This article at Ms Magazine “How a Nonexistent Study is Predicting the Future and Ignoring Women” got me thinking; I admit I am too fucked of brain (I dunno the cutesy ‘brain fog’ seems to be too generous in describing the intellectual impairments depression can foist upon you) right now to read it all thoroughly but here are my hazy thoughts.
Why is it when women consistently suffer higher rates of depression do we never, or very rarely, get an in depth analysis of why this may be beyond ‘ohh hormones eh?’ yet as the article points out, when male depression is an issue the societal causes are often looked at in some depth.
Now I make no claims to even attmept some sort of scientific analaysis and reserach here but my experiences as a depressed woman would suggest that; of course women’s role in society plays a part. When your gender is constantly seen as second rate, when objectifaction and exploitation of women is everywhere from posters for lap dancing clubs on the streets to music videos glorifiying disembodied female body parts gyrating for the pleasure of menfolk and magazines offering boob jobs for the ‘lucky’ girlfried of a reader alongside the casual misogyny masquerading as witty journalism. When we are told that our bodies are not good enough, that we must be thinner, younger, more tanned, paler, more pert. When the majority of women surveyed say they hate their bodies. When we are gaining equality in the workplace yet still lumbered with the vast majority of domestic chores and childcare, when our careers are sacrified if we should have children yet the father of the very same kid can climb up the ladder with ease. When you stand up against this and voice objections you are insulted with vitorol and angry spleen ‘you’re just a prude’ for wanting to be seen as a human being and not an object for the relief of male sexual tension, your anger is based on jealousy as you’re not ‘pretty enough’, for daring to step outside the idealised role of sweet , quiet non complaining woman (or should that be ‘girl’?) . The supposedly discredited notion of the ‘hysterical’ woman making a fuss over nothing, the insinuation we are attention seeking, that pretty much everything can be blamed on ‘hormones’ (belive me there is a HUGE difference in PMS and feeling suicidal). All these things may seem trivial, but these issues are still there and the constant drip feed of these ideas that linger in the shadows of our culture is posionous.
So really is it any wonder women get depressed in greater numbers?
This quote from the article says it all:
“I cannot help noticing that what they truly seem to argue is that having certain female life experiences might make anyone more depressed”
Depression is a complicated illness and I belive it has some biological chemical cause but the world we live in does affect our mental state, and in this world it seems women are far from the equality we crave. The fact that it is pretty normalised for women to hate their bodies and constantly feel they are not good enough cannot possibly be benign.
Edit: I am pleased to see that Mind are aware of this issue, though my ranting is mainly aimed at less aware outlets such as the dreaded mainstream media (who are wonderful in dealing with mental health generally, ha!)