Change Your World-NOT your Body

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Trans Females and Hysteria

From Elaine Showalter's book The Female Malady:

During an era when patriarchal culture felt itself to be under attack by its rebellious daughters, one obvious defense was to label women campaigning for access to the universities, the professions, and the vote as mentally disturbed, and of all the nervous disorders of the fin de siecle, hysteria was the most strongly identified with the feminist movement.
Both clinical observation and sexual prejudice contributed to this association. First of all, doctors had noticed that hysteria was apt to appear in young women who were especially rebellious. F.C. Skey, for example, had observed that his hysterical patients were likely to be more independent and assertive than "normal" women, "exhibiting more than usual force and decision of character,of strong resolution, fearless of danger." Donkin too had seen among his patients a high percentage of unconventional women-artists and writers. From these observations, it was a quick jump to conclude that rebelliousness could produce nervous disorder and its attendant pathologies. 

If females who desire transition today existed in the last 19th century/early 20th century, females desiring to look like men, act like men, dress as men did, hold male jobs etc, would these females likely be diagnosed with hysteria?

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