wife were always fighting. They really hated each other. Although no psisical abuse were involved you could really feel the bad vibes coming from the two of them. My gf told me that what happen was her aunt, while having sex with him, at the right moment she forced her upon him, so he will come inside her impregnating her, forcing him to marry her (they are from a much older generation). This is a example of female on male rape. But the abuse can take lots of different shapes, all depends from the context. But traditionally, female on male abuse is almost invisible, and usually cover up by the victims/abuser/family and friends. So in theory the abuse can also be violent not only subtle.

          • I realize this is a very old comment thread, but I think Kathryn was saying it is not *only* women who can abuse men. Women certainly can, and certainly do – abuse men, but they can and do also abuse each other, and men can and do abuse other men, in every form that abuse can take.
            90% of the gaslighting and silencing I grew up with came from my mother. Most of the bullying and gaslighting my brother received came from his (mostly male) classmates. Since then, I’ve been to therapy. My brother has not, so now I get gaslighted (gaslit?) by him *and* my mother. Yaaaaaay. :i

    • Gender for rapists were listed. And it goes to show that it’s pretty safe to assume a large portion of the victims of each were abused by the other gender for physical violence too since the majority of people are straight.

      Lifetime around 16% of rapists were female, last 12 months it’s 40%

  14. This article presents faulty logic. Yes, men can be victims too. Absolutely. But, most violence in our culture statistically, against men and women, is perpetuated by men. The author makes this point: ” But it is crucial to our ongoing dialogues to understand that the victims of abuse are men and women alike. It’s a fact that women have the potential to be just as emotionally and physically abusive as men. For some insight, look at the CDC’s statistics on physical abuse in relationships by gender. The report states: “More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”(1)” The way the author is presenting this information is misleading. The author equates the fact that men can also be victims, with women “women have the potential to be just as emotionally and physically abusive as men”….the author is interpreting the statistics about violence against men in a way as if this violence is mainly perpetuated by women. This is statistically incorrect. It would be nice if the author had done his homework before writing an article on such an important subject.

    • How is my use of this fairly straightforward data misleading? The CDC statistics state that one in four men have been victims of “rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”
      You say, “the author is interpreting the statistics about violence against men in a way as if this violence is mainly perpetuated by women.”
      The fact is, the majority of the intimate relationships noted in these statistics are between men and women. It is perfectly reasonable to assert that women tend to be physically abusive towards men they know while men are abusive to people they know and to strangers alike. This is less about doing homework and more about interpreting some fairly simple clear data.
      Women are clearly the victims of a wide range of abuse at the hands of men. But you do a disservice to the greater community by denying the suffering a male victims of female physical abuse. I don’t know if your motive is blindly partisan or willfully ignorant, but all the members of our communities need protection, care, and healing, regardless of their gender.

  15. I disagree about the powerless victims. I grew up with a Father who told me “no one would ever want me”, those were his exact words. Sometimes followed with details. Even at the age I am now, I still don’t see how a child could do anything to change that situation. A child is a powerless victim. Not only do you need your parents but you can’t fight them, take power from them and any time I did try to speak up for myself I was quickly shot down.

    I do agree that men can be in the same situation. However, it does seem that women are the targets far more often.


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