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Sexy But Psycho: How the Patriarchy Uses Women's Trauma Against Them by Dr. Jess Taylor


I found myself nodding along heartily and recommending this book to anyone who’d listen. Prominent author, speaker, psychologist, feminist

& lesbian Dr. Jess Taylor founded VictimFocus in 2017 with the aim of providing critical thinking, evidence based practice and accessible information with a view to challenging ways of approaching victim support services.

In this, her second non-fiction book after the success of 2020’s “Why Women Are Blamed For Everything: Exposing the Culture of Victim Blaming” she details the history of psychiatry, its basis in sexism, homophobia and racism from its inception, the growing number of “conditions” and “disorders” it has been steadily adding to its cache for the last 50 or more years and the dearth of effective treatment options it offers, relying as it increasingly does, in more and more nations, upon assisted suicide as an (incredibly) final “treatment”.

She uses the case of prolific female cultural icons such as Britney Spears, her public hounding by the press and the combined sexualisation and stigmatising of mental health conditions in women to elucidate the ways that a “sexy, psychotic” female archetype is gaining traction, culturally and socially.

She also highlights the often damning nature of psychiatry’s “professional” expert witness in legal and family court cases to display how this field seems to have it in for women.

“Sexy But Psycho” states plainly the innumerable ways in which psychiatry has become the dominant model in mental health and has been able to exponentially increase conditions and diagnoses, in women, over the years and that this is not necessarily to our benefit.

Due to its content the book could be depressing and bleak but Dr. Taylor has such an infectious and positive outlook that it is still a joy to read and will light a fire under your bottom when it comes to reducing stigma and misconceptions around mental health.

She is clearly committed to transforming the way that mental health, trauma and the so-called (and much-loved by clinicians) “adverse childhood events” are viewed. The final chapter promotes the many-fold clinicians and organisations that feel the same and are bringing non-pathologising, non-medicalising, trauma-informed care to their clients.

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