Intimate relationships are not the only space in which gender plays into gaslighting. Other examples of gender-based gaslighting include:
Gaslighting in medicine. Some women are gaslit by their doctors, who may use the stereotype that women are irrational or hysterical to dismiss legitimate symptoms and health concerns and convince a female patient that nothing is actually wrong with her.
Public or collective gaslighting. Many women experience the effects of public gaslighting, also called collective gaslighting, when statements by a public figure or an ordinary person that are widely shared on social media can lead women as a collective to second-guess themselves.
In her paper “Gaslighting, Misogyny and Psychological Oppression,” Cynthia A. Stark, Ph.D., shares the example of two high school football players who raped an unconscious 16-year-old at a party and then received sympathy from a CNN reporter who described them as “two young men that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believed their lives fell apart.”
“This type of public gaslighting… is capable of inducing in women a particular state of mind where they cannot quite fully embrace their own perception that the man’s action was wrong or harmful,” Stark writes. “They struggle with the disquiet of believing ‘deep down’ that the woman in question was unjustly treated but also believing that she is perhaps making a big deal out of nothing or that the boys should be allowed to make one mistake.”
Gaslighting of transgender people. A gaslighter may try to convince a transgender person that they have a mental health disorder. In a more subtle show of gaslighting, a parent may tell their transgender daughter that she should wear pants because they are more comfortable for playtime, causing the child to doubt her desire to wear skirts or dresses.
Often, gaslighting behavior comes from parents of transgender children who state they are supportive of their child, which makes the gaslighting more difficult to identify.
Gaslighting in the legal system. Police officers, judges or juries may become unknowing participants in gender-based gaslighting. “The legal system becomes a critical site of gaslighting when abusers gain control of the narrative and ‘flip’ stories and events, drawing on stereotypes about women as irrational, and especially about black women as aggressive,” Sweet writes. “In this way, institutional authorities sometimes become unknowing colluders in gaslighting tactics, setting women up for further violence and loss of credibility.” This is often illustrated in child custody cases and sexual assault cases.