To Believe in Women
Between the years of 1850-1900, women were placed in mental institutions for behaving in ways that male society did not agree with. Women during this time period had minimal rights, even concerning their own mental health. Did these women truly need to be admitted to asylums, or was their admittance an example of their lack of power to control their own lives?
- Source: University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
A short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman that is regarded as an important early work of American feminist literature for its illustration of the attitudes towards mental and physical health of women in the 19th century.
- Source: National Library of Medicine
A short film by Kate Novack which re-examines noted Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis Freud through the lens of his female subject.
- Source: The New York Times
According to 19th century psychiatry, female independence was madness. Elizabeth Packard, a housewife and mother of six, had simply stood up to her domineering husband. As she would record in a defense of her sanity that she wrote while in the asylum, she’d insisted, “I, though a woman, have just as good a right to my opinion as my husband has to his”—but assertive women in those days were swiftly dispatched to asylums, institutionalized for causing “the greatest annoyances to the family” and for defying “all domestic control.”
- Source: TIME
The phrase “to gaslight” refers to the act of undermining another person’s reality by denying facts, the environment around them, or their feelings. Targets of gaslighting are manipulated into turning against their cognition, their emotions, and who they fundamentally are as people. Learn how to spot it and act against it here.
- Source: VOX
Are you a woman who cares about following her dreams, not toeing the line? Do you speak your mind? Society always throws up a lot of roadblocks for women who want to break from oppressive gender norms — but women in the 19th century who spoke up and pushed back against sexist oppression faced a distinctly awful possibility: being locked away in mental institutions.
- Source: Bustle