While this is now a somewhat moot point as the name of the name of the anthology will change, I still wanted to share my opinion. This is not something I normally do, so I apologize to anyone this might surprise or offend.
I think the first thing I have to admit/disclose is that there is a history of mental illness on both sides of my family. The females of my mother’s side of the family battle with depression and my father’s brother is on permanent disability from the government because of his mental illness (the classification of which has changed so that I’m not sure what it is anymore). My brother is severely ADHD, to the point where it was difficult for him to function socially while he was growing up. I myself have never been diagnosed with anything, but there are times when I wonder. That, however, is neither here nor there on this issue.
The “Glitter and Madness” anthology has recently stirred emotions with its title. While I do not presume to speak for the editors, I am sure this unintentional (and I believe they have said as much).
I think my biggest problem with the whole “Madness” controversy is the lack of understanding when it comes to the intentions of the people using the word. Yes, the word madness has had a long and sordid history, but it has another meaning.
~The state of being mentally ill, esp. severely.
~Extremely foolish behavior.
Yes, it is number two, but it is there, and needs to be included in the discussion, because that is the intention behind the word. A quick study of the history of the word madness reveals that it originated as a word meaning “extreme foolishness” and was eventually linked to mental illness in the middle ages. This means the anthology’s usage of madness is in the tradition of the original definition.
To make a comparison of different meanings of a stigmatized word, I would direct you to another person’s post on the subject. In Polenth’s article the word gay is discussed. I would argue that while yes, it IS used to stigmatize, you have to look at the context. One of my favorite songs from West Side Story is “I Feel Pretty”. It’s just such a fun song, that embodies the /other/ meaning of the word gay. I would argue that song is a good example of how a stigmatized word can be changed through context. I am always happier after listening to Maria sing about how happy and gay she is.
I feel like people are far to focused on the negative meaning of the word “madness”. I understand it can be upsetting when someone uses the word. So can other words when used in a hateful manner. That’s the thing, though. This use is anything but hateful. It’s filled with love, joy, spontaneity, and everything else this word can embody at its best. The purpose and intentions of the authors and editors of the anthology are not to make anyone feel bad, but to make people feel good. In another sense, this isn’t to stigmatize, but to liberate.
I just wish people could see that.