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HYSTERIA — “The movie is a romantic comedy, and it kind of made my teeth hurt.” - Lynsey G
HYSTERIA Informant Media Directed by Tanya Wxler STARRING Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jonathan Pryce, Felicity Jones, Rupert Everett, Ashley Jensen, Sheridan Smith, Gemma Jones I heard about the film Hysteria last year, and I lost my shit. I’d read about the practice of treating women diagnosed with “hysteria” — the Victorian catch-all term for everything from headaches to lethargy to aggression in women — with hands-on stimulation to the vulva until they reached “paroxysm” years before, and I’d been astounded that this singular piece of history was largely unknown, even to my most sexually-educated friends. Let me restate: in Victorian England, male doctors manipulated women’s vulvas with their hands until they came as a medical procedure to help relieve the symptoms of “hysteria,” AKA sexual frustration. It was so unthinkable to the male establishment that women might have anything like needs in their crotches that this incredibly intimate procedure was thought of as not sexual. It was a treatment only, heavy breathing, moaning, and sweating notwithstanding. Doctors were having, obviously, a hard time meeting demand — after all, a man has only so many hands and hours in a day — and so the vibrator was invented as a doctor’s [...]