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Powered by audion Listen to this article How patriarchy fabricated the myth of the mentally ill woman
Women are more prone to psychiatric disorders than their male counterparts. Really ? In her new book, British psychologist Jessica Taylor demonstrates how the myth of the mentally ill woman was invented. And how it still rots our lives.
It is well known, women are "crazy". They are even more likely to develop mental disorders than men. In any case, everything is done to persuade them. Even doctors who more easily diagnose a psychiatric disorder in a woman than in a man.
What if this trend was basically only a cultural (and patriarchal) creation? In her book Sexy But Crazy: How the Patriarchy Uses Women's Trauma Against Them (Little, Brown editions, March 2022), British psychologist Jessica Taylor recounts how women's trauma almost automatically turns into mental illness. At their expense.
A medieval obscurantism
This trend is not new. To understand, you have to go back to the time of the great witch hunts between the 14th and 17th centuries. Women who don't fit in (those who are too smart, too cultured, too opinionated, too critical of politics or religion, who don't want to get married or have children and even midwives , in short… free women ) are automatically qualified as “ hysterical ”, “ diabolical ”, “ witches ” and led to the stake. 600,000 to a million women and girls killed, all the same!
On the same subject ⋙ Hysteria, dementia, emotional overload… female pathologies, really?
⋙ And you, do you suffer from hysteria?
After the time of the logs, came the time of the “insane asylums” . Here again, those who do not meet the standards are qualified as "mentally ill" and locked up to undergo all sorts of abuse intended to "cure" them: electric shock, lobotomy, ingestion of toxic lead, lithium, insulin up to fall into a diabetic coma, hysterectomy…
The patients are diagnosed "hysterical", "a disease invented only in women", notes Jessica Taylor. "The theory at the time was that female mental illness was caused by the uterus moving to the brain and attacking the cells, driving them mad."
Today, the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders in women follows the same pattern, she says: “We pathologize women for having normal reactions to events in their lives – be it anger, sadness or grief.” What if we listened to the patients?
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