There’s absolutely no doubt that Olivia Rodrigo’s recently released album, “Sour,” is dominating the music universe in multiple countries. Of the songs on the new album, “Good 4 U” is particularly popular with Rodrigo fans and pop listeners alike; as of May 20, the song had an impressive 43.2 million U.S. streams, 12,000 downloads and claimed the No. 1 spot by its second week out on the U.K. singles chart. The song — stylized as “good 4 u” — also had 1.7 million videos published under its TikTok sound and over 273 million streams on Spotify as of June 9.
The 18-year-old has received an overwhelmingly positive response since the release of “Good 4 U” and her album “Sour” as a whole. Still, the total amount of positive reactions was definitely not 100%.
What Is a “Damn Sociopath” Anyway?
Most people have heard the terms “sociopath” and “psychopath” thrown around, whether in relation to someone they don’t particularly think highly of, a villainous character in entertainment or a criminal. With how often these labels are glued onto people in our society without so much as a second thought, a lot of people don’t exactly know the meaning behind them. So, what do they actually mean?
According to betterhelp.com, “While many psychologists and other mental health professionals believe that sociopathy and psychopathy should be classified as independent diagnoses, the DSM, which is the primary source of diagnostic criteria, does not classify them as stand-alone diagnoses.” Instead, the diagnostic term used today is “antisocial personality disorder,” also known as ASPD. While I’d encourage you to read through the DSM-5 criteria for ASPD yourself, some of the criteria include issues with rule-following, impulsivity, irritability, aggression and an overall lack of remorse for actions.
When looking at ASPD solely through the lens of the DSM-5, it’s easy to misunderstand what ASPD truly looks like for someone who has cluster B personality disorder. NPR’s “Inside the Mind of a Sociopath” interviews a woman with ASPD who wrote the memoir “Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight” under the pen name M. E. Thomas.
During the interview, Thomas challenges the stigma that all people with ASPD are dangerous or inherently bad: “Most people interact with sociopaths in positive ways and don’t realize it. It’s only when we catch them, and they are in prison, and we have gone through this lengthy trial to point out all the bad things that they’ve done, that we start thinking that sociopaths are bad.” Just like with everybody else in this world, people with ASPD are all individuals with unique motivations, experiences and needs. Thomas’ words encourage others to get to know people with ASPD before automatically assuming they’re evil.
A TikToker under the username @nerdymixedpan spreads a similar message through their video: “Having that disorder does not make you a f—ing ‘psycho’; it is a personality disorder, it is not a stamp on your forehead that says you’re gonna commit murders.”
What Do People With ASPD Think About “Good 4 U”?
The following lyrics from the chorus of Rodrigo’s hit song are the lines in question: “Well good for you, you look happy and healthy, not me if you ever care to ask. Good for you, you’re doing great out there without me, baby, like a damn sociopath.” The chorus, along with the rest of the song, continues to paint the singer’s ex as someone completely unaffected by their recent breakup, which is something Rodrigo doesn’t understand and is frustrated by.
I gathered the takes of three different TikTok users, all of whom have antisocial personality disorder, and their reactions to the lyrics very much align. In their TikTok video, user @catooc argues that “People know it’s not right but no one gives a s—.” They then go on to share how they “do not care about people using this audio, but the message it’s sending to the mental health community in general is not okay.”
Like @catooc, @mothermorningstar also clearly doesn’t agree with how Rodrigo associates her negative opinions of her ex as sociopathic. Her video opens with the blunt statement of, “so I f—ing hate it. I very much dislike this song,” then elaborates that “just because your ex-boyfriend no longer wants to be with you and he broke up with you and he allegedly shows no signs of empathy, doesn’t automatically make him a sociopath.”
TikTok user @cobeano seems a lot more emotionally weakened by this trend through their reaction to Rodrigo and her song: “So many of the videos in this trend are stupid and ableist … I’d say it bothers me, but I learned to switch off my emotions due to severe trauma. ASPD isn’t the funny punchline you think it is.”
This Writer’s Take On “Good 4 U”
As my title might indicate, I think the song has a highly negative impact on not only individuals with antisocial personality disorder but also on people with underrepresented mental disorders in general. This language is so commonly used yet so widely misunderstood to the point that those with ASPD feel unsafe to disclose that information publicly.
I am not someone with ASPD, but I am someone who’s frustrated with the widely misunderstood mental health community. The inaccurate use of these labels in the media and by celebrities like Rodrigo directly affects how people react toward individuals with these very real mental disorders. If you only take one thing away from this article, I hope it’s this: Just because a small number of people seem to care about something harmful doesn’t mean that it’s not extremely damaging to our perception of underrepresented communities.