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In every mind, women have more chances to suffer from mental illness. Hence, discuss the notion of normativity within the issue of mental health care

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Men.
    1. Said to be stronger, and with intact intellectual capacities.
    2. The relation between men and mental illness.
  3. The reasons why society is more likely to associate mental illness to women.
    1. Old fashioned diagnoses.
    2. Different drugs treatments to cure women's mental illness.
  4. The second wave of women's liberation movement.
  5. Chesler and the idea that depression rather than aggression is the female response to disappointment.
  6. The social manipulation of the female body.
  7. Women suffering from anorexia.
  8. Conclusion.
  9. Bibliography.

In all societies, women have always been perceived as, physically but also mentally weaker than men. For a very long period, and even today in some parts of the world, women have not been considered as rational as men, but were rather seen as a ?permanently subversive force within the political order?. Men were the reason, women the passion. Thus in order to break women's unstable image, many feminists have worked on the ?mind/body? distinction of Descartes. Their aim was to explain to people that women were as capable as men, and that they had the same intellectual and mental capacities, as well as the same abilities than their male counterparts. In other words, they wanted to prove that the mind had no sex and that the body was only a transport system. Yet, when it comes to mental healthcare, statistics show that women have more chances to suffer from mental illness.

[...] These diseases are more common among women whose bodies are associated with a ?normative construction of femininity.?[32] Hence, social factors do play an important part in the explanation of anorexia with the ?culture of thinness and the concomitant prevalence of body dissatisfaction, dieting, bingeing and purging among women.?[33] Women are under pressure as they are always being associated with their body. They are not only brainwashed by the media but they know that physical norms about women ?shape the perception of potential lovers and employers.?[34] Similarly a good wife must remain sexually attractive for her husband. [...]


[...] Women have been ?conceptualized as being ruled by their bodies, bodies which were seen as unstable and inherently weak?.[11] Hence, during the 19th century, doctors followed the idea that women's reproduction system left them ?particularly vulnerable to mental and emotional disturbance.?[12] At that time as well, it was almost universally accepted that the brain was directly linked to the reproductive organs and therefore interference in either the brain or the reproductive organs would affect the whole system.?[13] Thus, women's madness was traditionally located in malfunctions or diseases of the reproductive organs. [...]


[...] Thus, the aim of this essay will be to discuss issues of normativity within mental healthcare by analysing the difference between men and women in this area. Unlike women who are considered as ?inherently mentally instable?[4], men are said to be stronger, and with intact intellectual capacities. Doctors are more likely to diagnose depression in women compared to men, even if they have the similar scores on standardised measures of depression or present with identical symptoms.[5] Indeed, it is generally admitted that men's weakness can only come from physical distortions. [...]

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