"Crazy Chicks Are Hot?" 8 Messed-Up Portrayals of Women Going Insane in Film
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The act of watching women fall apart onscreen reinforces gendered power structure. The reason Setoodeh’s source, and a lot of other men, perceive crazy women to be attractive is because it allows them to assert power over the woman’s unpredictability, their presumed sanity a locus of control. And it’s more than just a perception of power -- mental disorders typically affect those who are disempowered in some way, disproportionately women. According to the World Health Organization:
Gender specific risk factors for common mental disorders that disproportionately affect women include gender based violence, socioeconomic disadvantage, low income and income inequality, low or subordinate social status and rank and unremitting responsibility for the care of others.
Depression, anxiety, psychological distress, sexual violence, domestic violence and escalating rates of substance use affect women to a greater extent than men across different countries and different settings. Pressures created by their multiple roles, gender discrimination and associated factors of poverty, hunger, malnutrition, overwork, domestic violence and sexual abuse, combine to account for women's poor mental health. There is a positive relationship between the frequency and severity of such social factors and the frequency and severity of mental health problems in women. Severe life events that cause a sense of loss, inferiority, humiliation or entrapment can predict depression.
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Julianne Escobedo Shepherd is an associate editor at AlterNet and a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor. Formerly the executive editor of The FADER, her work has appeared in VIBE, SPIN, New York Times and various other magazines and websites.