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Women, Medicine, and the Vibrator Play

University of Virginia. School of Medicine
Online; Online Video; Video
Filmed Lectures
Viewing women through an androcentric lens, Western medicine from Hippocrates and Galen forward explained women's behavior from headache to "troublemaking" as unhealthful signs of "hysteria," a suffocating madness believed due to a wandering womb. Centuries, even millennia before Freud asked, "What do women really want?" medical men assumed they knew what women with hysteria needed, and that remedy was pelvic massage to "paroxysm." By the late nineteenth century, with manufacture of electrified massage instruments, doctors could deliver said therapy more quickly and efficiently. This medical treatment, the Victorian social milieu in which it was prevalent (and popular), and (mis)understandings of female sexuality, intimacy, and inequality are the subjects of young American playwright Sarah Ruhl's comedy, In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play (2010). This Medical Center Hour's panelists explore a rich mix of ideas having to do with women, medicine, and The Vibrator Play. Offered in conjunction with LiveArts' production of "In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play", 1-23 March
University of Virginia. School of Medicine
Childress, Marcia Day
Talbot, Anne-Laure
Hamberg, Julie
Clayton, Anita H.
Booth, Alison
Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
Medical Center Hour
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The speakers in this presentation have given the University of Virginia permission to make it freely accessible online for all audiences to view. To request permission to reproduce, republish, and/or repost this presentation please contact the Historical Collections and Services Department of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library at the University of Virginia.
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