Hysteria is a psychological condition that displays uncontrolled outbursts of emotion and behaviors. The term, for the majority of history, more than 4,000 years, was regarded as a sex-selective disorder, affecting only women.
What were some of the outdated theories behind “female” hysteria? There was the uterus theory, which claimed the female sex organ was to be blamed for female problems like anxiety, insomnia, depression, irritability and fainting. There was also Sigmund Freud’s famous ‘Oedipal moment of recognition’ theory, which stated that women experienced hysteria because they were unable to reconcile the loss of their (metaphoric) penis.
With that introduction in mind, I’d like to share with you Hysteria (2011). The film, Official Selection for both Toronto and Tribeca Film Festival, looked at a time in history when female hysteria was a common medical diagnosis, and the prevalence of the condition also led to the creation of vibrators.