Please see our “About,” “Why Radfem?” and “The Gears” pages for additional information about this project.

Common themes represented here:

Harm reduction/refusal to name the agent.  Why do women — specifically women — experience feelings of hopelessness (regarding their political and interpersonal power and standing, and the observation that it’s likely permanent); decreased motivation and energy (to fulfill patriarchally-defined roles and patriarchy-mandated obligations), decreased interest (in being a victim or a slave or a target, or in trivial pursuits that don’t advance women’s individual or collective positions at all) in the first place?  Why do many women start to not even want to leave the house — the home being the only place in life where many women experience any modicum at all of control, and where women tend to be objectified and victimized by only one or a few men and not by all men like we are when we venture into the public sphere?

It’s at least possible — isn’t it? — that some women who experience these feelings, which have been framed as “symptoms of depression”, do so in response to patriarchy, and in rational response to their location within a political context that is specifically destructive to and exploitative of women, both individually and as a sexual class.  It’s depressing — like a hydraulic press is depressing, from the perspective of whatever is unfortunate enough to get caught up in one.  Get it?  Let’s name the agent of harm — it’s probably not all in women’s heads.  We can all accept that, right?  (Without using alienating absolutes like “definitely” when we don’t have to — “probably” is good enough to expose the fraud of pathologizing it).

As for harm reduction, the rationale for prescribing harmful pharmaceuticals — the only ethical rationale, anyway — is that the cost-benefit analysis is positive, meaning that the net-benefit of taking the drug (benefit minus risk) is greater than the net-benefit (benefit minus risk) of not taking it, or of doing something else, or of doing nothing.  In order to perform this analysis correctly, one must be reasonably able to predict alternate outcomes, and in the case of the decision to prescribe dangerous drugs or of any medical intervention, one must ask “is the likely outcome of the disease objectively worse than the likely outcome of the intervention?”

In the case of dangerous drugs that are known to carry significant risks, up to and including death, it is (perhaps?) easy to make the argument that “depressed” patients who are likely to kill themselves might want to take something for it  — and even that’s assuming that “continuing in your patriarchally-defined role as if nothing is wrong” — with or without devastating side-effects — is objectively (?) better than death by suicide, which is quite an assumption in itself, is it not?  (I’m not saying it is or it isn’t, just that it’s an assumption that’s never said out loud.)  There are surely many, many doctors who would deny that patriarchy even exists.  That is terrifying to think about, considering that it is they who are performing these cost-benefit analyses, and are surely doing so without assigning the proper values to either side.

But beyond even that, what does that mean for everyone else, those who would probably or definitely not kill themselves if left untreated?  And why is “continuing in your patriarchally-defined role as if nothing is wrong” — with or without devastating side-effects — in the case of non-suicidal female patients whose “depression” is a response to female subjugation and abuse under patriarchy considered to be objectively better than the other likely outcomes of non-treatment of these women, what are the possible outcomes, for that matter, and who decides what is better and what is worse?

Mansplaining/women’s perspective is wrong.  Uncritically framing women’s “symptoms of depression” — which are not objectively distinguishable from rational female despair under a woman-hating patriarchal regime — as an illness, let alone an illness of irrationality, is a decidedly male-centric frame which does not acknowledge patriarchy at all, and therefore tends to normalize and invisiblize patriarchal policies and practices.  Characterizing women’s “lack of interest and energy” (to male-please and to fulfill their domestic, sexual and reproductive roles that benefit men) as a problem at all, let alone one that is worth treating with dangerous drugs that can disable and kill you, normalizes women’s roles and literally pathologizes women’s inability (or unwillingness?) to perform them, and to do so cheerfully.  Then, through applying forced-perspective which is inconsistent with female reality, women are made to view their “situation” from a woman-hating, male-centric perspective, accepting that they are “ill” and perceiving reality incorrectly, rather than acknowledging the real, political context of global female subjugation and abuse, including sexual and reproductive abuse.  *Shudder*  See also Normalize abuse/neglect; Woman as “useful object”.

Support patriarchal institutions (medicine/religion/law).  Cha-ching.  Also, women who are medicated over the long-term for any reason, including for alleged mental illness and depression, are under patriarchal institutional control 24/7 via the woman-hating patriarchal medical machine.  In the case of psychology and psychiatry, and psychological and psychiatric illness, women’s very thoughts are subject to constant patriarchal surveillance and “correction” and reprogramming.  See also Femicide; Necrophilia.

Reversal.  Wow, all these awful side-effects have made me feel better (not worse, or even the same).  Also, framing women’s awareness of or response to patriarchal reality as irrational, sick, or delusional is a mind-fuck and a reversal.  And notice the repetition of the phrase “my depression.”  She is made to “own” it (over and over and over and over) which is really revealing — it’s clearly intended as a thought-terminating phrase, where dialog centering context, politics or collective responsibility is specifically excluded, leaving only room for propaganda centering individualism, pathology and ownership.  Striking.

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9 responses to “Abilify”

  1. rapideyemvmt says :

    this couldn’t be more true. i have been treated for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder since i was 18 and left foster care. i didn’t medication until recently, because i knew why i was depressed. this world we live in doesn’t make any sense! what does make sense, is that the government, corporations, MEN are actually out to get us. it has been going on since the beginning of time, so not many people are even aware of it.

    so, this is why they tell me i am crazy. i go on and on about the government, the media, how restricting gender roles are, how disgusted i am by pretty much everything. counselors tell me i need to learn how to be happy as a part of this society. HOW? WHY?

    i see their point, for my sake – i do need to be happy. so i craft, i don’t allow much media into my life. i don’t associate with many people (why when i have 3 cats, hehe). i married a guy, yes. he is ten year younger than me – so i am training him to see the privilege all around him as a white, male from a christian family.

    anywho – i got a bit off track, but the mental health industry seems to be working with our corporate government to try to sedate us, make us believe there is nothing we can do about any of this, and in fact, make us believe we are just obsessed because we have been victims of abuse or sexual trauma. ALL WOMEN ARE VICTIMS OF ABUSE AND SEXUAL TRAUMA! so, i guess we are all CRAZY unless we remain small and silent.

  2. Sargasso Sea says :

    I find it… ironic? … that the sad sack thing that follows her around and that she keeps looking to for reassurance (or whatever, jeezuz) is masculine-like, as a sad sack son or husband or *boyfriend*.

    Can’t get rid of him? Get rid of yourself!!

  3. FCM says :

    omg good point s4! gross. and exactly. now that you mention it, i can report that the sad-sack thing does resemble at least one ex-bf in almost every way. funny how its so clear to me, now that youve mentioned it. seriously, thats weird.

  4. FCM says :

    honestly the most striking thing to me about these clips is the repetition of “MY” when she repeatedly refers to it as “MY depression.” theres something about it that stands out as being particularly deliberate and purposed. in addition to thought-terminating and excluding a discussion about “context” i think the “MY” also serves to absolve doctors and drug-makers of responsibility/culpability for failing to successfully threat these patients for depression the first time around — abilify is only approved for depression as an “add-on” medication for treatment-failures, where regular anti-depressants didnt work.

    and being that this is the case, (abilify is for depression-treatment-failures only) what would be the immediate assumption if a patient on abilify killed themselves? would the assumption be that the patient was extra-crazy and an unusual case in some way, and it wasnt the doctors or the drug-makers fault (even though increased depression and suicide are known side effects?) does repeating the “MY” here tend to make that assumption (absolving everyone of responsibility — except the patient, who is blamed for it all) even more immediate, and predictable? i think it does.

  5. la redactora says :

    The “my” is definitely in there on purpose. Maybe it is there to make it feel more personalized and less threatening, because abilify is nasty stuff, not something you go on lightly.


    It can kill you, besides just making you suicidal and giving you diabetes.

  6. radicalwoman says :

    The “my depression” thing certainly is creepy. That’s a new creepy shift in the language too, they weren’t using that even ten years ago when they were drugging me.
    Not only does the thing following her around look male, but the woman in each ad is surrounded by males after she gets “better.” Husband, male child. She never escapes. Well, into the drugs, I guess.

  7. DavinaSquirrel says :

    “be sure to ask about the free trial offer” – I can only assume it is somewhat addictive – or, it works great for a few months, then does fuck-all after that unless the dose is increased. Either way, they are setting up “customers”. Kerching.

    I agree, the “my depression” is disturbing, and becomes very much the patient’s fault, and not due to the shitty surrounds of male domination.

    There was ‘husband’ (apparently mandatory to have one) and a teenaged daughter in the first clip. Not sure why there are interchangeable kids going on, perhaps she is doing so well on this drug that she doesn’t notice a change of roster in the kids?

  8. Canaduck says :

    Remember that a year or two a study came out that said that rates of depression in men were beginning to rise as a result of the poor economy? They were losing their jobs or being treated worse at the jobs they DID manage to keep, they weren’t getting paid as much and didn’t have nearly as many opportunities as they used to, etc, their self-esteem was falling–the sort of circumstances that would naturally cause depression in human beings.

    The particular article I read then mentioned that depression rates in women are typically high and have been for a long time, but treated it as an incidental flaw in our biology (“yep, them wimmenz sure do get emotional a lot!”) rather than honing in on the really obvious fact that we get treated like crap a lot of the time anyway, so of COURSE we’re depressed.

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