Women's Madness: Misogyny or Mental Illness?

Jane M. Ussher, Author University of Massachusetts Press $47.5 (341p) ISBN 978-0-87023-786-7
In this exhaustive and wide-ranging history of the diagnosis and treatment of women with mental illness Ussher ( The Psychology of the Female Body ) raises the question: Does female ``madness'' in reality represent a sane response to a society designed to keep women in check? Ussher's own mother was diagnosed as mentally ill during the author's adolescence. In seeking to understand her mother's experience, including her ``cure'' via electro-convulsive therapy and drugs, Ussher takes a historical look at the treatment--more often torture--of women who were feared because they were different, and who were thus labeled mad. The author even goes so far as to suggest that premenstrual syndrome and postnatal depression are unsustainable theories that keep women at the mercy of their biological selves, mere extensions of the Victorian school of thought that labeled women the ``weaker sex.'' As an academic text, Ussher's deconstruction of female madness and its treatment is surefooted and thorough; as a historical recounting of women's experiences with mental illness, it is radicalizing and sobering. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Show other formats
Paperback - 341 pages - 978-0-87023-787-4
Hardcover - 341 pages - 978-0-7450-0832-5
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.