As Winona Ryder knows as too well, when you are a woman and you emote, you run the risk of being labeled "crazy." As the 44-year-old actress explained in a cover-story interview with New York magazine, she is not okay with this.
"I'm so sick of people shaming women for being sensitive or vulnerable," she said, adding she's aware that people have pegged her as both.
"And I am supersensitive, and I don't think that that's a bad thing," she told New York. "To do what I do, I have to remain open."
Ryder named as an example her character in Netflix's recent sci-fi hit, Stranger Things. She plays a woman who loses her son and launches a desperate bid to find him. Naturally, someone mentions "anxiety problems" she's had in the past as an explanation for her being understandably distraught.
"A lot of people have picked up on that, like, 'Oh, you know, she's crazy,'" Ryder said in the interview. "And I'm like, 'OK, wait a second, she's struggling.' Two kids, deadbeat dad, working her ass off — who wouldn't be anxious?"
That's precisely it: Anxiety is an appropriate emotion to have in many situations — and for some, it crosses the line into legitimate disorder. But, Ryder told New York, it's an experience too often chalked up to "being crazy":
I remember I did Diane Sawyer, and I talked about my experiences with anxiety and depression when I was that age. And I think by doing that, maybe coupled with my physical size, there's this "crazy" thing. And I've realized recently it's literally impossible to try to change that story.
"Crazy" is a word applied most frequently to women, used to cast their responses as hormone-fueled overreactions driving them to irrationality. It's dismissive, and in recent years, it's been recognized for what it is: gaslighting.
Winona is right. Winona forever.