The cure for all diseases: female circumcision in Victorian England

The cure for all diseases: female circumcision in Victorian England

Categories: Health and Medicine | History

"The state of excitation, which occurred very often after the operation is completely gone, the wound completely healed, the condition of the patient good. Sexual arousal it is also not concerned about" — so wrote the gynecologist Gustav Braun in 1865, after amputated his patient's clitoris and labia. If you think that female circumcision — the tradition of a distant uncivilized world, you are wrong.The cure for all diseases: female circumcision in Victorian England

For many centuries men have tried to control female sexuality, divided women from their own bodies, forcing them to think that their libido is something alien, dangerous and vile. Forcing to be ashamed of their genitals.

Writes medical historian Lesley Hall, in the nineteenth century "because of the lack of attention paid to the clitoris in the medical literature, only a few doctors could reliably find it."

And it would be better not found. So how exactly at this time began to appear the new layer emancipated women, who longed to explore his body and receive from it pleasure, it took more stringent measures to control women's sexuality.

The cure for all diseases: female circumcision in Victorian England

So according to the doctors of that era looked the effects of Masturbation during the year: in the picture on the right girl, 15 years old, and she glowing with health, the picture on the left is the last stage of the disease.

Female circumcision. To 1860-th years the clitoris was accused that he is guilty of moral turpitude women. They become prone to hysteria and mental disorders and can even behave in "unfeminine". Yes, the doctors in those days believed that because of the clitoris women are "unfeminine". That is "shying away from the conjugal debt," "away from her husband", show aggression and even unable to answer taunts her husband.

Enemy of the clitoris

Isaac Baker Brown. That was the name of the person in whose publications first appeared mentioning the amputation of the clitoris. He was a respected member of the London medical establishment. He was born in 1812, studied in the Surgical College, operated ovarian cysts and tumors. And in 1858 he established his own clinic in Notting hill. He called it poetic and intricate, "the London surgical home for the reception of ladies and respectable ladies who suffer from diseases that could be cured surgically". Isn't it flowery? However, sometimes he put it shorter. Just say "operation".

The cure for all diseases: female circumcision in Victorian England

As the treatment in those days, the doctors offered to put leeches on the outer labia, to take cold baths and diet. Brown went further: he believed that the solution to the problem lies in the "operation". And he had many followers.

The cure for "bad wives"

Baker brown was a man of ambitious. He claimed that with his method he cures diseases that were previously incurable. Calling his method "humane and effective", the surgeon was convinced that female circumcision can be an escape from catalepsy, seizures, hysteria, dementia and mania. In his works he gives the example of women, which, according to her husband, "attacked him and scratched his skin like a tiger". After the removal of the clitoris she "was in all respects a good wife".

The cure for all diseases: female circumcision in Victorian England

Refusal panacea

Of course, Baker brown did not consider his actions "barbaric," he sincerely believed that brings good. But in the medical community settled doubts about the effectiveness and ethics of this procedure, and in addition, in violation of certain legal technicalities.

In 1866, Baker brown began to receive negative responses to their actions. Other professionals began to ask questions regarding the effectiveness of an unusual method. In one of the articles The Times said that the Baker brown is taken for treatment of women who suffer from mental illness. And clinic surgeon was not an appropriate license, that is, officially he could not take up cases of mental illness.

In addition, many have argued that the methods of Baker brown's unethical because he doesn't always get approval. No, of course not the consent of the patients, and the consent of their husbands or fathers.

The cure for all diseases: female circumcision in Victorian England

Charcot in his lecture on neurology.

Female sexuality

But with the death of Baker brown's doctors have not changed the attitude towards female Masturbation. Gynecologist William Hector in his treatise of 1875 wrote that "Masturbation can be described as habitual intemperance, trigger the disease". He believed that "as a General rule, a modest woman seldom desires any sexual gratification for herself. She resigned to the arms of your husband, but mainly in order to satisfy his Married woman does not want to be put on a par with his mistress".

It will be many years before female sexuality will find their own "voice", and women will start to learn not to feel ashamed of his body.

Keywords: The Victorian era | Medicine | Circumcision | Sexuality | Surgery

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