Megan Mau

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Andrea Harbin, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Matthew Lessig, Ph.D.


For too long, women’s stories have been mitigated, translated, truncated, and censored, if they were even recorded at all before the world could hear them. What could women be writing that would be so threatening to incite such censorship? To a male-dominated world, anything that could disrupt their illusions of power is a threat. If a woman penned a narrative of her experiences in this world, or if she were to begin speaking on a new way of thinking that called for change, that must be stopped. The ultimate goal is to prevent women from writing or stepping out of their boxes before they even begin. Through the following series of blogs, I aim to focus on the multiple definitions of madness and how it is disportionately applied to women to discredit and suppress them. Through a closer look at Western civilization and the dominant views of femininity and female gender roles; this will begin with some mythological beginnings and Christianity and then move through 19th-century literature where the madwoman had her heyday, into second-wave feminist theory and writers, and finishing with contemporary observations and examples.