Medicating And Oversimplifying Women’s “Moodiness”

I wanted to like Julie Holland’s opinion pieceon “Medicating Women’s Feelings” in the New York Times yestesday, but I couldn’t. Her first sentence in a piece about the dangers of prescribing women medications for normal feelings is “Women are moody.” By and large she explains important issues surrounding “women’s emotionality” and the how we pathologize it but she leaves out a large chunk.

What she fails to mention is that our particular biological expressions of fears and desires (not across the board as the same, by any means) are not any more moody than men’s particular manifestations of moodiness. Just because we may cry after something troubling, doesn’t mean a man won’t punch a wall (and maybe a woman will punch a wall, actually that sounds fun and I may try it) for a similar feeling. She is severely limited in describing the ways in which women express themselves and leaves out how men express themselves by not mentioning them altogether. Perhaps we could see how our society rewards the particularly masculine expressions of anger and frustration to elucidate this disparity.

It all just seems so oversimplified. American men AND women are greatly overmedicated in the United States, this I do not deny. But it is also possible that many of us do in fact suffer from anxiety and depression in very real clinical ways and it seems as though we need to trust women more to get the help they need. I think this issue has many more facets than Holland cared to venture into.

One more thing she left out: while biological women of menstruating age (she leaves out transgendered and women who have stopped menstruating) may feel things more intensely leading up to the days before menstruation, let us not forget that men are often feeling things very strongly as well, with far more dire consequences as evidenced by the amount of violence committed at the hands of men every day. If that isn’t moodiness then I don’t know what is. Perhaps if you want to make an argument about women being overprescribed because of their emotions, we should look at who isn’t being prescribed for their tangibly dangerous moods that wreak havoc on the world around us (don’t worry #notallmen). I just don’t want to ever read another article that starts out with “Women are moody” again. Women and men are moody. Human beings are moody. There is a lot going on up there in our brains and it’s time that both genders are seen as moody mother@#$%ers.

[NY Times]