A B.C. broadcaster is trying to repurpose the word ‘hysterical’ after it was used during provincial COVID-19 briefings to describe those concerned about the pandemic’s spread in schools.
Tamara Taggart, in partnership with Calgary clothing company Madame Premier, is offering women a chance to broadcast the word in stylized letters on a T-shirt or tote bag.
The clothes “take back the word hysterical from those who use it against us,” said company founder Sarah Elder-Chamanera.
In recent months, health officials have been scrutinized for their lack of transparency in informing parents about COVID-19 exposures and outbreaks in schools across B.C., with some referring to those concerns as hysterical.
The #HystericalWomen initiative with @tamarataggart & @madamepremier ensures we can continue to staff our crisis line to be able to meet the needs of callers. We support women through our support workers, counsellors, legal advocates and housing advocates. https://t.co/pAra4kdqgK— BWSS (@EndingViolence) January 25, 2021
Historically, “hysterical” has been used to describe a neurosis once thought to affect only women in 2000-1001 BC with symptoms ranging from anxiety, irritability, and nervousness.
It was removed from the U.S. lexicon of mental disorders, informally known as the DSM, in 1980.
Taggart maintains that characterizing community concerns about school safety as “hysterical” is, in fact, sexist.
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