Hide Your Crazy & Act Like a Lady

Hide Your Crazy & Act Like A Lady (Dark Tank) cheaper than previous $26

I found this picture on Pinterest earlier today with a comment from a young woman underneath saying “I want this shirt”. I’m sure it’s no surprise that I personally do not want this shirt.

Many of us have felt the fear that comes with people finding out you have a mental health issue. Sometimes “coming out” means the loss of family, friends, employment, housing, freedom and dignity. Many of us have hidden our experience and may still continue to do so. We are told to be ashamed of this part of ourselves, demonized and made to feel dirty. We are labeled as disordered in our mood, emotions, personality, behaviours, attitudes, perceptions, thoughts and abilities. As the shirt says, “Hide your crazy”, so that is what many of us do, even if it hurts.

As an added slap this t-shirt brings in gender.

When I read, “act like a lady”, I immediately feel constricted. I envision a woman from the Victorian era, a loss of rights, controlled by men, not having a choice and having to give into social constructions of gender. Who is to truly say that how I act is not “lady-like”? Putting aside the XX chromosomes, breasts, vagina, female reproductive organs and hormones I have, I more importantly identify as a woman, a lady. Therefore, isn’t any way I act being a lady? I would think so.

Putting the two together: a crazy lady is unacceptable according to this t-shirt. A woman who is crazy is not a behaving like a woman and behaving like a woman means not being crazy. This is wrong. No one wins in this scenario.

Supporters of animal rights believe that animals have an inherent worth—a value completely separate from their usefulness to humans... We believe that every creature with a will to live has a right to live free from pain and suffering.The oppression contained on this one t-shirt is overwhelming but calling it out and identifying it is how we can stop it. It is important that we speak out against any statements, beliefs and legislation that continue to perpetuate unfair and inaccurate stereotypes. They do nothing but cause damage to not just those it labels but society as a whole. No one truly benefits from the oppression of others as we are all made to fit inside rigid boxes of who we are supposed to be instead of being who we are mean’t to be and being supported in being that person.

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18 thoughts on “Hide Your Crazy & Act Like a Lady

  1. I grew up in Alabama with the “be a lady” culture, so that phrase instantly makes me mad. It’s all about conformity: sit like this, eat like this, walk like this, talk like this. To which I say FUCK THAT. I can belch louder than any man, I can change a tire, I eat out of pots, and I swear like a sailor. Nobody mistakes me for a lady.

    The constrictions of being ladylike overlap a lot with having to hide mental illness. There are social rules, and you don’t break them if you want to keep your mental illness secret. I run into problems with this because I have major scars from self-harm, so if I wear short sleeves, people instantly know. But I don’t talk about that. When I can’t do something because I have therapy, I tell people I have a doctor’s appointment or I’m having lunch with a friend. I didn’t used to hide it so much, but now that I’m doing a lot of political work, I feel a need to keep those two parts of my life mostly separate. People I work with probably know I’m sick, but there’s no discussion about it.

    But unlike the restrictions of being ladylike, I sort of like having my mental illness stuff separate from my work. For a long time, when all I was doing every day was treatment, it felt like that’s all I was: the crazy girl. Now, I’m a political organizer with a side of crazy. I like having more to my identity. I like having an answer when somebody asks, “So, what do you do?” I like knowing I’m good at something besides therapy.

      • Well, basically, I just don’t mention my mental health challenges. I don’t talk about therapy or meds or anything. It’s not that hard when you’re doing political organizing because there’s often not much personal conversation–you’re making phone calls or collecting signatures or knocking on doors. You’re focused on the campaign, the candidate, the voters–not yourself, so much.

        There is a bit of intersection because one of the candidates I’m working for is very vocal about improving mental health services in the state–she lost a brother to suicide. I’ve spoken about my strong support for her policy, but I’ve chosen (so far, anyway) not to disclose that I support it strongly because I struggle with those issues too.

      • Ah ok, I see.

        I have noticed that since going into Early Childhood Education I speak less about mental health, unless it is about children. When I was in Social Work or when I still do Social Work, it comes up a lot more because of the huge social justice aspect.

  2. Agree, agree, agree. Couldn’t agree more, actually. This is an important article and you should be proud for bringing it to everyone’s attention!

  3. It apparently comes from a song by someone named Miranda Lambert, and if the sexism/sanism, weren’t bad enough in this line, the rest of the lyrics are about how the person being “crazy” is doing it over…wait for it… A BREAKUP! Because women can’t have serious mental health issues, or any other type of problem, that’s not somehow guy-related, amirite?

    • I had a feeling it would be in reference to a break up. I instantly thought of the “psycho ex” or “crazy ex-girlfriend”. I think it also shits on grief. A break up can be extremely life altering! We’ve been told how to grieve for a long time as well. Grief is supposed to be quiet.

      • When I read through all the lyrics it seemed that the singer was against those attitudes, which her mother was telling her. “Hide your crazy and act like a lady” is what her mother was saying and she disagreed. STILL, that’s the line that’s popular enough to be marketed as a t-shirt, which suggests most of the audience identifies with that point of view rather than the other.

  4. Pingback: “Hide Your Sanism And Act Like You Have Two Brain Cells To Rub Together” | Notes From The Devil Dollhaus

  5. How do ladies act? Ladies say nothing meaningful, look pretty, suppress the urge to have (much less speak) an opinion and submit to the selfish wants of men. Color me crazy! Can I have an amen?

  6. I always associated “acting like a lady” with fainting dramatically at sight of a mouse or spider…….

    I think I prefer to be crazy, eh

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