“This… substance, the spermin, is carried to his central nerve system, to his spinal cord, his medulla oblongata, and his brain, and hammered into these by his strong young heart… He begins to act like a man; he begins to think like a man; he begins to do big things in a man’s way; he begins to make ambitious plans in a man’s way; and he is a man, every inch of him a man… there is a new light in his eye. This light is nothing more nor less than light from the kindling fire of manhood…
In this connection, it must be noted that some boys and young man seriously interfere with this natural process of developing from youth into manhood by the act of masturbation or self-abuse. If this act is begun before puberty, and continued at comparatively frequent intervals, say, three or four times a week, or daily, the youth might almost as well have no testicles during such period of self-abuse; and if persisted in during the years of puberty, he will, instead of developing into the hard-muscled, fiery-eyed, ambitious young man described above, develop into a flabby-muscled, namby-pamby, cowardly molly-coddle, lacking in initiative and will power.”
—Dr. Hall’s Sexual Knowledge
Ah! This is a return of my beloved scientific terms “namby-pamby” and “molly-coddle.” And as we’ve seen in the past, Dr. Hall has quite the fixation on what defines manhood and virility in all its sweaty-chested, broad-shouldered, heavy-breathing glory. Read into that what you will.
“Boarding-school life, city life, mental disturbances — these are the three fertile sources of disturbances in the sexual functions of girlhood.
No one rates at higher value than ourselves the training of the mind; but we do not hesitate a moment to urge that if perturbations of the functions become at all marked in a girl at school, she should be taken away. Better live at home in seeming idleness for a year than become a dead-weight, through constant ill-health, on her husband in after life.
So of the unwholesome excitement of a city life. There is a poison in crowds, and it acts in a thousand unseen ways. With the ceaseless noise, the broken sleep, the late hours, the impure air, and the nervous tension which all these produce, it requires no strength of imagination to perceive that the city is no place for the delicate girl.”
–The Physical Life of Woman
Wait a minute… young girls are exposed to crowds? Impure air? THINKING??
Good heavens, what next!?
Ah, the days of Jayne Mansfield, Tura Satana, and other voluptuous broads… back when the media-as-Jewish-grandmother begged you to eat, for heaven’s sake EAT something. Check out these two ads promoting weight gain — sort of a Charles Atlas for the ladies.
That’s right – thousands of sex-appealing curves. Start counting, boys.
“My, you’ve filled out at an unhealthy rate! Would you like to be my steady?”
(Side note: What in good heavens are my friends trying to tell me? Both Gretchen and Anne sent me these ads within days of each other. For which I thank them. But still.)
On Precautions During the Monthly Changes:
“The advantages of rest cannot be overestimated. A striking example of how it occurs to our mind. Most readers are aware how toilsome are the lives of the Indian women among our Western tribes, and also how singularly easy and almost painless is their child-bearing. The pangs of travail are almost unknown to them. The cause of this has puzzled even physicians. We can tell them. It is because it is an inviolable, a sacred rule among all those tribes, for the woman, when having her monthly sickness, to drop all work, absent herself from the lodge, and remain in perfect rest as long as the discharge continues.”
–The Physical Life of Woman
Years of toil + being nonwhite = nature’s own epidural. Scientific fact!
Mother Jones posted this excellent timeline history of female hysteria and the, ahem, interesting contraptions used to treat it.
Personally, I would love to have a Vigor’s Horse-Action Saddle at home to help, uh, prevent stagnation of the liver. (It is, after all, endorsed by no other than the Princess of Wales!)
(Thanks to Phineas for the tip!)
It’s been very busy at Hersteria HQ – we recently moved to a new house (yes, again) and are in the process of emptying a house that we sort of inherited. That means going through 50+ years of a family’s belongings, which, let me tell you, means a lot of nicotine-stained tchotchkes.
But my housework has not all been for naught! For instance, this amazing, baffling – and amazingly baffling – promotional item from Midol.
Personally, I know a box cutter would certainly help when I’m mired in the PMS crazies. File this under: Shark Week Shiv.
The Six Stages of Mending a Face
(Start upper left, going clockwise)
1. Attach poodle to head
2. Carefully remove eyeball
3. Wail mournfully about state of breast tissue
4. Refrain from biting mirror image
5. Wipe detached kitten paw across cheeks.
6. Success! You look fabulous. Now put grab that skull and go out on the town!
(Image via Monk Lounge. Thanks to Phineas for the find!)