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Mad, Bad, Sad A History of women and the mind doctors from 1800 to the present by Lisa Appignanesi

From:     reader
Category: Art
Date:     08 July 2009
Time:     07:54 AM


This is a brilliant book. It describes women’s relationships with their doctors, the changing
fashions in how mental illness is described and makes the important point that for many women
madness was a more desirable choice than the drudgery of their lives at home. The following passage
describes the absurdity of what many women have to deal with in various forms on a daily basis, 

“it seems to be perfectly alright for a major South African politician to say that a woman’s short
skirt sent him the message that she wanted sex – he is deemed neither mad, nor a rapist. But if in a
similar instance a woman had said “His short trousers sent a message to me”, she might well be
regarded as eccentric; said often enough in the early part of last century and accompanied by
irritable behaviour the eccentricity might catapult into madness”.

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