Women and Madness

6 Jul

The fundamental conflicts in human life are not between competing ideas – one of which is true and the other false, but rather between those that hold power and use it to oppress others, and those who are oppressed by power and seek to free themselves of it.

Witches and mentally ill patients are actually created through the social interaction of oppressors and oppressed. If the observer sympathizes with the oppressor, then the witches are “mad.” If the observer sympathizes with the victim, then the oppressor is “mad.” Both explanations bypass, conceal, excuse and explain away the terrifyingly simple but all important fact of man’s inhumanity to man . . . the image of the knight in armor, the symbol of mobility, and of the black witch as a symbol of depravity embodies the sexocidal hatred of women . . . [for the] knight is always male [and the] witch is always female in all the fairy tales and mythologies of (medieval and modern) times.

There can be no abuses in institutional psychiatry because institutional psychiatry, by definition, is an abuse.

Social oppression in any form, and its manifestations are varied, among them being . . . poverty . . . racial, religious or sexual discrimination . . . must therefore be regarded as prime determinants of direct communication of all kinds (e.g. hysteria).

Thomas Szazs

 

Women and Madness,  Phyllis Chesler Ph.D (Doubleday & Company, Inc, Garden City, New York (c) 1972) p. 27

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