Essay On Female Hysteria

1365 Words 6 Pages
Female Hysteria
Similar to masturbatory insanity, the disease of hysteria operated in a similar way in the nineteenth century to control women. According to Chamberlain (2013), hysteria occurred at a period, when women were given new options in the division of labour, such as teaching and nursing. A medical system was developed to emphasize that in men, the brain is a predominant organ of the body, whereas in women, the nervous and reproductive system is dominant; hence their role in society is to reproduce (White, 2008). Using the brain, therefore, threatens women’s primary role of the reproductive system and challenges the idea of essential difference. Women who suffered from symptoms such as nervousness, temperamental or hallucinations were enough to be diagnosed with a medical treatment in the Victorian era. (Tasca, Rapetti, Carta & Fadda, 2012).

The medical treatment for this ‘disease’ often involved masturbation from a medical practitioner to release the sexual tension causing hysteria, and provide sexual relief resulting in "hysterical paroxysm," or orgasm (Tasca et al, 2012). The medical terms used in women’s medical health, signifies how
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According to Swedan (2001), the invention of the bicycle in the early 1800s was significant to women at the time, as it symbolised their physical and psychological freedom to independently travel outside the home of their own power (Swedan, 2001).The modes of dress were made shorter and ankles and legs were exposed for bicycling practicality purposes (Herlihy, 2006). Men became frightened by the exposure and violation of “proper” womanhood, and threatened by the independence and the notion of the bicycle as a device of feminism, for women to run away from their husbands (Davis, 2002). In the late nineteenth century, male doctors proposed the medical diagnosis of the ‘bicycle face’ to demoralise and control

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