The possessive girlfriend trend. The psycho girlfriend aesthetic. You’ve seen it. There are pages on Facebook and profiles on Twitter dedicated to it. Any well-reasoned girl looks at them and finds the pictures, tweets, and statuses utterly ridiculous. No sane girlfriend actually thinks like this, do they?
The answer is no. And if you do, or your girlfriend does, you are in an extremely unhealthy relationship. It’s not normal or healthy to police who your boyfriend talks to, to stalk his every move on social media, to get upset when other girls like or comment on his pictures, to give him death threats if he has other female friends, or to go through his phone without his permission. It’s not okay to keep him from friends or family members because you want ALL of his attention. It’s not fair to place extremely unrealistic expectations on him and throw a fit when he doesn’t exceed them. It’s abusive. It’s toxic. It’s a setback to feminism and a slap in the face to all the women who work their butts off for the female population to be viewed as the exact opposite of what you’re promoting for the sake of aesthetic or humor. And it can actually result in real, cold-blooded murder.
Let’s talk about what would happen if the roles were reversed. If a friend (let’s call her Jane) happened to be dating a man who didn’t let her go out with friends, didn’t let her wear whatever she felt comfortable in, body-shamed her, expected her to cook and clean, stalked her profiles, cut her off from her friends/family, sent her death threats, and demanded every single second of her attention, you’d advise your friend against keeping the relationship. You’d call him a misogynist, you’d call him abusive, you’d encourage Jane to safely leave the relationship. You’d be concerned for Jane. Because it isn’t normal. Because all of those things are signs of a controlling and abusive relationship. We can’t just flip the script because women are doing it. It does not suddenly become cute and unproblematic because you’re just a girlfriend who “cares too much.” By doing this, you’re hurting your boyfriend and you’re hurting other women.
Fun fact: In January 1892, author Charlotte Perkins Gilman released the famous short story, ‘The Yellow Wallpaper.’ In just six thousand words, she exposed a common struggle among women of her time: The Hysteria diagnosis. Basically, any woman who experienced any type of depression, insisted on working, rejected the housewife role, and wanted a voice of her own was diagnosed by doctors as hysterical. That’s where the crazy, irrational, hysterical, overemotional stereotype of women stemmed from. And those women who were diagnosed were forced into unethical treatments such as electric shock therapy or intense isolation from loved ones and being unallowed to read, write, talk, or sew. Charlotte wrote the story in response to her treatments and exposed the harsh truth of women being mistreated for their emotions. Charlotte and women like her, fought for women’s emotions to be taken seriously and trailblazed a path that led us to where we are today. It’s unfair to set that all back in time and act like being crazy is somehow beneficial to the female population. Why are you so proud of a label that women have been trying to shake off for centuries? Why are you willing to sacrifice the chance for women to be seen as rational in society, and why do you keep promoting the damaging stereotypes that have effectively held women back? Being a “psycho girlfriend” isn’t cute. It’s not helping anyone. And doesn’t it just make your relationship miserable?
I’ve heard that the memes of death threats are just jokes and not to be taken seriously. I’ve heard that “it’s just Twitter, no girl is going to actually kill someone.” However, that was all debunked when a user allegedly planned out the murder of her ex-boyfriend’s current girlfriend on Twitter just weeks ago.
Kendra Childs was killed in a drive-by shooting. Witnesses say the shooter aimed a gun at her second level apartment and pulled the trigger, successfully murdering her. Child’s boyfriend found her hours later and she was pronounced dead at the scene. She was killed the day before her twentieth birthday and had a young daughter.
— E (@esheikh_) September 14, 2016
You may think this is all a big joke to be taken lightly. Maybe it is for you. Maybe you can only see innocent fun in it all. But maybe someone else doesn’t. And by posting the memes with death threats and thinking it’s cute to threaten murder against your boyfriend or his ex or any girl who dares to look at him, you are enabling someone else to act upon it. The term “Dyadic Phenomenon” or “Dyadic Communication” is described in criminology as the way murderous pairs fuel each other with their bloodlust. Meaning that every time you joke about killing someone for looking at bae or joke about killing your man for not texting back, you are helping to start an actual psychopath’s fire. And even though the internet is a large group of people, it only takes that one carefree joke, that one shared meme, that one retweet to reach them and to aid them in their destructive path of murderous rage. And the worst part is? The longer this goes on, the deeper it gets for someone who legitimately wants to kill someone.
Think about that next time you joke about any type of domestic violence or encourage cycles of abuse. Doesn’t seem so light-hearted now, does it? Trust me, you don’t want to be a legitimate example of a “psycho girlfriend.” The only places that will lead you to are unhappiness, prison, or maybe even death. There are no happy endings with this kind of behavior.