Tuesday, November 4, 2014

hysteria by any other name

Hysteria, from the Greek word "hystera" which means uterus, has been around for thousands of years. The word. The description. The diagnosis. Ancient Greeks though a host of female ailments could be linked to an out of whack uterus. And as they thought a woman was ruled by her uterus, not her brain, obviously it could and should be held responsible for the unexplainable. Emotional swings, seizures, cancer, heart attacks, too much or too little interest in sex. Aberrant behavior or symptoms that couldn't be otherwise explained were blamed on the uterus. 

Fast forward to the 20th century, hysteria was still a medical diagnosis until the 1950s. Easier to lump behavior together and blame it on a woman's inherent instability than spend time and resources getting to the bottom of things. One of the most fascinating/disheartening facts I learned while researching FLOW was that the year hysteria was stricken from the official book of medical diagnoses, PMS was introduced into it. It became the new umbrella to sweep female centric issues under. 

I'm feeling that way about menopause as well. It's very easy to collectively blame this natural biological occurrence with everything that can't be readily explained. And in doing so, women, as we age, aren't being well served. 

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