A few months ago, I posted a story about the controversial use of the word “psychological” in the “science” section of the internet.
I wrote that, for the most part, the term “psychologists” was simply a catchall term to describe a variety of other people’s perspectives and approaches to a variety to the same issues.
In the course of a few weeks, a lot of the responses to my article were a mix of concern, skepticism, and outright disgust.
Many readers, especially women, felt that the word’s associations with gender-based violence and gender stereotypes, and its connotations of the paranormal and psychic, were problematic and potentially harmful.
In response to a reader who felt that “psychologist” had been misused to suggest that the paranormal was real, I pointed out that the terms used to describe people and institutions are not always accurate.
In this context, the word actually referred to a wide range of people and entities, from researchers to government officials, teachers, and teachers themselves.
But for a lot (but not all) of people, the associations were clear.
Many people were horrified by the implication that the term was used to dismiss or diminish anyone’s expertise or knowledge about their field.
They were angry that “mental health professionals” were using it to imply that it’s OK to treat anyone as a victim, or that “people who are mental health experts” have any special rights or privilege over others.
Many were concerned that it was somehow implying that they were untrustworthy and that they had not earned their degrees.
For some people, “psychiatrist” was the worst word in the world, and it made them feel like a threat.
And that was only the beginning.
Several people were concerned with the implication of using the word in a derogatory manner to imply a mental illness.
Others were concerned about the negative associations it had with gender.
One woman was concerned about how “psychopath” and “psychic” had negative connotations.
“People who think they’re a psychopath” is the worst thing to say about someone who thinks they’re sane, she said.
A few people were more concerned about “mental illness” itself.
And for many, the association of the term with gender stereotypes was particularly problematic.
The word “mental” is a derogatory term for someone who has a mental disability or illness, and so many people were very upset about the implication it had of gender discrimination.
They felt that this association was deeply offensive, and they were very angry about it.
In my initial story, I had written about the “mental disorders” association with gender, but it was important to note that there were also “mental illnesses” that people who were suffering from mental illness were likely to suffer from.
It wasn’t just about the association with the word; the term itself was problematic.
I also highlighted the way that many people had interpreted the term in terms of the “social construction” of mental illness, which I argued was problematic in that it assumed that mental illnesses are caused by some sort of illness and that the only way people with mental illnesses could be treated is to treat them like other people.
In other words, people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder might not be able to change their behavior or social skills to improve their health and wellbeing, but they can, if they are allowed to live in a certain way.
And this was problematic for some people.
So I wrote a post about how I disagreed with this idea, but also argued that the association between the word and gender-specific social constructions of mental illnesses was problematic and dangerous.
That was a lot to write in a few words.
And then, on the same day, I wrote an article about the recent backlash to my story, and the fact that many readers were angry about the word.
It was the second time I had been subject to such a backlash.
The first time was a few months earlier, when I was doing a story on the use of “social justice warriors” in our society.
In that piece, I explained that the social justice warriors were not just someone who happens to disagree with us, but rather a small group of people who have come together in the name of social justice to oppose our collective goals.
For a lot, the reaction was anger and disbelief, and some readers were even angry at me.
They thought I was somehow trying to censor their view.
I was, in a way, responding to that anger and disappointment by suggesting that it wasn’t necessarily an accurate or fair representation of what’s going on in society.
I pointed to a recent Pew survey that found that there was a wide overlap between the views and experiences of people of color, the LGBT community, and women and men of all ages and experience levels.
The survey found that these groups share a similar level of social and economic disadvantage, and that their experiences are often more likely to be marginalised or even criminalized in the eyes of the law.