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Women's minds seen as disturbed by Victorian Doctors

January 26, 2011

        Everyone knows of the strange thinking and doing of some Victorians and their outlandish moralistic views. The most amusing are many medical practitioner’s views on female anatomy, and consequent changes in temperament.

         Scientists wrote lengthy treatises to explain the emotional instability of a woman during her monthly cycles, or to excuse outbursts of temper during her child-bearing years. Naturally, nothing was blamed on the husband’s wrong-doings. Oh, no!!!   MEN produced these far-fetched theories.  MEN proclaimed them to be true. 

                 Do these quotes on gynaecology make you shudder? 

                        From The Cat’s Meat Shop: “The mind is always more or less disturbed.”.

         Dr Robert Barnes, of London…..”The mind is always more or less disturbed.” ….. Perception, or at least the faculty of rightly interpreting perceptions, is disordered. Excitement to the point of passing delirium is not uncommon. Irritability of temper, disposition to distort the most ordinary and best-meaning acts or words of surrounding persons, afflict the patient, who is conscious of her unreason, and perplex her friends, until they have learned to understand these recurring outbursts. . . . Not even the best educated women are all free from these mental disorders.

        Dr. Tilt defines it ( Hysteria)  as a disease peculiar to women during the reproductive period of life, and is often known to return at each period of ovulation. This function is constantly liable to accidents.

         Sir J.Y. Simpson…..she becomes “subject to fits of excitement which come on most frequently at a menstrual period, and which usually assume an hysterical form, but are, at times, almost maniacal in character.”

                 What do you think?    Would you have liked to have been a woman in Victorian times?   

                          Not me!      ……..   Suzi

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