Before his sentencing of 175 years in federal prison, former Team USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar, wrote in a letter to Judge Rosemarie Aquilina defending himself, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” The entire courtroom erupted in audible groans. Judge Aquilina tossed his letter aside, as if to say, “Are you kidding me?”
Nassar was found guilty of sexually abusing more than 150 victims under his care, and yet still insinuated his accusers fabricated their stories for financial gain. His accusers, by the way, are American heroes.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” earned groans because this statement is so nauseating and unfortunately, common. It’s a phrase that belittles assertive woman.
The trope of the manic, angry, woman seeking revenge on a “innocent” man is exhausted, inaccurate, and insulting. When a man expresses anger, it’s just. But when a woman expresses anger she’s scorned, crazy, and therefore, discreditable.
Give me a fucking break. Whenever I hear shit like that, I’m reminded of Reductress headline, “I’m Sorry I Was Being So Crazy While You Were Treating Me Like Shit.” I also think whenever a guy mentions that all his exes are “crazy” that’s a huge red flag.
“Scorned” women only recently received better representation in media through the CW’s “Crazy Ex Girlfriend.” It’s the only show on TV I can think of that acts as a deliberate antithesis to the sexist trope. It’s literally in the theme song, “She’s the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend / That’s a sexist term / She’s the Crazy Ex Girlfriend/ Can you guys stop saying that? / She’s so broken inside / The situation is a lot more nuanced than that!”
And now, specifically to address the men reading.
Retire this phrase. Stop discrediting justifiable anger. Stop calling your exes crazy. Examine your own shitty behavior. Sit down and listen to women coming forward. Take responsibility for your actions. Call out your bros for their shitty behaviors. And realize, that when you use the phrase “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” as an excuse, so did Larry Nassar, the most prolific child molester in modern history.