Women and their crazy diseases, part one

A treatise on the diseases of females, by William Dewees. This was published in 1854, so you know it’s just chock-full of misinformation.

Dewees, on the title page, identifies himself as late professor of midwifery and a current member of the Royal Medical Society of Denmark, but also is a member of the American Philosophical Society. What, I ask you, has that to do with anything?

Author’s advertisement. He makes no apology for presenting this information to the public, so you know it’s gonna be good!

Some highlights from the table of contents: deranged menstruation, spitting of frothy saliva, irritable uterus, milk leg, and, of course, hysteria.

Chapter 1- Of the Peculiarities of the Female System. God made men and women different, in case you weren’t aware. Women’s bodies are weird! And since she’s different and weird, she has weird diseases that men cannot get because they don’t have the same organs.

Now we shall examine some of the differences between female and male. Women are generally shorter and smaller. And, apparently, we have smaller brains! We also have a difference of our muscular system, which leaves us more open to convulsive and spasmodic diseases. Our nerves are delicate and easily frayed, so obviously, we cannot understand business or other manly endeavors.

Of course, we women also have the uterine system, which is our most important, as that particular organ exerts a force upon us more powerful than anything else, according to ancient medicine. However, Dewees refutes this idea, because apparently, science knows better now.

And yet, he cites a Mr. Fogo, with whom he does not agree, who states that the uterus is so passive, and of so little consequence, that it could be removed from the body without any suffering of the rest of the system. Did Fogo not know that that’s where the fetus is housed during gestation? That’s a bit frightening, even for this time period.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Women and their crazy diseases, part one

  1. Matthew Green

    Fun Fact: Women who suffer from hysteria can be cured with a revolutionary procedure called a hystericalrectomy.

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