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Lecture 6

Lecture 6 - Hysterical Woman Lecture Part I.docx

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HIST 210
Steven J Maynard

The ‘Hysterical Woman’ in Canadian History, Part I th I. Hysteria: Late 19 -Century Medical Views of Women’s Sexuality A. The Case of Miss H., 1899 B. Drs. Bucke and Hobbs of the London Asylum for the Insane C. The ‘Case History’ as Power/Knowledge II. Sexual Danger A. Changing Meanings of Sexual Assault i. Family Honour/Father’s ‘Damaged Property’/Women’s Shame B. “Assault Upon a Girl”: Mary in Kingston, 1908 C. Sluts of the World Unite! III. Prostitution A. Vagrancy and Vice in Early 19 -Century Montreal th th B. Late 19 / Early 20 Century: Prostitution as The Social Evil i. White Slavery: Anatomy of a Moral Panic ii. Changing Police Practice: Toronto v. Winnipeg iii. Criminal Code Amendments on Prostitution in 1913 and 1915 IV. Changing Sexual Meanings: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back? V. Midterm Document Based Question – Read old historical documents and interpret them. Open on Monday at 6 o’clock and will close on Tuesday at 6 o’clock th I. Hysteria: Late 19 -Century Medical Views of Women’s Sexuality A. The Case of Miss H., 1899 • The hysterical women has a figurative and literal meaning • Hysteria – litteral • Women’s sexuality – Figuratively • Focus 19 and early 20 century • The Medical Journal: o The “Hystorical Woman” and Her Doctors (image) o The Canadian Practionner and Review o April 1900 o Dr J.T. Botheringham o Case of hysteria o Miss H.; schoolgirl; 18 o In physical examination the doctor found her to be physically normal o In his examination of her nervous system he found her intent on her surrounding, emotional, bizarre behaviour o Very unstable and hysterical – was her diagnosis o Was removed from home and brought to hospital o Her bizarre behavioyr – tendency to take n; tendency to whisper o She was found to be very emotional o Given sedatives o Found her physical condition was normal but her hysteria was organic disbalancement o Hysteria has a mental complications – doctor findings  Synptoms – erotic concentration and focus on female genetalia o This was the view of female sexuality at the time o Fouceault – hysteritization of the female body; the female body was integrated of the mediacla practiced; medicalization of their body and health  Leap from women sexual health and her role as a mother o How did Miss H. feel about being sent off to hospital?  Lucky! Could have been sent off to the asylum in London, Ontario B. Drs. Bucke and Hobbs of the London Asylum for the Insane • Experimented with new treatments of women’s hysteria • Bucke attended McGill medical school • Career as an alienanist – really the name given to people studying mental processes, disorders, etc. • Left Hamilton and was appointed head of the London Asylum • London Asylum Opened- 1870 o Held 1000 patients • 1895 Report – Bucke mentions gynologictal operations on females o The surgery had begun 2 years ealier on patient S.Q  Operated for Ovarian Disease  S. Q. is there because she is insane; Bucke reports that she is improved after the operation o Peak of the operations 1895 – 1901  Over 200 women were operated on by  hysterectomies, clitorectomies and more • Doctors shared the belief that women were much more emotional than men o Mamery glands and uterus o These were the root cause of hysteria • Bucke saw women as susceptible to hysteria • Buck believed: o The interrelation of organs o Utero-ovarian disease were capable of causing insanity o Women were more vulnerable than men because of their reproductive system o The operations at the London Hospital lead to women’s physical and emotional recovery o Treatment of the physical disorder would lead to emotional improvement • In 1896 Annual Report o Pelvic disease is not a rare disease in mental alienation in women o 96% suffer from disease of the uterus o Link female insanity to female complaint • Historians note that the reports that Bucke send to the inspector with the amazing rates of curing of hysteria don’t go along with the records of _______ because those show that women did not get better o Remember that we are talking about a relatively NEW field. Was not regarded as legitimate medicine. They were dealing with the mind. Doctors were ingrained with the idea that there was always this physical problem linked to whatever is wrong with the mind. • For Bucke – claiming success in curing illness comes to the success of claiming psychiatry as a real medical field • Early professionalization of psyhchiatry came with the desire to change the name of procedure and asylums o Bucke and his colleaues were aware that the asylum. But  Medieval connotation of asylum  London Asylum  Ontario hospital for the Insane  Wanted to be understood as a doctor • Sexology were doing the same thing as psychiatry – fighting for the professional recognition of their expertise o Key to keep in mind – shows the way we can see sexuality; not pre-existing; deliberate construction made by doctors by which they claimed they had expertise. • Some viewed the work of Bucke as highly improper o The inspector of asylums was against the surgeries for this reason:  In response to a complain against Bucke. • Bucke sought public support – especially women o National Female Council • It was the middle class hysterical women who was viewed as having a ‘sexuality’ they developed it as a means of marking themselves off • Middle class background important for other reasons o Some chose the asylum as a retreat o Not as odd if you were married, middle class women and exhausted by childbirth and marriage. o Where did you go to escape to hold onto respectability o In terms of the White Life for Two – where did you go? o Private institutions – 1893  Guelph; Homewood Retreat; did similar things than in the asylum but there was money  Called a retreat/ sanitarium C. The ‘Case History’ as Power/Knowledge • Case history as a distinct form of statistics • A distinct form of power knowledge • Whatever Miss’s H condition it was labeled hysteria because that was the way the doctor wrote it o All of those are aspects of the case history • Medical texts or medical discourse (Fouceault) had very real impacts on women’s lives • In the process (the dynamic of case history – the doctor has assigned you an identity -> the hysterical women o The identity is supposed to let people know everything they need about you o Women that got assigned this case history/ identity were told by doctors that everything that needed to be known was done with the title of hysterical woman • once the identity is pinned on you, you could be subject to very real repercussions • Had cultural ramification – solidified the links between womens sexuality and female flackiness/ fraility o E.g. Sir AndrewMacPhail  “To a certain point owmen is exceptionally obedient…in reality she puts on a superficial shamself but is incapable of…shameself = assertiveness, capable candour in speech – he believed to be a desire to be male…she covers this up with feminity”  Spoke about women voting and bicycling (women should avoid cycling because could damae their ‘goods’ and lead to hysteria o Suffragettes – cycling was an issue II. Sexual Danger A. Changing Meanings of Sexual Assault i. Family Honour/Father’s ‘Damaged Property’/Women’s Shame • Today we understand sexual assault as an attack on bodily integrity • Used to more or less a crime understood as a violation against a women’s father or family • Studying the changes in sexualy meaning • St-Michel: ‘If he wanted to get her he could just screw her” o New France o Viewed not as a potential threat on marie-Susanne herself but on her whole family o The response is telling that Marie-Susanne’s family head to the Inn and attack the Inn keeper to avenge their families honour o But late 19 c. rape is still considered a crime against the women’s father – the father’s property had been damaged o Was a source of shame not of indignation of violation of personhood • “I ought to be ashamed of my action” – all this is in the book Improper Advances • Throught • Their sexual behaviour and character that was scrutinized B. “Assault Upon a Girl”: Mary in Kingston, 1908 • The most pitiful stories • 17 year old Mary met a man named Tom Mackenzie • Told him she was without a home • He gave her 50cents to get food • She was later victim of sexual assault • She was a factory labourer at the cotton mill • And was a cook as well a restaurant on Ontario street • Stayed in multiple places • But finally rented a room on Queen Street • Once she could no longer afford the room she liv
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