‘Hysteria’ Movie Will Create a Buzz

by Casey Krosser



Do you know why vibrators were originally invented?  Surprisingly, they weren’t supposed to be sex toys but rather a medical treatment to cure the ladies’ various ailments!  A new trailer has dropped for “Hysteria,” a movie just buzzing about this history.  The film will star Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy, as well as Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett, and Felicity Jones.  The story takes place in 1880s Victorian England.  It tells the origin story of the vibrator, and how it was invented to relieve women of their diagnosed “hysteria.”  This “hysteria” could include nervousness, depression, and other ailments.  During the 1880s women would receive this stimulating treatment, and then be mystified when a resulting “paroxysm” would occur.  The doctors certainly didn’t understand what was happening to the women either.  They only believed that they were being cured.  And I’m sure the women felt very relieved…

When I first saw the trailer I couldn’t help but think of a very similar play, and where I first learned about vibrator history.  Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room: Or the Vibrator Play also takes place at the dawn of the age of electricity, the 1880s.  It also tells the story of doctors using vibrators to provide therapy or medical treatment for women.  If you’re interested in this topic I highly recommend reading or checking out a production of that play.  There was a production of it at Lincoln Center Theater a few years ago and their site has more information:


Of course BUST wrote about the history of vibrators extensively in the past, so we’re excited to see the movie. “Hysteria,” which is unrelated to Ruhl’s play other than the vibrator history, doesn’t have an official release date for the US yet.  It will debut at the Toronto International Film Festival this September.  Have a look at the trailer!   

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FWReqkTWfA 425×344]


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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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