chapter  5
FEMINIST PERSPECTIVES ON MENTAL HEALTH LAW
Byby Eileen V Fegan and Philip Fennell
Pages 24

This chapter is an attempt to develop a practical feminist politics of mental health law. While all feminist analyses of psychiatry share the common aim of improving the management of women’s mental ill-health, our concern is to foster a position vis à vis psychiatry and law which offers the best scope for the development of political action under existing institutional conditions. Earlier feminist analyses which portray psychiatry as a monolithic instrument serving uniformly to repress women and subjugate their ‘true’ nature have attracted increasing dissatisfaction due to their nihilistic implications and utopian ideals. It has thus become necessary to consider more constructive ways of responding to the observation that women’s interests are not adequately represented in the current mental health care system.