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Women and Borderline Personality Disorder: Symptoms and Stories Paperback – December 1, 2000

1.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Wonderfully written.... This work should have enormous appeal." - -- Kenneth Gergen, author of Realities and Relationships

From the Back Cover

At the beginning of the twentieth century, "hysteria" as a medical or psychiatric diagnosis was primarily applied to women. In fact, the term itself comes from the Greek, meaning "wandering womb." We have since learned that this diagnosis had evolved from certain assumptions about women's social roles and mental characteristics, and is no long in use. The modern equivalent of hysteria, however, may be borderline personality disorder, defined as "a pervasive pattern of instability of self-image, interpersonal relationships, and mood, beginning in early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts." This diagnosis is applied to women so much more often that to men that feminists have begun to raise important questions about the social, cultural, and even the medical assumptions underlying this "illness." Women are said to be "unstable" when they may be trying to reconcile often contradictory and conflicting social expectations.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (December 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813528917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813528915
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 1.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,428,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By P. Cheatham on March 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
All the previous reviewers hated this book, and while I can see some of their points, I think they approach the book expecting it to be a "how to" guide for the disorder. It is definitely not. The author intends it to be a discussion of how the diagnosis originated and how these presupositions still guide, knowingly and unknowingly, the diagnosis's conceptualization. These are valid issues for acadamics (not nearly as dirty a word as what the first reviewer insinuates) as well as mental health clinicians. The diagnosis is not as definitive or helpful as what people think, and framing it in a more feminist light helps remove some of the pejorative connotations within the field.
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By A Customer on January 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have read a number of books on depression and Borderline Personality Disorder. This is by far the worst; it was all I could do to finish it. It is very technical, hard to read, and boring, repeating itself repeatedly :) I wouldn't recommend it - there are a lot of better books out there on the subject (like Lost in the Mirror).
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Format: Paperback
This book is not recommended for the average reader who just seeks information about borderline personality disorder. In fact, it is loaded with abstract erudition, it is hard to read, the information is often redundant,and it takes on a feminist approach in explaining the pathology.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The rating is somewhat misleading. This book deserves no stars at all.

This book is one of many unfortunate products of a small portion of the academic community that has isolated itself from an academic world generally dedicated to argument, reason, evidence, and truth. The book displays little evidence for a consideration, let alone a tolerance, for the truth, but in its stead offers a fantasy tale about a horrible illness that grips so many within our society.

As is so tiresomely typical of these sorts of texts, we are fed a weary history of old practices concerning mental illness (yes indeed, there was ignorance back then), with absolute ignorance concerning current research (please folks, get up to date), coupled with loose metaphoric fantasia substituting for any reasoned argument. To offer one example (a prominent one in the book), scattered references to a "flood" or a "torrent" of emotion taken from selected sources in the field is somehow translated into references to the menstrual cycle in women. The "somehow" is impossible to discern. I would not recommend readers to attempt to decipher any logical steps to the conclusion.

It is a sad fact that this comes out of academe. And it is harmful. People who have BPD or who are the loved ones of BPDs need information, not feminist fantasies. For any who wishes information I would recommend "Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified," by Robert Friedel.

For the record, I am an academic in the field of Philosophy, and I have a loved one who is suffering from BPD.
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