Throughout history, there have been some very disturbing beliefs about womankind, specifically concerning the way their bodies work.
In the Victorian Era, highly esteemed thinkers in science and medicine built upon existing prejudices and published outlandish “facts” about female anatomy.
Thank goodness most have been disproven, but some still linger on.
Take a look…
10. You Wouldn’t Say A Woman Had A Big Mouth Back Then
Ever heard the phrase, “women have big mouths?” It’s a modern term that refers to women being bigger talkers than men.
Women didn’t have big mouths back in Aristotle’s day. They were to be seen and not heard, but they also were thought to have smaller mouths–literally.
Even though Aristotle was a scientist, he drew the odd conclusion that women have fewer teeth than men because they are naturally inferior to men.
9. Women Had Wombs That Went For Walks
Around 430 BC, a man named Hippocrates coined the medical term “hysteria.”
Any time a woman was brought in for care because of mental illness, the diagnosis would be “wandering womb” also known as “hysteria.”
The definition of hysteria: when a woman’s uterus moves as a parasite around her body, throwing her into fits.
Speaking of wombs, #7 is sure to offend you.
8. “Unclean” “Unclean”
Since the beginning of our knowledge of women in society, we’ve seen how they’ve been branded outcasts for things that are supposed to be natural.
The book of Leviticus in the Bible states that when a woman is on her period she has to yell out “unclean” when approached, lest she and the person to approach her be defiled and everything around them burned.
We still see these kinds of practices today. In places like Africa, women are often sent to isolated huts until their menstruation has stopped.
7. Pursuing Knowledge Meant Giving Up Your Right To Be A Mother
Harvard professor Edward H. Clark wrote a book called Sex in Education, or A Fair Chance For The Girls in which he claimed that educating women is a mistake that leads to irritability, which in turn leads to infertility.
Clark’s theories were debunked in 1885 by three women scholars. Go figure.
6. If You Use Tampons, You Are No Longer A Virgin
In the 1930s when Tampax was introduced, most young girls weren’t allowed to use them because their parents feared they would lose their virginity.
In the 1940s, articles had to be published regularly to assure parents that letting their daughters use tampons wouldn’t lead to loss of virginity.
#1 is proof that fear is still a dictator.
5. If You View Ugly Things While Pregnant, Your Child Will Be Deformed
In the 18th century, some people believed that looking upon ugly things while pregnant could cause their babies to be born with deformities.
Women would purposely avoid things such as visiting clowns at the circus and walking around in the inner city.
The belief: letting one’s imagination run wild will directly affect a growing child.
4. Self-Pleasure Meant Smaller Breasts
To masturbate in the Victoria Era in your adolescence meant to delay the developmental process of your breasts.
In The Science of a New Life, John Cowan wrote that “girls who have followed masturbating habits will show strong indications of it in the failure in their glandular development. Such persons are apt to be flat-breasted.”
Which is fine, because #2 on this list assures us we don’t need them anyways.
3. A Woman’s Period Could Put A Curse On Nature
Pliny “the Elder” was a Roman philosopher and naturalist who wrote about women’s bodies having amazing power over nature.
In an encyclopedia he wrote titled Natural History, he claimed that a woman on her period could curse plants to death around her and drive away storms approaching her.
Now that’s one myth that might not be so bad if ever proved.
2. Women Don’t Like Having Sex
In the Victorian Age, for a woman to express sexual need or desire meant to identify herself as low class.
Since the sexuality of women was so suppressed, some would have to go to the doctor to be induced into “paroxysm,” which is essentially an orgasm. This is the whole reason the vibrator had to be created.
Tell that story next time you’re at a party.
Now for the most ridiculous myth of them all…
1. You Can Only Get Pregnant If You Wanted It
Sadly, this myth isn’t ancient. Some in Congress still argue that rape victims can’t get pregnant because if a woman’s body doesn’t want sex, it won’t conceive, therefore, if a rape victim does end up pregnant, she wanted it.
This claim is still used in legal defense today. We’ll all be glad when it actually becomes a myth, because right now, it’s not.
We know you’re dumbfounded by the things you just learned. It’s crazy to read that these beliefs have been shared by entire societies and these thoughts that have been perpetuated for thousands of years.
We have new myths today of what it means to be female, and we’ll be fighting to debunk those as well.
If you find the myths discussed here to be insane, then share them with your friends so we can keep them what they are–non-factual judgments based upon a science called prejudice.
Share your thoughts with us and comment with other crazy myths you’ve heard along the way.
Thanks for reading!