FlierMate

Mental Disorder and Stigma

19 posts in this topic

hmm - look at "YousTupe" - the Mental Mocker Fans are everywhere - fear & crime anytime

cRappers delight & deaf-crash-mental rocker-schmockers, sick-attitude-bachelors .. etc.

aaaahhhhh ... ;'(

Edited by e-t-c
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I cannot really see the connection between a mentally ill and his/her looks. :unsure:

One can look to cartoons at least, often a character that is "criminally insane" or "mentally deranged" or some other type of person with some sort of mental illness is often depicted as either extremely ugly or with some odd trait such as twitching, slurred speech or drooling. You can even see it in comic books where villians described as "insane" or "psychotic" often have some physical deformity, such as the Joker or Two-Face from Batman.

As for why this stereotype was started, I couldn't say. Possibly because you wouldn't want to hang out with an ugly person, and you don't want to hang out with a murderer or criminal?

Why it still exists... well some things just keep with time, such as rabbits eating carrots.

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I think Lombroso's theory of the "born criminal" has something to do with it. He proposed it at the end of the 19th century, and it became hugely popular. It has been recognized as bogus science for a long time already, but remains strong in the popular imaginary.

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Well, correlating the current "standard" for beauty (movie stars) with actual density of psychiatrists/psichoanalysts in the Los Angeles/Hollywood area, one could come to the conclusion that real life is different from comic books. :whistle:

There is here a small list of famous peple (admittedly not all beautiful/handsome) that are said to have suffered from various forms of mental ilnesses:

http://www.mentalhealthministries.net/links_resources/other_resources/famouspeople.pdf

I would say that in real life - set apart those traits that are a consequence of an illness (such as drooling, or trembling as an example) - there is no correlation between uglyness and mental illness.

Lombroso's theories were an early attempt to show that some particular physical traits, not necessarily "uglyness" were common among criminals and un-common among "good people".

Besides some bias in the actual researches he conducted, one has to take into account WHERE they were taken and WHEN.

We are talking of the second half of the 19th century in a country where communications, food, education and more generally welfare of the average people were very scarce or non-existing at all.

In those years, in some rural zones of the country, the average tallness of population was likely to be below 1.50 mt (around 5' ), there was not a common language, analphabetism was around 80%, the people inside jails (which must have not been such a pleasant place in themselves) were likely to be belonging to the poorest of the poor, not really a big surprise that the scientist found that those subjects belonged to a subhuman race.

More generally Lombroso's theories fall in the "trend" of physiognomy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physiognomy

and phrenology:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrenology

that both had quite a bit of diffusion in the 19th and early 20th century.

Curiously enough Lombroso's theories had much more success overseas in the US than in Italy :w00t:, this probably influenced the comic books which were mostly originated there :unsure: .

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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