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Male Hysteria' in Showalter's The Female Malady - Essay Example

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These emotions can be caused by a number of reasons, but most commonly, by a significant event that happened in one’s past. In its development, hysteria has come to be closely associated with feminism…
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"Male Hysteria' in Showalter's The Female Malady"

Download file to see previous pages They say that these characteristics, coupled with some environmental issues trigger hysteria.
For a long time, until recently, stories of hysteria were told by men, and in these stories, the women were portrayed not as the heroines, but as the victims. But as more research was done by various psychoanalysts, different opinions and observations came to light. The main one being that hysteria could not only be linked to women but could also be a male condition, or a condition general for individuals, irrespective of gender, who feel that they are silenced by society or powerless against it. According to texts, male hysteria has always been considered a shameful condition, and male hysterics are seen as unmanly and weak (Showalter, p180). They say it is as if the feminine component associated with hysteria is itself a symptom. In A System of Medicine by John Russell Reynolds, it is argued that hysterical men or boys are either of morally or mentally feminine constitution. The stereotypes and prejudices that were protested at some point are alive and still being used against male hysterics. An analyst notes that a hysterical man is described as one who behaves like a woman.
In her book, Showalter included one study she made on Emile Batualt, a French researcher. According to the study, Batualt observations were focused on hysterical men found in Salpetriere’s special ward. Here, the male patients were fearful and timid. Their gazes were not piercing or lively. They were languorous, poetic and soft. Eccentric and coquettish, they preferred scarves and ribbons to manual labor (Showalter, p172). With these kinds of expectations, doctors were finding it difficult to accept the diagnosis of hysteria in men who seemed virile. The image of a hysteric in psychiatric literature is described to depict that the man would be closely described as a passive homosexual. This advances the image created of male hysteria, which brings ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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