Analysis Of Michael R. Aldrich 's Article On Women Addicts

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Michael R. Aldrich sums up women’s addictions from the late 19th century to the early 20th century in his article, Historical Notes On Women Addicts. He briefly summarizes multiple studies that found statistics showed more women than men, were addicts during that time period. However, he then analyzed the time period to further explain how the statistics could be legitimate, since they were self report surveys, which always have the limitation of social desirability. He explains the historical contexts that led woman to such high rates of addiction, the types of women who were addicts, how their addiction were fed and grew due to society in the nineteenth century, and the consequences of female opiate addiction, including how it effects female addicts today. Women were prescribed lower dosages of opiates than men and it was thought that it was safe for women to take opiates. They were prescribed these drugs for all sorts of reasons from “melancholy,” today known as depression, nervousness, “female troubles,” and any other behavior that women may partake in that differs than men. Therefore, large numbers of women were prescribed drugs for no medically necessary reason. Although in the late 19th century morphine was administer hypodermically for legitimate medical reasons such bronchitis, fevers, asthma, and others. However, it was also administered for hysterical convulsions, insanity and mania. Doctor Aldrich may not have come out in essay to say drugs were used during this time period to repress women, but it is heavily implied. Addicts consisted mostly of middle to upperclass housewives, teachers, actresses, and of course prostitutes. In addition, women who had readily available resources to obtain drugs such as nurses and d... ... middle of paper ... ... concise, respectable form with as little bias, that cleverly portrays an opinion through the use of history and fact. Some points could use extra details and explanation, but they might have made the article more persuasive. After reading the article in full, I agree with the article that although once Victorian opiate users were highly renowned and respected, now women addicts are disgraced, looked down upon, socially outcasted, and stereotyped with derogatory female related insults such as “whore.” If women were not the predominant consumer of opiates, they might still be legal like alcohol and tobacco are, which was predominately consumed by men. Although the article’s main idea concerns women addicts, it also describes gender inequality and how women were and still are repressed. Even when women try to enjoy the rights they do have, they are still incriminated.

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