You probably know that vibrators are tons of fun. But did you know that they were originally invented as a way to treat the old timey female affliction of “hysteria”? Apparently, all that those hysterical women needed was a few flicks of the bean and they were back to being docile, corseted housewives. It’s no surprise, then, that once this treatment became well-known, a lot of women came down with sudden cases of “hysteria” that had to be treated immediately, for health.
A new movie called Hysteria will tell the story of this wonderfully serendipitous invention with help from none other than the adorable Maggie Gyllenhaal, who plays the daughter of the Victorian-era doctor who stumbles upon this important medical advancement. “I play a firecracker whose father is a doctor who is in the business of curing hysterical women,” she told The Guardian of the film. “He cures them basically by getting them off, and that actually happened. I end up having a sort of unexpected love affair with this guy who works for him, and who by mistake invents the vibrator.” Sounds like my kind of chick flick.
The movie looks moderately silly and I’m sure it will take some liberties with history, but it’s always nice to see the female orgasm treated as an Important Invention In History. In fact, I’m hoping I can get my history teaching boyfriend to go see it with me on the grounds that it’s like, way educational. Maybe he could even use it to engage his students? I certainly wouldn’t skip class that day if I were them.
Hysteria will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.