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I’m so grossly overcome by hysteria. Ask me. And I mumble “I’m OK.”

No. Ask me again.

I’m not OK!

My frequent outbursts leave me bewildered. Wasn’t I smiling just five minutes back? And now I’m dissolved in a state of tears. My body harbours intense turmoil. I want to know why do men have the emotional capacity of a teaspoon yet women are capable of experiencing a multitude of emotions simultaneously. If this doesn’t explain why we’re mostly irrational, then I concede we’re just wired to be incoherent basketcases.

Surely my state of being can be attributed to (insert favourite PMS euphemism here)? Yet, I recall researching on Female Hysteria during my BA studies:

Hysteria is itself redolent with gendered codification and representation, and with a current dictionary definition stating (general features being) an extreme degree of emotional instability and an intense craving for affection: an outbreak of wild emotionalism all of which can be located on a continuum from present codficiations of feminine.

Or as Wiki would describe:

Female hysteria was a formerly common medical diagnosis, made exclusively in women, which is no longer recognized by modern medical authorities. It was a popular diagnosis in Western nations, during the Victorian era, for women who exhibited a wide array of symptoms including faintness, nervousness, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in abdomen, muscle spasm, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, and a “tendency to cause trouble”.

The theory which derived from an ancient Greek myth tells of the uterus wandering throughout a woman’s body, strangling the victim as it reaches the chest and causing disease. Hystera is the Greek word for uterus.

The womb stirs, longing for attention. Perhaps she seeks to be assured that she’s not forgotten. Female Hysteria was formerly a medical condition, why isn’t it now?

In the mid-1800’s, a certain Dr Swift would do some tinkling with his magic fingers and induce short-term euphoria.

Patients diagnosed with female hysteria would sometimes undergo “pelvic massage” — manual stimulation of the woman’s genitals by the doctor to “hysterical paroxysm”, which is now recognized as orgasm.

Thus to put it crudely, for all that pent up emotion and stress accumulated, some alone time with you and your chichi will do just fine.

Back then, were women so stifled and unstimulated that they were rendered sexually dissatisfied? Suppose female bodies were ruled by inherent male power and curing such an ailment was so shockingly simple, then what were the husbands doing? How were husbands content letting a doctor stick his hand up their wives’ skirts, triggering sexual climax – a task which was inextricably tied to their wedding vows?

Perhaps with the emergence of third-wave feminism, the modern day female is fiercely empowered and imperative over her body. Even if she is still unknowingly disconnected from her being, it simply isn’t a matter of carnal pleasure anymore. As Julia Kristeva mentions, “The body conquers the invisible territory of the soul.”

We seek self-pleasure for purely selfish reasons. While I’ve successfully digressed and temporarily dispelled moodiness for feminist rants, I will not count out a little alone time for myself later.



  1. Susie and I had a conversation about hysteria two weeks ago.

    Intriguing that you are talking about it here!

  2. …. and can i have my Kristeva book back? xD

  3. ah yes, i’ve been wanting to pass the book back to you for the longest time!

    hysteria – such a coherent theme. i’m probably at office suffering from this medical condition now!

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