Movie and TV actress Maggie Gyllenhaal had lots of fun this week embarrassing male TV talk show hosts when discussing vibrators; that’s the main subject in her new film “Hysteria.”
Maggie Gyllenhaal explained how vibrators is the premise of her new film about “female hysteria” during a June 14 appearance on ABC TV’s “The View,” as a once-common medical diagnosis during the 19th century when women had symptoms including “nervousness, insomnia, exhaustion, depression, cramps and sexual frustration.” In turn, Gyllenhaal told The View that she’s been having fun making the rounds of the late night TV talk show circuit this week where mostly male hosts have blushed and “acted embarrassed." At the same time, Gyllenhaal explained how the main focus of the film “Hysteria” is the the invention of the vibrator that resulted from doctors trying to manage this “hysteria” by “massaging the genital area and inducing orgasms for these once up-tight hysterical women," added a marketing overview of the film. Thus, Gyllenhaal, who stars in this period movie, explained that the film’s title refers to this once-common medical diagnosis of “female hysteria.”
Hysteria is a 19th century period film about vibrators
In addition to Gyllenhaal, “Hysteria” features Felicity Jones, Rupert Everett and Hugh Dancy. The film is set in the Victorian-era, and basically shows the medical management of hysteria that led to “the invention of the vibrator,” explained Gyllenhaal during TV talk shows this week.
Also, the actress told TV talk shows that the subject matter is also “a health issue” for women due, in part, to the deep physical and mental anguish many women still feel about not having proper orgasms; while the invention of the vibrator helped them overcome those health woes.
Gyllenhaal, 34, is married to actor Peter Sarsgaard, and they recently welcomed their second child in April. She is also the older sister of actor Jake Gyllenhaal.
Hysteria in women discontinued as a medial term in 1952
Gyllenhaal also told TV talk show this week – including her June 14 appearance on ABC’s “The View,” that featured non-stop jokes about women using vibrators – that “hysteria” was a recognized health problem for women that was common in America until 60 years ago, in 1952, when she said the American Psychiatric Association discontinued using the term for women frustrated due to having little or no orgasms.
Of course, the subject of female and male orgasms has always been a popular topic on TV talk shows, explained Barbara Walters during this June 14 airing of The View.
In turn, Gyllenhaal told Walters that she’s surprised how the subject of this new film “Hysteria” – that opens in theaters nationwide this week – has gotten all these late night men on TV talk shows “all flustered.”
For instance, she explained that if you want to make men uncomfortable - just mention vibrators. In turn, the look on the face of "Late Night" TV host Jimmy Fallon was priceless when Gyllenhaal said the word "vibrator and orgasms" in one sentence, when explaining her new film role.
At the same time, the actress got a like reaction during a June 14 appearance on “The Daily Show,” when Gyllenhaal seemed to have lots of fun talking about the “O” word (orgasm) and the “V” word (vibrator) with a red-faced Jon Stewart who had trouble joking about this new film “Hysteria.”
In turn, the actress noted how the film’s subject of sexually frustrated women is often discussed on daytime TV talk shows. So who really cares?
The serious health side of female “hysteria”
While there’s been lots of laughs on both daytime and nighttime TV talk shows this week with Gyllenhaal expressing her views on why women seem to enjoy their vibrators, a recent book review in the New York Times explains this idea of female “hysteria” as a serious women’s health subject due to its impact on both the physical and mental health of all women; since sexuality plays a major health role in women’s health.
In turn, the Times book review of “The Technology of Orgasm: “Hysteria,” the Vibrator, and Women’s Sexual Satisfaction” by Rachel P. Maines explains the medical side of this subject that’s now a new movie.
For instance, Marines writes how when “the vibrator emerged as an electromechanical medical instrument at the end of the nineteenth century, it evolved from previous massage technologies in response to demand from physicians for more rapid and efficient physical therapies, particularly for hysteria. Massage to orgasm of female patients was a staple of medical practice among some (but certainly not all) Western physicians from the time of Hippocrates until the 1920s, and mechanizing this task significantly increased the number of patients a doctor could treat in a working day. Doctors were a male elite with control of their working lives and instrumentation, and efficiency gains in the medical production of orgasm for payment could increase income. Physicians had both the means and the motivation to mechanize.”
The author then explains how “the demand for treatment had two sources: the proscription on female masturbation as unchaste and possibly unhealthful, and the failure of androcentrically defined sexuality to produce orgasm regularly in most women. Thus the symptoms defined until 1952 as hysteria, as well as some of those associated with chlorosis and neurasthenia, may have been at least in large part the normal functioning of women's sexuality in a patriarchal social context that did not recognize its essential difference from male sexuality, with its traditional emphasis on coitus. The historically androcentric and pro-natal model of healthy, "normal" heterosexuality is penetration of the vagina by the penis to male orgasm. It has been clinically noted in many periods that this behavioral framework fails to consistently produce orgasm in more than half of the female population.”
However, Movie and TV actress Maggie Gyllenhaal explained during TV talk shows this week that “Hysteria” is also a “romantic comedy,” with the actress saying the only big surprise - with the revelations that this film provides - is how men have been so embarrassed to talk about women and vibrators during TV shows she’s visited to help market this new film “Hysteria.”
Image source of the movie poster for Maggie Gyllenhaal in the new film “Hysteria,” that focuses on the invention of the vibrator as a means to end women’s “hysteria” back in the 19th century. Photo courtesy Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hysteria_(2011_film)