The Female Desperation to be Sad

Lea Flavier

What emerges every few months from hibernation is the fetishization of female pain and the craze over attaining it. It’s not only present in modern times but has been a recurring theme that circulates around the inherent allure within the tragedies that a woman experiences. Several subgenres of this phenomenon spawn every now and then but all gravitate to the same objective. It appears vulnerable and compelling to see a wounded woman and even more so for one who embraces it, even if it feels more like a personality to minister to rather than a severe condition to bring attention to.

Sadness appeals as an accessory to people because of its mass commercialization and how coveted the media makes it seem through music, books, and all sorts of pop culture. Such ideas perpetuate an unrealistic representation of hurt and seek to foster the pain of a home in the mind. It contributes to the mass misinterpretation that mental illnesses earned a reputation to have, garnering likes and attention but never real awareness. This, as well as the continuous descent of society’s lack of empathy towards women’s traumatic experiences, is well due to its glamorization. According to Frances Restuccia’s “Tales of Beauty: Aestheticizing Female Melancholia,” this behavior only invites an attachment to brutal partners, to which the very pathology of melancholia renders them vulnerable in the first place. Its only purpose is to serve as a temporary comfort for those that keep themselves from seeking help and support because being a sad girl gives them an elevated, sought-after status. This affects the entirety of people’s perception of women’s pain – a delicate, soft, yet shallow and definitively futile sorrow.

What’s disappointing is that the repeating desire for chronic female sadness is due to women themselves. Many markers of history indicate society’s thirst for ostracizing women through physical and emotional appearances, and we are letting it happen, letting it pass as a silly online trend. A change is long due. It is about time we stop taking lightly a woman’s suffering and start treating it as a vessel for the oppression, scars, and resistance it truly carries.