Should Elaine Showalter, a feminist who is not a qualified as a psychiatrist be putting forward psychiatric reasons for this

I have a problem is Elaine Showalter a feminist or or has she now become a armature psychiatrist ? At one time women were seen as somehow lesser ,weaker than men prone to hysteria and emotionally unbalanced, attitudes to women which many feminists fought long and hard to overturn.
It now seems that Elain has abandoned feminism and joined Simon wessely a man, a psychiatrist in promoting ideas which seem outdated old fashioned belonging to the past, a time when men slapped women in films for being hysterical or out of there minds . Her explanation here does not empower women or in this case girls and goes against femanism promoting an idea that women not just these girls could become mentally unbalanced or hysterical at any moment and for no aparent reson . Simon himself has been involved in a lot of shady work in the UK some of which has damaged peoples lives .Simon wessely is popular but often what he says in articles and reserch is not nice more nasty and vendictive .As a psychiatrist he can claim anything such as hysteria and get away with it .



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    If you read the New York Times article that references Elain Showalter and Le Roy, New York you will see that she is actually arguing for a similar argument to your own and not espousing or diagnosing anyone, she is merely talking about the phenomenon of “hysterical epidemics.” It seems to me that in her book “Hystories” she is explaining the histoty and traditions of women being “hysterical,” she is in no way espousing that viewpoint, merely analyzing it in historical contexts. The New York Times article says that in that book she says there are three things that a “hysterical epidemic” requires. She is talking about it in a social, cultural context, not a clinical one. She states that those three things are: “physician-enthusiasts and theorists; unhappy and vulnerable patients; and supportive cultural environments”. The author of the article is merely including her ideas about hysteria into an analysis of what is happening in Le Roy, New York. 

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      I totaly disagree this book is being taken seriously by psychiatrists as well as the public not only is she involved in calling women Hysterical she has worked on gulf war syndrome syndrome .I would say she is very much active as a psychiatrist involved with psychiatrists at the very center of psychiatric reaserch not just talking about it in a social, cultural context, or a clinical one
      as a bystander
      Elizabeth Sigmund

      Sunday 4 May 1997
      Letter: Try a Gulf War chemical cocktail yourself
      I should like to issue a challenge to Elaine Showalter who has a “theory” concerning, among other things, the cause of Gulf War Syndrome (“It’s all in the mind, bud”, 27 April). Will she agree to wear a flea- collar containing an organophosphate insecticide named diazinon for two weeks, as US troops did; allow her bedding to be sprayed every other day with a similar insecticide; and take NAPs tablets (containing pyridostigmine bromide which has now been admitted to enhance the effect of OPs), as thousands of UK and US troops did, for the same period? These chemicals were declared “safe” for such use by the manufacturers, so there could be no question of exposing Ms Showalter to life-threatening levels of these substances.

      It is interesting that Ms Showalter spends three months each year at the Wellcome Institute in London. We have evidence connecting the research being carried out by Simon Wessely and Anthony David with the Wellcome; both these men have a) suggested that the cause of GWS is psychosomatic, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and b) received large chunks of funding from the Pentagon.

      The UK Benefits Agency is currently paying out Industrial Injury Benefit to increasing numbers of farmworkers who have a history of occupational low-level exposure to OPs, as it is accepted by the DSS (in leaflet N12) that such exposure can cause long-term ill-health to such categories as farmworkers, growers and pest control officers.

      Elizabeth Sigmund

      OP Information Network



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