Whatever you do, DON’T tell me to calm down


On International Women’s Day 2016, I thought I’d share my two penneth about a well-talked about issue that I feel helps to maintain inequality and bias.

Sometimes, in the midst of an argument or a debate, just as I’m getting into the swing of it and saying some really good stuff, I will find myself the unfortunate recipient of the Crazy Lady Card.

The Crazy Lady Card is an age-old technique deployed every day  by a wide range of people, from colleagues to the Prime Minister.

Sometimes it’s an accusation that you’re being dramatic or are overreacting. Sometimes you’re told to ‘calm down dear’. Sometimes it’s the shake of a head, a shrug and the declaration that ‘b***hes be cray’.

Now I’m the first to admit that at times I can be over dramatic. Partial to the use of hyperbole to get my point across, I will often pronounce something to be the best/worst thing that has EVER happened to me. However I am also capable of forming a perfectly rational, sensible argument and it’s when I am expressing these thoughtful, logical opinions that I object to being branded a maniac.

The Crazy Lady Card is often used when the gentleman I am at loggerheads with is either wrong and losing, or I have justifiably become annoyed by something that has been said.

Either way, its a cheap trick used as a last resort when your conversational opponent has nothing left to say and their artillery of genuine, prudent rebuttals is empty.  It’s an attempt by them to make your reaction appear over the top and to paint you as a hysterical nutcase, rendering your point of view less credible as a result. Basically, a way to make your side of the argument look like it’s a purely emotional response, not one that has been well thought through and expressed.

It’s difficult to know how to react when you’ve been asked to ‘calm down’ or told you are overreacting. Because it’s incredibly annoying and also quite patronizing, but becoming even more frustrated by it only seems to prove their point.

When dealt the Crazy Lady Card, I find the best thing for it is to take a few seconds, some big deep breaths and a little read of this brilliant poem by Wendy Cope. It serves as a great reminder that you should never wrestle with a pig.   

He Tells Her

He tells her that the Earth is flat—
He knows the facts, and that is that.
In altercations fierce and long
She tries her best to prove him wrong.
But he has learned to argue well.
He calls her arguments unsound
And often asks her not to yell.
She cannot win. He stands his ground.

The planet goes on being round.

—Wendy Cope

This post was written on International Women’s Day and I’m linking up with Lulastic!

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