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Women and Mental Illness: Stigma and Stereotypes

Start Date: April 08 10:30 AM

ZoeWhat’s worse, looking jealous or crazy?” sings Beyoncé in one of the most popular songs on her new visual album, Lemonade. The lyrics speak to the power the word “crazy” wields as a way to dismiss women. From Ophelia to Fatal Attraction, our media sources are saturated with images of women with mental illness. Mental-illness language is widespread and powerful—especially for women. “Crazy ex-girlfriend,” “hysterical,” “psycho,” “crazy bitch”: these are the tropes and stereotypes that women, mentally ill or not, navigate.

Zöe Sottile ’17’s research paper and presentation investigate both the specific discrimination endured by women with mental illness and the cultural phenomenon of the “crazy woman” in modern media. Her work ponders the intersection between ableist stereotypes about mental illness and sexist stereotypes about women, ultimately working toward progressive solutions that put women with mental illness in charge of their own narratives.

Brunch will be served.
Open to the PA community.
Faculty Advisor: Tricia Har, Instructor in English

The Brace Center for Gender Studies is an academic resource center where students and faculty work together on gender-based research projects.