A review by shelfimprovement
Nobody's Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness, by Roy Richard Grinker


Mental health stigma is a topic that I am very much interested in, and I think Grinker makes a lot of good points about how the capitalist emphasis on comformity leads to stigma, but his writing is clunky, often contradicting itself and not making a clear point. There are also several statements where I'm outright questioning his assertion of a fact:
"By the early 1800s, according to historians, 'in moral discourse there was hardly any overlap between the active resolute male and the emotional, nurturing, malleable female. Woman was constructed as 'other' in a more absolute sense than ever before.'"
Did he forget about the Salem Witch trials? No, he acknowledged that they happened and that women were unfairly targeted on the basis of their womanhood, but he also repeatedly states that 'otherness' was not stigmatized, at leas in Western culture, before the Industrial Age. Is he not he aware that women couldn't hold property in colonial America, nor could they vote? Women were 'othered' well before the 1800s, Roy.