While doctors played a part in the construction of madness as female, the basis of these ideas in a medical context took root long before the nineteenth century in medical writing focusing on the in uence of the female reproductive organs, particularly in the type of insanity known as hysteria. Micale states:

So, while it is generally understood that the Victorian medical establishment deliberately gendered madness, they were doing so using the tools already set in place by their predecessors and aided by popular media. Moreover, as Oppenheim argues, the ‘medical profession … never attempted to deny the widespread incidence of nervous breakdown among men’,10 yet women were perceived as inherently weaker and therefore more prone to such ailments.