former diagnostic category describing a state of mind, one of unmanageable fear or emotional excesses
Hysteria (from the Greek hystera ("uterus") for centuries referred to a wide range of women's medical or psychiatric symptoms, but is currently used (pejoratively) for any exaggerated emotional display.
- ... "hysteria," it appears, is .. an epithet with which men have stigmatized women across the ages.
- ... the word itself has become so generically linked with the feminine in popular understanding that we need to specify male hysteria the way we specify women writers, whereas to say female hysteria sounds redundant.
- ... throughout the centuries doctors have sought to find other names for hysteria in men. As [French psychiatrist Lucien] Israel explains, "The hysteria diagnosis became for a man . . . the real injury, a sign of weakness, a castration in a word. To say to a man 'you are hysterical' became under these conditions a form of saying to him 'You are not a man.'"
- ... hysteria has been constructed as a perjorative term for femininity in a duality that relegated the more honorable masculine form to another category.
- Elaine Showalter in Hysteria Beyond Freud p 292
- Those who want the Government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide to avoid assassination... Alarm is one thing, and hysteria is another. Hysteria impels people to destroy the very thing they are struggling to preserve.
- This moment in time... anywhere you turn people are talking about how bad things are, how terrible it is...everybody is meeting hysteria with more hysteria... and it’s getting worse... We’re not supposed to match it or even get locked into resisting or pushing against it. We’re supposed to see this moment in time for what it is. We’re supposed to see through it and then transcend it. That is how you overcome hysteria.