Herman illustrates how Freud’s empathy for his female patients led to real progress in identifying childhood sexual trauma (8), but the sheer number of women diagnosed with “hysteria” indicated a ubiquity of sexual abyss that Freud couldn’t accept as possible (9).
From Herman (11):
I suspect that the initial analysis of hysteria had less to do with concern for the welfare of women and more to do with the expectation of honors and prestige for the “men of science.” Do we see this same phenomenon with Rachel Dolezal, Brian Williams, and Tania Head? Where appropriating the suffering of others becomes no more than the means to an end?
That said…I suspect Freud was genuine. Charcot, though – I wonder about his motives.