We’ve seen it as a trending topic on Twitter, as Instagram captions, as Halloween costumes, even stitched on actual clothing made by companies like Nasty Gal and Brandy Melville – “Cute but Psycho” has become a popular way for girls to describe themselves. While the phrase seems lighthearted and funny, it highlights the worst stereotypes about relationships, females, and mental health. Here’s five reasons why you should think twice before using “Cute but Psycho” to describe yourself or girls in general:
1. It desensitizes us to abusive relationships
Each time we hear this phrase, we actually associate negative relationship behavior with positive affirmation. Abusive or unhealthy relationships are romanticized in a way that leads both women and men to think that serious problematic behavior is cute, charming, or a way to show affection.
2. It gives women a bad name
What happened to girls priding themselves on being good women, friends, girlfriends, or wives? Why do women now take pride in being less than that, in being “psycho”? Why is this considered cool or trendy? The more women use this derogatory phrase to describe their own gender, the more closely linked the two will become. Shouldn’t we want more for ourselves?
3. It allows men to belittle women
If women are tearing themselves down, what stops men from tearing us down too? Once women demand the type of respect we deserve from each other, only then will men give that same respect. Devaluing ourselves as women by saying we all are “psycho” only allows for men to write us off that way too.
4. It promotes unhealthy relationship boundaries
Examples of what people consider “psycho” behavior within relationships could range from reading your significant other’s texts without consent, all the way to stalking. Most behaviors like this boil down to jealousy and control, which both can cause major problems in relationships. Defining this as “cute” downplays the seriousness of crossing over into unhealthy boundaries.
5. It perpetuates mental health stigma
This is the big one!!! The most important thing to remember about the phrase “Cute but Psycho” is that NO ONE is “psycho”. Everyone, but especially people who suffer from mental illness, should never be met with the disrespect of being called “psycho”. It is dehumanizing, insulting, and ignorant to consider people who exhibit irrational behavior within or outside of relationships to be “psychos”. All this phrase does is contribute to the stigma surrounding mental health.
— As a woman and as a mental health advocate, it makes me cringe hearing “Cute but Psycho”. It does a disservice to women and to the mental health community to use this phrase. And it is definitely not cute. —