What it is, and how you can protect yourself from it.
As the old saying goes, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’. But this is far from the truth. Words as weapons can do real and lasting damage.
Here at Baddie, we want to help you recognize when words are being used against you, so you can bolster your defenses and protect yourself from harm.
Let us introduce you to the ‘gendered insult’.
It’s an insult, but worse.
Like all insults, gendered insults are designed to cause pain. But a gendered insult is disproportionately applied to a member of a particular gender. The bulk of gendered insults are leveled against women.
“Hysterical, crazy, dramatic, nuts, delusional, unhinged, irrational”
When a woman is called ‘hysterical’ or ‘crazy’, it is a uniquely undermining insult. It implies that a woman is not just unlikeable, but she’s also unstable and not to be trusted. Research shows that the word ‘hysterical’ is used with female words 49% of the time, but with male words 14% of the time. The numbers don’t lie; these words can be used to try and weaken you, so look out for them.
“Narcissistic, Vain, Self-Centered, Conceited”
Does being confident and knowing one’s self worth equate to being narcissistic? It doesn’t. A narcissist, by definition, is a person who has an excessive interest in themselves, an inflated sense of their own importance, and a lack of empathy for others. It is not confidence, and it is not self-love.
An appreciation for oneself can be an important step in a woman’s healing journey. When this appreciation is erroneously characterized as ‘narcissism’ or ‘vanity’, this can undermine one’s healing efforts. Don’t let it.
These words, and others like them, are simply gendered insults designed to weaken your power. Now that you know, you can recognize the attempt, thwart it, and carry on happily, all the wiser.
Unfortunately, the use of gendered insults is unlikely to change anytime soon. When researchers in 2019 looked to Twitter to study the use of gendered insults, they found 2.9 million tweets that contained instances of hostile, sexist tweets.
In one week.
Unfortunately, this is our reality. But you can defend and protect yourself by first recognizing words that are being used as weapons, and second, disarming them before they can cause you harm. Be strong, Baddie, we’ve got your back.