The current illegitimate mental disorder paradigm, where labels are brazenly called diagnoses and life problems are tackled with chemicals, is a perfect handmaiden to male privilege and yet another manipulation in the age-old effort to gaslight women.
It is ever so much better for men who seek to greedily hold onto power and to subjugate women to have women believe that they are ill, rather than to have those women notice the extent to which their distress is caused by men. When an event like rape causes lifelong psychological pain, it is ever so much better for privileged men to call the matter a medical one, provide the woman with a PTSD label, supply her with chemicals, and skip investigating the rape. In the current mental disorder model, there are no rapists and no victims of rape. There are only mentally-disordered women.
We can easily trace the history of this manipulation, no doubt from the dawn of time but most clearly from Victorian Vienna and Freud’s “hysterical” women. The secret pact among smug, self-aggrandizing men has been to make sure that a system is in place that provides cover for a mental health male power grab. The basic idea is brilliant and simple. Let’s make sure that people, when they experience something like despair, take it to be a personal medical issue. Let’s make sure that they do not wonder if their despair is perhaps being caused by being stuffed in a corner and forced to wash floors. Let us absolutely make sure that it never crosses their mind to laugh loudly at those experts who claim that they are ill rather than oppressed.
The way this is currently said is “the prevalence of mental disorders is lower in men,” making it once again sound like women are weaker and sicker. Of course, the “prevalence of mental disorders is lower in men,” just as a person with his boot on another person’s neck is rather happier than the person in the dirt. Who is more likely to experience “clinical depression,” the one stomping or the one stomped? Who is frolicking more, the Nazi chasing the Jew through the forest or the Jew? If you dare label that Jew with an anxiety disorder or a mood disorder or any other label that takes your eye of the Nazi chasing him, you are colluding with the makers of horror.
Ah, you will say, but there are female psychiatrists, female psychologists, female psychotherapists, female social workers, females everywhere in the system who couldn’t possibly stand for all this gaslighting, if that was what was really going on. But that would be very naïve of you—or just a ploy on your part. People are people: selfish, self-interested, venal, and all the rest. Women included. If you train as a mental health professional, slowly but surely you will likely become invested in flag-waving for your profession, whether or not it is a fair or decent profession.
Suddenly the woman who comes to see you, who is being bullied by her husband, becomes your “patient,” just by virtue of the language you use. It is as if there were some magical process in play where, by virtue of them crossing the threshold of your office, patients get produced out of thin air. Whether you are a man or a woman, you might rather enjoy and profit from this magical process, one created whole cloth out of how language operates.
Who wouldn’t like to think of himself or herself as practicing medicine? What fun to be able to say to the person sitting across from you—and whether or not you have spent one second in medical school—“I’m sorry to have to tell you that you meet all the criteria for clinical depression. Yes, just as you suspected, you do have a mental disease.” How utterly easy, convenient, and charming. And the next thing out of your mouth? “And, you know, we have a pill for that!”
The way that the psychiatric mental disorder model functions is a feminist issue. It is designed on purpose by identical men sitting around identical tables to provide all sorts of useful labels to make women think that they are sick, ill, diseased, broken, and, as corollaries, incompetent, unreliable, suspect, and scary. When a psychiatrist spends seven minutes with you, runs down a checklist, and announces a diagnosis, that is a feminist issue—and an injustice. It is a perfect example of how power operates to say with a straight face that one person is entitled to proclaim to another person that she has a mental disorder by virtue of running down a male-choreographed checklist designed to label, control, and disempower. If you wanted one good definition of power, this would be one.
In response to the objection, “advice like this will prevent millions of women from getting the medical attention they require,” let me just set that paternalistic objection aside. A woman looking for justice, a chance, her place, her rights, and everything else that a human being wants and deserves does not have a medical condition when she is systematically and relentlessly thwarted by men. She may be rightly outraged—but that isn’t a medical condition. She may be tremendously frustrated—but that isn’t a medical condition. Her heart may ache—but that isn’t a medical condition.
Let us try a simple experiment—let all human beings be treated as they ought to be treated—and let’s see how many “mental disorders” evaporate into thin air. Would all despair vanish? Of course not. Would children still not die young, causing irreparable grief? Of course, they would. But would it surprise you if 36% or 59% or 81% of all “mental disorders” disappeared, if everyone had a fair shake of it and a fair go at it? Right now, women are being gaslighted by psychiatry into believing they are sick when they are angry and diseased when they are outraged. Busting the mental disorder paradigm is a feminist issue.
I invite you to take a look at my latest book, Redesign Your Mind.