Attitudes Towards Women In The 19th Century

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The nineteenth century was very different from the society we now live in, but all the beliefs, attitudes, and traditions have not completely extinguished. Many cultures and places partake in the same, or similar, beliefs and traditions as they did back then. Some attitudes, although most have drastically changed or diminished, have carried on through the centuries, one being the attitudes towards women and mental illness. In the nineteenth century, women were often diagnosed as mad, for many different reasons. Attitudes towards female madness are persistent to this day; women are often misdiagnosed with problems related to hysteria, believed to not be able to handle heavy workloads, and despised if very sexually active. Madness in the Victorian…show more content…
Women are still believed to be vulnerable to being hysterical, depressed, or having mood disorders, and are sometimes misdiagnosed with these diseases. In their article, “Women Who Are Judged Mentally Ill Might Just be Mad,” Daniel and Jason Freeman quote Jane Ussher’s book, stating, “Women outnumber men in diagnoses of madness, from the ‘hysteria’ of the 18th and 19th centuries, to ‘neurotic’ and mood disorders in the 20th and 21st.” (Freeman 2) Of course, medicine is much more advanced and finding the correct diagnosis is easier, but the first diagnosis that comes to mind with women is usually along the lines of hysteria or mood disorders. Like Louise Phillips says in his book, “Societal conditioning expects women in their female roles to exhibit emotional distress, but this is not received with understanding and empathy.” (Phillips 53) When men show disturbed behavior, it is often ignored by society and by the man himself. Men normally do not go to a specialist unless it is very serious, but even though women seek help more often, they are still unfairly diagnosed when it comes to mental illness symptoms. “Doctors are more likely to diagnose depression in women compared with men, even when they have similar scores on standardized measures of depression or present with identical symptoms.” (WHO 9). World Health Organizations (WHO) gathered statistics and research…show more content…
I find it outrageous that we still classify girls and women as “good girls” and “bad girls”—as both “respectable” and worthy of our protection, or as “sluts” and “whores” who deserve our derision and punishment. (Monet) She intends for this article to show the damage of these words and hopes to remove the power of “slut” and “whore” so they can no longer cause such tragedies. Like in the Victorian era, people today believe women are to be sexually disinterested. Many of the gender roles have changed since the Victorian era, but some of the attitudes towards woman and madness are still present. Women were supposed to be sexually disinterested, naturally passive, dependent, and caregivers, and anything other than those characteristics put a woman in danger of being diagnosed as mad. In modern society women are still viewed as vulnerable to mental illness, unable to handle heavy workloads, and supposed to be sexually disinterested. Maybe these persistent attitudes are not so bad, because when men finally discover that women are sane, powerful, and intelligent, it will be too late; women will have already taken over. So let the men undermine the women and let the women catch them by

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