[[caption-width-right:300:[[GetAHoldOfYourselfWoman Somebody slap her...]]]]

->''"I have heard that hysterical women say''
->''They are sick of the palette and fiddle-bow,''
->''Of poets that are always [[HaveAGayOldTime gay]]."''
-->-- '''Creator/WilliamButlerYeats''', ''"Lapis Lazuli"''

This trope characterizes women as [[WomenAreDelicate less rational, disciplined, and emotionally stable than men]], and thus more prone to mood swings, irrational overreactions, and mental illness.[[note]]The ancient Greeks believed that a woman's uterus would move out of place and attack other organs, causing all sorts of maladies, both mental and physical. The trope name comes from the Greek word ''hysteros'', womb or uterus.[[/note]] As a result female characters may [[StayInTheKitchen be coddled]], or their opinions undervalued.

Not to worry. Such hysteria is easily cured with a [[GetAHoldOfYourselfMan good slap on the face.]]

A blatant DoubleStandard, it was used and invoked quite freely in older works. These days it is [[DiscreditedTrope rarely invoked]], as most people are aware of the obvious UnfortunateImplications. Despite that it's still more common to portray female characters becoming emotionally overwrought when under stress or behaving more irrationally than men, even when it would be out-of-character. Male characters like this are likely to be [[DirtyCoward unsympathetic]] or [[LovableCoward comedic]]. An [[{{Jerkass}} insensitive male character]] may ask, [[AllPeriodsArePMS "Are you on your period?"]] or something on those lines.

This trope is also why lead characters in horror movies tend to be female, although given the nature of the genre, many such characters are portrayed more sympathetically, being ProperlyParanoid while the men who denigrate them for being emotional are portrayed as either TooDumbToLive, [[YouHaveToBelieveMe obstructively condescending]], or outright antagonistic. She's called the FinalGirl for a reason, after all.

Compare TheOphelia which is about genuine insanity. Often prone to InelegantBlubbering. May involve [[GetAHoldOfYourselfMan Get a Hold of Yourself, Woman!]] to correct. Compare ScreamingWoman and AllPeriodsArePMS (for when the character's reaction is dismissed as hormones acting up). For situations when those hormones were thought to have supernatural implications, see MenstrualMenace. See also AllWomenAreLustful, for when her "irrationality" was thought to make her [[SexIsEvil morally weaker]]. Contrast WomenAreWiser (where women are depicted as ''more'' rational and emotionally stable than men) and EmotionlessGirl.

This trope is a type of StrawmanEmotional.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Justified and deconstructed in ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'', as it highlights another consequence of Casca's [[spoiler: rape trauma]] after the eclipse. Casca was mentally traumatized to the point where she was reduced to an infantile, almost animalistic state of mind. Therefore, Casca really has no logical drive and relies on her instincts to protect herself, so when someone poses a threat to her, she reacts violently. After Guts [[spoiler: [[NearRapeExperience almost rapes her]] but ends up biting her instead]], Casca's natural reaction is to stay far away from him at any means necessary (even jumping off a ledge) and to growl whenever he comes into her vicinity. This has taken its emotional toll on Guts, who is truly ashamed at what he did to her but desperately yearns for her emotional and physical affection. Making the situation worse, [[spoiler: his nasty EnemyWithin ''wants'' Guts to rape and kill her.]] However, some people, characters ([[GreenEyedMonster like Farnese]]) [[RealWomenDontWearDresses and fans]] alike, don't understand the extent of Casca's condition or backstory and think that her current behavior toward Guts is idiotic, irrational, and selfish.
** Turns out that the only main female character who doesn't get hit by this trope is a prepubescent girl.
* In ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', [[MentorMascot Kyubey]] explains that the reason that his species [[DealWithTheDevil make contracts]] with girls, and specifically ''teenage'' girls, is because they're the most emotional kind of human. [[spoiler:Specifically, they have the most dramatic reversals between hope and despair, which provide the emotional energy that Kyubey is collecting]].

* The ''Airplane'' duology:
** This trope is hilariously spoofed in ''Film/{{Airplane}}'', with a long line of passengers [[RightOnQueue lining up]] to [[GetAHoldOfYourselfMan slap the hysterical woman]], with increasingly lethal weapons.
** The gag is recycled in ''Film/AirplaneIITheSequel'' when the same woman testifies on [[TheHero Ted Stryker's]] behalf in a KangarooCourt -- the memory of her hysterics sends her into a fresh episode of hysterics, which prompts the members of the court to line up to beat it out of her.
* ''Airport '77'' where Lee Grant, hysterical following her husband's death, attempts to open the plane door while it's submerged in the ocean. However, she is stopped by the flight attendant who is also female, so it could be considered a one off. The Airport series, itself, actually had many female characters who remained in control and were instrumental in resolving the crises. There were also cases of panicking men, as well.
* Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) in ''Film/{{Alien}}''. She's by far the most terrified and emotional member of the crew, and [[spoiler:completely freezes up when the Alien confronts her.]]
* The maid Minnie in ''Film/BrideOfFrankenstein'' is quick to scream and flail at surprising things.
* Mrs Peacock in ''Film/{{Clue}}'' seems to be this. [[spoiler: She's ObfuscatingInsanity, at least in one of the MultipleEndings.]]
* In ''Film/{{Pulp Fiction}}'' during the diner robbery, Honey Bunny is this when Jules points a gun at "Ringo".
* Sandra from ''Film/{{Waydowntown}}''.
* ''Film/{{Jaws 2}}''. After the shark attacks them, one of the female teenagers eventually goes hysterical, screaming like crazy and having a panic attack when their rafts get stuck at the bottom. Another one [[GetAHoldOfYourselfMan tries to shut her up by shaking her violently]], but is told by his friends that this won't help. Not all the women are like this, but it stands out because by contrast the guys are all portrayed as practical and goal-oriented, and none of them breaks down to the same degree. Even the much younger Michael holds it together better than her, who by all accounts has far more right to be freaked out due to being a kid.
** Michael was catatonic for a period of time until stern (vaguely threatening) words snap him back to reality. He simply freaked out in a different way.
* In ''Film/TheFugitive'', as the US Marshals conduct a raid on a home looking for an escaped prisoner, his girlfriend begins shrieking and screaming. She stops briefly when he's shot, then starts up again almost immediately, leaving the unsympathetic, fed-up Gerard to point his gun at her and snap at her to "Shut up". She does.
* In ''Film/BlueJasmine'', this is the essential character trope of the lead character who becomes more and more emotionally unstable until the end [[spoiler:when she is reduced to a homeless tramp babbling to herself about her troubles]].
* ''Film/HighPlainsDrifter''. Callie Travers, the town prostitute, is understandably pissed off about being raped by the Stranger in broad daylight and tries to incite the cowardly townspeople to stand up to him. When her complains are dismissed as hysteria, she sarcastically reminds the man who said this (implied to be a client) that "I can remember some hysterics one night not too long ago!"


* The narrator of ''Literature/TheYellowWallpaper'' was diagnosed with hysteria. The whole point of the work was that isolating and babying women who became mentally ill was ''not'' the way to treat them; the narrator doesn't start out insane -- at worst, suffering from postpartum depression, but she's slowly driven to madness after being more or less imprisoned in order for her to rest.
* The wandering womb diagnosis gets direct mention as "a classic case of hysteria" by a doctor in one of the ''Literature/MarcusDidiusFalco'' novels (set in 1st century Rome), along with Helena Justina's utter contempt for this particular brand of medical theory.
* In ''Literature/MurderOnTheOrientExpress'', Mrs. Hubbard goes through this a few times. First is when the supposed murderer escapes into her room after murdering Mr. Ratchett, then when she discovers the murder weapon in her sponge bag. [[spoiler: It's an act.]]
* Sue Bridehead in ''Literature/JudeTheObscure'' appears to be a walking bundle of neuroses who is nonetheless trying to live life as an enlightened, liberated woman. It doesn't end up working for her.
* In ''Literature/ThePaleKing'', Toni Ware [[WeNeedADistraction pretends to be one]] in her final scene, InelegantBlubbering and all.
* In ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'', the mothers of the four brats each fall into panicky screaming as one by one their offspring meet various absurd fates in the factory, though both Violet and Mike's dads are similarly upset. (In the case of Veruca's parents, Mr. Salt is deliberately presented as ''ridiculously'' calm about her potential fate compared to his wife.) Two mothers are usually DemotedToExtra and/or AdaptedOut in adaptations, and the remaning moms sometimes get more rounded personalities in the bargain (Mrs. Beauregarde becomes an icy StageMom in the 2005 film and averts this trope, and Mrs. Teavee's anxious StepfordSmiler nature in the 2013 musical stems partially from her having to deal with an EnfanteTerrible son). Still, Mrs. Gloop always comes off as this when her son goes up the pipe, owing perhaps to their limited stage/screen time (they're the first tour group to be eliminated) superseding in-depth character development, and Mrs. Teavee is definitely this in the 1971 film.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Janet Fielding's Tegan in ''Series/DoctorWho'' Series 18 and 19. She eventually calmed down, but was still argumentative and prone to panicking. Even Fielding complained she was less a character and more a collection of tics and whinging -- apparently the showrunner, Creator/JohnNathanTurner, was opposed to character development as it hurt the marketability of his creations.
-->'''[[http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2013/11/logopolis-written-by-christopher-h.html Doc Oho]]:''' ''Look at Creator/TomBakerís face as Janet Fielding shrieks at him in a parody of acting; he looks genuinely pained to be sharing a screen with the actress.''
* ''Series/{{House}}'' had a mass hysteria case where the normally competent Dr. Cuddy was struck hard by this trope. Like the ass he is, House told her that her gender made her more vulnerable to it than him.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'':
** Dr. Janice Lester, a villain-of-the-week ,was one of these. She quickly went insane when put in command of a ship, and broke down sobbing into her male assistant's arms at the end of the episode. She was also, at one point explicitly described as "red-faced with hysteria."
** From "Wolf in the Fold":
--> '''Kirk''': All right, Mister Spock, what do we have? A creature without form, that feeds on horror and fear, that must assume a physical shape to kill.
--> '''Spock''': And I suspect preys on women because women are more easily and more deeply terrified, generating more sheer horror than the male of the species.
* Soolin gets to [[GetAHoldOfYourselfMan slap]] a particularly annoying one of these in ''Series/BlakesSeven''.
--> '''Tarrant''': You enjoyed that, didnít you?
--> '''Soolin''': There are two classic ways of dealing with a hysterical woman. You didnít really expect me to [[ShutUpKiss kiss]] {{h|oYay}}er, did you?
** [[spoiler: Leveraged because the hysterical woman was in fact a DecoyDamsel feigning her distress.]]
* Spoofed in ''Series/GarthMarenghisDarkplace'' where Liz gets [[GetAHoldOfYourselfWoman punched in the face]] for being 'hysterical', yet her acting is of the DullSurprise kind.
* The trope is alive and well in ''Series/BoardwalkEmpire'', at least when it pertains to extras. If somebody gets killed and there is people to see it or find the body, you can guarantee that there will be a woman screaming, while all the men remain silent or are, at least, far less noisy.
* A lover of a victim in ''Series/TheCloser'', was this in spades. The second that she saw the body, she started screaming hysterically. She kept on screaming causing the investigators to wear earplugs around her.
* ''Series/TrueBlood'''s female characters are prone to emitting high-pitched screams whenever they find a body or something like that. Not even screaming "Help!", just screaming. None of the male characters do this.
* Blanche, one of the maids on ''Series/AnotherPeriod'', recently spent time in an insane asylum and is still a bit...er...high-strung. Both her employers (the Bellacourt family) and her fellow servants take great pleasure in startling her into screaming fits.

* Mary Warren in ''Theatre/TheCrucible'' is a deconstruction. Because other characters know she is emotionally fragile, both men and stronger women bully her, knowing she won't stand up for herself.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Inverted in ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryIII''. Tarna, land of the [[PettingZooPeople liontaur]] people, though a monarchy with a king, has a council of lawmakers made up entirely of women because men are seen as too emotional to make government decisions.
* ''VideoGame/DeadSpace'''s female population was almost entirely these or LaughingMad women. {{Justified|Trope}} by the fact that enemies hunted down, killed, mutilated, and revived you as one of them.
** Soundly averted in [[ActionGirl Ellie's]] case, however.
* [[UnfortunateImplications Implied]] in ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles''. By the end of their respective character arcs, the three highest-ranked women in the game are too ruled by their emotions to make sound judgements, and they self-destruct or not according to whether their male love interests care enough about them to stop them. In each case, the woman in question had been otherwise calm, collected, and competent leading up to this point.
** Alicia spends the second half of the game building up to an emotional meltdown, but main character Welkin (and the rest of Squad 7, really) brushes off her cries for help until she has a [[EleventhHourSuperpower literal meltdown]], at which point he calms her down with a hug and an engagement ring. Apparently she wasn't worth listening to before she [[spoiler:tried to kill herself in the most bombastic and destructive way possible]], and afterward, all she really needed was a husband and a baby.
** Varrot's entire military career hinges on [[spoiler: her ice-cold seething desire for revenge for her murdered lover]]. When she gets the chance, Largo talks her out of it, and they later marry and return to his farm.
** Selvaria. [[spoiler: She kills herself because Maximillian orders her to, and although she realizes he's only been using her as a weapon and so sabotages her SuicideAttack by sparing the heroes, she goes through with it because she loves him.]]
* {{Subverted}} with Imca in ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChroniclesIII''. She's irrational and hysterical whenever she sees a Valkyria [[spoiler:Riela included]], but it's more in the way of [[BerserkButton a bull seeing capote]], and thus perceived as 'the masculine kind of being lacking in reasoning'.

* [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "Hysterical Dame"]] is one of the characters in ''Webcomic/ProblemSleuth'', and initially this fits perfectly, though everyone ends up fairly competent by the end. In her case, getting hysterical is the same as [[UnstoppableRage going berserk]].
* PlayedForLaughs in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius''. One of the Jägermonsters is ordered to accompany Agatha home, after she was expelled from the university, and she thinks that it will eat her as soon as no one can see them. She proceeds to scream hysterically for several panels, while the Jägermonster tries unsuccessfully to assure her it has no intention of eating her. She finally shuts up when it considers eating her just to get some quiet. (After Agatha TookALevelInBadass, she very much averts this trope.)
** There's also the fact that her level in badass involves [[spoiler:having the Jägermonsters as effectively her private army]]. You're going to become FAR less hysterical when you realise that they [[spoiler:work for you because they actually WANT you to succeed]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Mocked in, of course, ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''. Marge foils a burglar and Homer arrives far too late (being unable to maintain the same running speed as Marge). Marge says how exhilarating it was, to which Homer responds that it's always exhilarating to watch the police get their man and save "a hysterical woman."