Gender, Psychiatry, and Borderline Personality Disorder


Manage episode 294979473 series 2387616
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Borders Series. Episode #2 of 4. In popular media, borderline personality disorder has become linked in particular to beautiful, unstable, and ultimately dangerous white women, most famously Glenn Close’s character in the 1987 movie Fatal Attraction. As a diagnosis, borderline personality disorder went through various iterations before being declared a personality disorder enshrined in the DSM-III in 1980. Psychiatrists described borderline personality disorder, or BPD, in broad terms, with symptoms including intense emotions, fear of abandonment, instability in relationships, impulsivity, distorted self-image, uncontrolled anger, and dissociation. The diagnosis is very commonly used – more than half of those hospitalized with mental illness have been diagnosed with BPD. But another statistic about BPD is more revealing: between 70 and 77 percent of all people diagnosed with BPD are women. BPD is a troubled and troubling diagnosis, one that’s been criticized and theorized and analyzed by feminists, disability scholars, and so-called “borderlines” themselves. In this episode of our ‘borders’ series, we explore the complicated history of a different kind of border: borderline personality disorder.

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